Showing posts from 2014

The Forbidden City in Beijjing, China

Okay so this is of course way to late- the last time I was in Beijing was one or two years ago I think, but I'm slowly trudging through my pictures and want to share with you my experiences in mainland China. So here's a great one in the Forbidden City.

The Forbidden City is an amazing place! For those of you who don't know, it's the area where many of the emperors of China lived (from the Ming Dynasty through the end of the Qing Dynasty), and it's seriously large enough to be a small town. You can see it directly from Tian'an Men Square. Just walk towards the humongous picture of Chairman Mao.
Now I have a small issue with this picture, and I may get some anger directed at me for this, but I think it maims the historical integrity of the Forbidden City. I wish the entrance had been kept the way it originally had been when it was used by the emperors. If, on the other hand, China wants to give tribute to someone who helped to bring down the reign of the emperor…

Kenting July 2014

Beach season is over in Taiwan. It's already too cold and windy to visit the coast, but it's nice to look back on my trip to Kenting this year. I've been there three times now, I believe! It's on the southernmost tip of Taiwan and you have to take either the train or the high speed rail, then a long bus ride to get there.

Kenting has really good memories for me. It's where I celebrated my first birthday in a foreign country, and it's also the original image I had of Taiwan before I came. Palm trees and beaches everywhere.

The nightmarket in Kenting is also a walk you must take. I don't have any pictures because we were just enjoying the moment, but some interesting things to see that you won't see anywhere else in Taiwan, including French ice cream and cross-dressing shows.

All in all, it was a romantic and relaxing time. We stayed at the Chateau Beach Resort, which if you have the money to splurge, is totally worth it. They have their own private beac…

Sun Moon Lake (Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village)

It was a slightly rainy day but still a great one to see the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. In case you don't know, Formosa was an old name for Taiwan! ;) This park is half roller coasters, and half an educational exhibit on the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan. We only had half a day so we spent it learning about the native tribes. You get there from Sun Moon Lake by cable car. The view was, again, really gorgeous and it was close enough to a roller coaster in itself, since you have to cross over a couple mountains on the way.

This is a really bad picture- it was inside the museum and I couldn't get the lighting right. But I just want to show you that there are 26 tribes on this small island (according to the map). I believe only 13 or 14 are officially recognized and the park only has exhibits on 9 of them. (please correct me, I know I'm wrong on how many are recognized by Taiwan)

They had different houses reconstructed of different tribes- here's an example of one…

Sun Moon Lake (Xuan Zang Temple)

Xuan Zang the monk is famous for going to India in the Tang Dynasty to bring back Buddhist scriptures to China. His story became legendary in the the novel Journey to the West. I read an abridged version in an Intro to Asian Studies course in undergrad and now I'm reading the full version, in English of course. I can't exactly read ancient Chinese yet! So although the novel could not be a true account with all of the monsters, Buddhas and Daoist gods that appear, it still has some roots in what actually happened.
I was extremely excited to find out that there was a temple to Xuan Zang because I love the story Journey to the West, especially the monkey king, Sun Wu Kong. I've been reading the novel (it's broken down into four books, each over 1,000 pages long) and I'm on the second to last chapter. In the book, Xuan Zang is characterized as extremely naive and scared of anything that moves. He also seems to lose heart easily. He's not a well liked character in …