A quick dip in the ocean
Last Friday we went on a trip to Tainan, a historical city on the coast only an hour from Kaohsiung. The first place we visited was a large Confucian temple, where I learnt a great deal about this great guy — I would have definitely been one of his disciples given the chance! Next we visited an odd Chinese Buddhist temple, which seems to be run by a Tibetan. I am still having great trouble trying to work out what the differences between all these temples are — I have also seen temples for the dead, temples for important people, but not many 'normal' Buddhist temples with monks and nuns. And I haven't met anyone that is interested in Buddhism (and speaks English) that can explain it to me.
After visiting the former British Consulate and a British built lighthouse on Thursday, we visited another European style building that was originally a town hall and now is a museum. By this time, we were clearly in need of some lunch, so we were ferried to [what we were told was] the best elementary school in Taiwan. It was very posh, and we felt like royalty as we rolled up and everyone started clapping. Next, the mayor of Tainan came to join us for lunch and gave us a warm welcome. He even gave me his business card — I guess so I can call him up sometime for a cup of iced tea. Actually, I have a whole bag of business cards which I am wondering what to do with. After lunch, we were given a tour of the school which is quite impressive. They were very thorough in showing us absolutely everything: 'this is the classroom for 3rd grade students, and this is the classroom for 4th grade students, and this is a desk, and this a book, and a ruler'.
The previous day I had seen a beach, and at that time I didn't have any shorts or a towel. I wasn't going to make the same mistake again. So when we stopped at the beach in Tainan to have a 'quick' look at the sea, I was well prepared. When I told them I was going for a swim, they were so surprised — actually I was surprised that no one else had brought their swimming gear! I stripped off and had a lovely refreshing swim. It was so warm, I don't know how I will cope in the English sea after this.