Taipei 102

I recently had a chance to visit Taipei, the capital of Taiwan.  This was my first visit but I was impressed.  Prior to this, I had heard and read that Taipei was not a pleasant city to live in and fared poorly in a ranking of Asian cities.  It was cited as over-crowded, having few open spaces, traffic problems and severe air pollution.

This was perhaps the situation more than 10 years ago.  I could still see some evidence of this when I passed through some industrial areas in the south of the city.  The buildings there were very utilitarian and scarred by pollution and do not appear human friendly.  However, I don’t know what they did nor how they did it but Taipei seems to have re-invented itself and have created a much more friendly city.

The image of Taipei that I saw was a city that is re-developing to truly improve the life and living standards of its people.  The traffic problems have been greatly reduced by a public transit system that is clean and efficient.  Today, 34% of the population use the public transport system which is one of the highest rates in the world.  In fact, the whole concept of green living, including re-use, reduce and recycling, seems to have been successfully integrated in much of what they do.  The city has also done much to improve open spaces and the availability of recreation to its citizen.  While some problems remain, the level of improvement in quality of life does seem worthy of acknowledgment and praise.

Well, I really ought to stop typing as this was meant to have been more about a photo post.   Everyone ought to know that Taipei 101 is currently the highest building in the world (and I plan a post on it soon).   As I plan to do two posts on Taipei, I decided to title this post “Taipei 102” cause this will be the first post of two or 1 Of 2.  Get it?  It’s just another example of how a squirrel brain works ……or doesn’t work.

About the photos, they are all taken at the Longshan Temple.  It represents the spiritual side of the city which is still strongly evident.  Longshan Temple was built in 1738 and has expanded since.  This makes it the oldest religious structure in Taipei.  It is reputed to have been built after a Fujian Merchant stopped to relieve himself at the spot and hung up his sacred incense pouch on a tree to keep it safe from contamination.  However, when he left, he forgot to retrieve it.  Later, locals claimed to see light emanating from the pouch and upon investigation found a miraculous inscription which indicated that it came from the renowned Longshan Temple in Quanzhou, China.  They took it as a sign from heaven that they should build a replica of the temple there.

Hope you enjoy the photos more than the squirrel’s verbal diarrhoea.

Entrance to Longshan Temple (Photo by LGS)
Courtyard (Photo by LGS)
Tranquility - Waterfall and Grass Carp Pond (Photo by LGS)
Personal Devotions (Photo by LGS)
Offerings to Ancestors (Photo by LGS)
Prayers Ascending (Photo by LGS)

11 thoughts on “Taipei 102”

  1. LGS What remarkable pictures and post. They were a post of love and beauty. And last but not least I learned something. ThankYou.

  2. Very interesting pictures, thank you LGS.
    Places of worship, praying for health, peace, success …
    What says the electronic sign at the gates – is it the adress?
    And the header picture is cool! 🙂

  3. I love that waterfall — and all the rest! And I do believe that if there is beauty to be found in something you will find it. Other people might still visit Taipei and see only the problems, but you have a very nice ability to put the problems into perspective through highlighting the positives.

  4. I loved the photos and your commentary, especially since I’ve never been to Taipei. That temple is incredibly beautiful! I have always been drawn to Asian cultures, although I haven’t yet been to Asia, and always love reading your accounts and unique viewpoint. You are by far my favorite squirrel, although the owl in my backyard gives you some stiff competition. (Just so you know you can’t relax your guard…)

  5. Joyce,
    Why, thank you for the encouraging words. It has helped fuel this squirrel’s wanderlust.

    First of all, I applaud you for even realising that the sign is an electronic one. Obviously this is part of your scholarly skill in looking at the type of script. MAN, THOSE ARE SHARP EYES. I wonder how many others realised it.

    Second, I am sorry but I have no idea what the sign says and thirdly, you saw it!?!! What did you see?

  6. XUP,
    Isn’t that waterfall great? I think it is the nicest artificial waterfall that I have ever seen. Thank you for your kind words, :”And I do believe that if there is beauty to be found in something you will find it.” Well, it is kind of true. I could find beauty even in a pile of dung. On the other hand, I have no success with Phylis Diller, George Bush and wars.

    An owl? Owls are all vicious and talon-y. Squirrels are cute and cuddly. What competition, please! Glad you like the pictures showing the Asian culture. There’s more where that came from as long as you are nice to the Squirrel and banish the owl.

  7. What beautiful photos! I am curious about the offering table. I can see sweets, fruit and vegetables. Are those green onions? There seems to be a lot of green lemon-grass or onion looking things on the table…curious to know what that is and what that symbolizes. Very interesting post, thank you. 🙂

  8. Mindfulmerchant,
    Those are indeed green onions. I am afraid I don’t know much about the symbolism. I note that there are photos of people attached to the offerings, I suspect that these could be prayers for healing but I am guessing.

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