Thursday, October 8, 2009

Changhua and the BIG Buddha!

Sunday morning, we did a little more sightseeing around Lugang. We spent some time relaxing and thinking in the Longshan Temple. This temple looks very similar to the one in Taipei, however it's much more weathered. The colors are not quite as bright and their were much fewer visitors. This temple was the first Buddhist temple built in Taiwan. Apparently the man who brought Buddhism to Taiwan was out at sea and had to port in Lugang because of bad weather. He stayed long enough to build the temple and share the religion. We loved the intricate detail of the sculptures and statues as well as the wood work and paintings. There were two beautiful trees growing in the center of the Temple - which is made of of 4 buildings, all surrounded by a brick wall protecting it and separating it from the rest of the town. When you enter the gates, you are overcome with a sense of peace and what can only be described as zen! We could have spent hours just "being" in this beautiful place. There were a number of families and friends relaxing and talking on the many benches and steps found throughout the temple area. Also, there were some music lessons happening under one of the temple buildings. It was neat to see the different instruments and to see so many different people, from so many different walks of life joining in one place.

We then headed back to the bus station to catch the bus to Changhua. We had a few sites to see in Changhua before heading back home. The first on our list was the Giant Buddha. I checked the map and our guide book for directions, having little luck as they were contradicting and neither matched the actual road signs. We set off in what we believed to be the right direction, and soon was confirmed when we saw the GIANT in the distance.
The path to the Buddha was a beautiful walking path - no scooters for a change - through a wooded park. There were various shrines and temples along the way as well as ponds and fountains. Did I mention it was all UP HILL...stairs and ramps...oh and it was like 90degrees out with no breeze and humidity of nearly 90%. But it was well worth it to see this magnificent statue.
Our day ended with a visit to the Confucius Temple in Changhua and dinner at a noodle restaurant. We unfortunately were out of space on our camera cards due to the parade the previous day. We may need to invest in another memory card for such occasions. There is so much we could take pictures of - most of which would never catch the true beauty of what we see in person.
We ended up making it to the train station with about an hour to wait, so we got some Passion Fruit Bubble Tea - my favorite drink so far!!! And relaxed before what would only be an uncomfortable train ride back. We had to stand nearly 1/2 of the 1.5 hour ride, and when there were seats available, we had to nearly fight for them. We met a few guys who asked us a million questions after staring at us awkwardly for about 20 minutes - this happens a lot! Once in Hsinchu, we thought we'd stop by the night market to get some dinner before heading home. Much to our dismay, we had gotten off the bus to an empty lot, with only a few stalls finishing tear down and loading their trucks. We decided that pizza would be a good alternative...so Domino's it was. We had to take the pizza to go as there was no dining area, and due to the rain and wind outside, decided to take it home to eat. With the rain and wind the bus was literally packed. We got on, and had to stand "cheek to cheek" with the 100+ people loaded on this 50 passenger bus. We had to step off the bus and back on at each stop! It was actually kind of comical, but made getting home such a relief. Luckily it was only 7:30pm and we had the evening to enjoy our pizza and coke and relax!

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