After the first day of the Lunar New Year passed uneventfully I joined the mass exodus from Taipei to places further south. I met a friend at Taipei Station a little before 9:00 am and we were able to purchase a ticket to Taichung on the High Speed train for 11:00 am that day. There were no tickets for unreserved carriages being sold during the holiday period. The journey was fast and smooth and the sun started shining about ten minutes before we reached Taichung HSR Station.
The old street of Lugang was pulling in the crowds — it was busy but not overwhelmingly so. The town’s main Mazu Temple (天后宮) was also a busy place and you can see the crowds making their New Year wishes above.
The Wenwu Temple (文武廟) was relatively free of people. The open grounds of the temple made it very nice to walk around and its buildings have been carefully restored.
Near Lugang we visited another temple, the “Shell Temple” (貝殼廟). It was similar to the temple of the same name in Sanzhi being made of shell and coral. The temple also has fish for sale and in tanks where you can feed them. The tanks not only featured the usual goldfish, but three crocodiles!!!
We passed through Xihu (溪湖) in Changhua County and stopped at this park with several old Air Force planes. The one pictured above is a C-119G transport aircraft. There were also several jets, you can see one of them in the background.
The next day I travelled around the city of Taichung. The first stop was the National Science Museum. There was a huge queue outside, but it was only for people wanting to visit the Mammoth Exhibition. I saw the exhibition when it was in Taipei a few months earlier. Inside the museum we went to see the excellent exhibition of Paiwan pottery. There was also another great exhibition titled “Oceania” featuring artifacts from the peoples of Papua New Guinea.
The next stop was Tunghai University (東海大學) to visit the Luce Chapel. There is a model of it in the Museum of World Religions so I have always been curious to see it.The grounds of the university are very spacious and they even have a dairy on campus. It was almost like being in Australia.
At the Taichung Metropolitan Park we saw this cow pulling a cart taking passengers for joy rides. The proud owner said the cow was worth NT$80,ooo, but he don’t think he would have sold her at any price.
The last stop in Taichung was the curious looking place pictured above. It featured two ROC flags out the front and a bust of Chiang Kai-shek. The sign read Haomin Primary School (好望國民小學). We asked a lady walking past what the place was and she said it was a pub decorated to look like a Taiwanese school in the 1960s.
The trip back to Taipei on Wednesday night by bus gave me a chance to see some of the New Year traffic jams. It took three hours and forty-five minutes from Taichung to Taipei. The heaviest traffic was actually between Taichung and Hsinchu, after that the traffic was flowing fairly well.
*More photos in the Central Taiwan set at flickr.