The last two days I went on day trips to Taipei with Vivian. It’s not so far from Keelung and so one can reach it by bus or car.
Before we went to Taipei on the first day we had a relaxed morning at the home of my host family. After a yummy lunch at a local restaurant Vivian’s parents joined their neighbours in preparing a ceremony to show respect to the ghosts (In the lunar calendar we have the month of the ghosts). For this ceremony they collect food for the ghosts on a big table. Also animal-ghosts get some appropriate food. There is even a bucket of water with toothbrush and toothpaste. Before the food is offered to the ghosts, paper money is folded in half and burned. Then people pray and put incense sticks into the food, this means that the ghosts can take the food.
After a short visit to this ceremony Vivian, a fellow student of hers and I took a bus to Danshui. It went along the coast and we had a very nice view. In Danshui we tasted some food: For example I ate Squid and tasted “iron eggs”. That are eggs cooked for a very long time and become smaller in the process. We also visited some clothes stands and had a look at the night view from there
Today we went to Taipei earlier. Vivian’s parents also went to Taipei for the day and so we could join them in the car. Our first stop in Taipei was Lungshan Temple. This is a famous Buddhist temple that was founded in 1738 and rebuilt in 1919. For me it was very interesting to experience prayers in this temple. The temple has a main spot for prayer, but also many other spots. At these places one can pray to different gods depending on the topic. There is a god to pray for health and one that women who would like to get pregnant pray to. There is even one which you pray to if you wish to find a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Another activity in this temple is to ask a question and receive an answer. On the pictures below you can see me trying it: First I had to throw two wooded pieces on the floor. The way they land can either mean yes or no. So first I have to ask if I should take a stick (out of a vase with many wooden sticks). If the answer is yes I can take a stick. In my case the answer was yes. Then I asked if this is the correct stick to answer my question. The first time the answer was no, so I took another stick and asked again. This time the answer was yes, so the number written on the stick leads me to a piece of paper in a drawer with this number. Actually also after translation by both Vivian and her cousin I don’t really understand how this paper is answering my question. But I will think more about it. Anyways this was a very interesting experience.
After visiting the temple Vivian and I visited her university campus and had lunch. Then we went to Shilin nightmarket. The biggest nightmarket in Taipei. There we looked at the stores and did some shopping. Unfortunately in those small clothing stores one is not allowed to try on the clothing before buying. For me this made shopping a bit difficult 😉 Our last stop for the day was the area around Taipei 101 and the building itself.