Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Touristy Taiwan, the Final Exodus

For our last real day of the trip we decided to travel a little and see a few sites. We started with the Zhongtai Monastery, which is a very large and beautiful Buddhist monastery in Puli. In fact, I think it's one of the largest Buddhist monasteries in the world, if I remember correctly. We were supposed to be signed up for a full tour but apparently our reservation got lost so we had to settle with the mini-tour. But it is an amazing building, and it was very interesting to learn more about the beliefs and history of Buddhism.

After the monastery we headed drove around until Spencer found the chapel in Puli, and then we went on to Sun Moon Lake, the largest body of water in Taiwan. Because it is the largest body of water and a huge tourist site, the government there is very strict about keeping it clean and unpolluted. You're actually not allowed to get in the water at all, even to dip your toes, except for one annual race in early fall. And it's worth it. The lake is beautiful and we really loved it.

Right near Sun Moon Lake is Wenwu Temple, a beautiful and ornate Confucious temple. I enjoyed seeing architecture and decoration a little different than most of the Chinese architecture that we'd seen, and there was SO much to look at!

Our last stop was the drum tower pagoda, just up the mountain from the lake. I don't know it's actual name, but it was a fun stop. There's a little bit of a scenic hike up some stairs, but the view from the top is amazing. First we just had to beat on the big old drum outside.

And then we went up!

There is a huge bell at the top, and visitors are more than welcome to ring it at their pleasure. And we were oh so pleased to oblige.

When we were ringed out we hiked back down, picked up a few souvenirs, and headed back to Taichung. That night we had dinner with some local members of the church that Spencer worked with during his mission at a restaurant in Taichung called Sweet Dynasty. And for some reason I can't find the picture we took with them there. But the food was DELICIOUS, maybe my favorite meal of the entire trip, and I loved getting to know people Spencer knew. AND, the family moved to Provo just a few weeks ago and will be there in the fall when we get back, so we are very excited to spend more time with them in a couple of months.

Checking panna cotta off my food bucket list.

Local dessert- tofu pudding with a mapley syrup.

Oh, and we got a parking ticket after we made a pit stop for some souvenirs. Sad day.

The next morning we just packed up and drove back up to Taipei. Spencer and I flew out first, so we had to say goodbye at the aiport. We were sad to end the trip and say goodbye, nervous about going back to the States, excited to see the rest of our family soon, exhausted by the traveling we had already done, and feeling daunted by the amount of traveling we still had to do. We got on the plane, and then our time in Asia was officially over.

Oh China, we miss you dearly. We miss the people, the food, and the experience. We'll come see you again, I promise. Until then, we will think of you fondly.

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