Monday, August 25, 2008

Lugang (鹿港), Taichung (台中) Motel and Feng Chia Night Market (逢甲夜市)

Grace' sister, Ingrid, and her family came to the central part of Taiwan from Hong Kong for a short trip with a tour group. Grace and I went down to meet with them in Taichung. We first drove down to Lugang (鹿港) for a photographic tour ourselves. It is in the morning of Saturday, August 16, 2008. The drive to Lugang took about 2 and 1/2 hours from Taipei. The direct translation of Lugang is "Deer Harbor". Although the Plum Flower Deer "梅花鹿", a native species of Taiwan, can only be seen in captivity now, they used to be herds of them running wide in Taiwan. There was a very active export trade in Taiwan of deer skin in the 18 and 19 century. Lugang is a very old town for Taiwan concern. It has over 300 years of history. Its name first appeared in Chinese history in 1695. It used to be a good harbor and its position at the part that is closest from Taiwan to mainland China made it a very prospers town. Today, Lugang still maintains an active old Taiwanese culture and architectures. The ancient houses, alley ways and temples are all mixed with modern buildings and life. Our infamous ex-president's daughter-in-law, now deep in money scandal, came from Lugang. It also has the earliest and one of the most important temple for Matzu (媽祖), 天后宮. Matzu is a goddess worshiped only at China's southeast coast and Taiwan. She protects fishermen and traders traveling over the ocean. Merchants worship her for her ability to bring fortune to them. I went with my friend to the San Francisco branch of Matzu Temple once. It was closed for praying. We arrived at the Matzu Temple at 10:30 and I got to do my praying this time. Grace got a very good sign. Afterwards, we took a tricycle ride through the city and saw all the tourist spots. When we saw the first picture from our digital camera, we know we were in trouble. The bright sunshine of Southern Taiwan made the sky completely over exposed and the dim light inside the temple was completely black. It took a lot of exposure blending and manipulation in Capture NX and Photoshop CS3 to bring them out.

Our plan was to take a rest in a motel then met with Ingrid at Feng Chia Night market. Taichung (台中) has a very famous/infamous unique motel culture. The motels claim to be more luxurious than 5-star hotel. They often have rooms with an indoor or outdoor private pool and the size of bath tub the same size as the pool. However, we got a phone call when we arrived at the motel that my father was not well and was on his way to emergency room. However, the maid and the private nurse seems had the whole situation in control. We continued with our meeting with Ingrid's family for snacks at Feng Chia Night Market before driving back to the hospital in Taipei.

Outside every University and every major Temple, there are usually a night market. The night market outside Feng Chia University in Taichung is particular famous. I volunteered to stand in line to buy the famous "big sausage wraps small sausage" (大腸包小腸). It is a delicacy of grilled pork sausage wrapped in a grilled sticky rice sausage. It took me 1 hour.

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