Rural Taiwan, Temple Affairs, and Some Old Sh_t

Disclaimer: I am getting frustrated with some posting issues I’ve had recently. For one, without a doubt, I entered both titles and captions to each of the photos here, yet only a few captions show up. Secondly, I cannot go back into the media files I’ve added to change captions and save them–or at least there is no apparent ‘save changes’ option. How ridiculous is that? Hopefully it isn’t a case of “operator head space and timing”. Finally, I once saw that one can create an album of pics here on WP, which viewers can see by flipping from one image to the next, but now it seems that the only option is to have the photos arranged from top to bottom–so that scrolling down is the only option for viewers to see them. Does anyone out there know what I am doing wrong?

Regardless, captions or no, the images here were mostly taken in Tainan County, Taiwan, with a few others shot in Kaohsiung.

Recently, my family and I went on a Saturday outing to Guanziling, a relatively famous hot springs area in Tainan, where there is a not-so-impressive, yet neat-to-my-three-year-old-girl, spring with some flames floating on the surface (a result of some geothermal oddity–unless the locals, to attract more tourists, clandestinely inserted manmade piping under ground that emits methane, which then bubbles upwards and makes its way to the surface, where it immediately combusts).

In the surrounding hills, which make for scenic driving, we came to some impressive temples–although temples, temples everywhere… once you’ve seen one…, right? Well, I haven’t hit temple burnout mode yet, though some I know have, so I found our stop at a mountaintop temple captivating and entertaining to the senses enough. There, we also had the fortune, in my opinion, to see a procession preparing for departure from a temple. Indeed, such goings on still fascinate me, for everything about them is far different from what transpires in my daily life–and all in contrast to my cultural upbringing.

When we arrived at the temple, we walked gingerly into the crowd which had congregated in a black top “plaza” out in front. Because my daughter is less than four-years old, and because my wife was holding our pre-toddler, I held her in my left arm to keep her out of harms way–and so that she could see all that was happening. With her in my one arm, I tried shooting my DSLR with only one hand, and 90% of the images here are a result of that resulting instability. Moreover, although I was snapping pics in fully manual mode, I simply didn’t have the time to make adjustments to my ISO, white balance, etc. Regardless, the images reveal some of the details of what happens during a Taiwanese temple procession, where temple deities are toted on palanquins, transferred from the backs of blue trucks, the ubiquitous modes of transport here in Taiwan, to the temples themselves. After frenetic customary observances and ceremonial gestures of all sorts, with firecrackers exploding all around, with possessed-by-evil-demons performers going through various rituals, the deities are then loaded back into their palanquins and carried off with much fanfare. Surely, if you have an opportunity to witness similar happenings here, stay around to watch everything play out, for it is all insightful and intriguing.

Alleyway Sights

Old Timer

Your Choice

Gaudy

Ghost Money

Joss Paper In the Fire

DSC_0439

Although other deities were displayed and carried openly, whatever was in this container was hidden the whole time.

Although other deities were displayed and carried openly, whatever was in this container was hidden the whole time.

A Deity Palanquin

Ornateness

DSC_0443

Up Close and Personal

This man is placing one of the deities back onto the deity palanquin.

This man is placing one of the deities back onto the deity palanquin.

A Busy Scene

Custom in Process

These temple staffers and supporters escorted the deities down the road.

These temple staffers and supporters escorted the deities down the road.

Deity palanquin bearers tend to be males (at least from what I've seen) and many chew betel nut.

Deity palanquin bearers tend to be males (at least from what I’ve seen) and many chew betel nut.

The hanging box on the lower left side houses something that was a mystery to me. I assume a deity...

The hanging box on the lower left side houses something that was a mystery to me. I assume a deity…

The red on the ground happens to be remnants of firecrackers.

The red on the ground happens to be remnants of firecrackers.

Ready to Move Out

Scenery of Tainan County

Scenery of Tainan County

These two chaps, both very witty and sharp, easily sold us on buying their wares.

These two chaps, both very witty and sharp, easily sold us on buying their wares.

Temple Interior

Temple Interior

Taiwanese Temple Deities

Taiwanese Temple Deities

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2 Responses to Rural Taiwan, Temple Affairs, and Some Old Sh_t

  1. A Simple Guy says:

    Love your shots. There are all really colourful!

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