A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of hours to walk around Tainan's alleys and take still more pics. Haven't had a chance to put up many pictures this week, so brace yourself while I indulge. Here my friend Peter Huston makes sure I don't see anything indecent before we set out on an evening stroll.....
Some nutter scrawled incomprehensible nonsense graffiti in the pedestrian tunnel under the train station.
One of the little Thai eateries around the corner from the train station has great simple Thai food.
Nothing like a spicy Chicken dish to make your day.
We stopped at Crosby's to enjoy a beer and the good atmosphere.
"Have a nice day, Ma'am."
A DPP candidate's sign overlooks a Tainan street.
Tainan's streets have a nice crowded Taiwan feel....
...but it is the alleys that are really special. The city has paved many of them with red bricks that give them a sweet Old Taiwan look. When I look at Tainan, and Taipei, and the improvements to Kaohsiung, I can only shake my head at my home city Taichung, the Sick Man of Taiwan.
Inside every alley there is a temple hoary with 300 years of tradition.
...and locals having a chat.
Tainan's temples are elaborately beautiful.
Of course, alleys are useful places to stash one's stuff.....
Taiwan is often criticized for being dirty, but notice how every alley is spotless. Residents work hard to keep their local environments free of dirt and litter, and given its massive population densities and indifferent businessmen and governments, Taiwan does a pretty good job of keeping its lived environments clean.
One of those brave dogs, running away as he is barking at me.
Tainan, the old capital of the island from the 17th century to the 19th, has plenty of historic sites.
In city centers all over Taiwan, old Japanese style wood buildings persist.
I stumbled down an alley to find this massive temple, the Jade Emperor Temple. Huge, old, and very interesting.
So big the ghost money burner has a smokestack.
And no wonder: look at the size of that pile of burning ghost money.
Outside the temple small shops sell ghost money, incense, and other necessities of temple interaction.
A shop outside the Jade Emperor Temple sells ghost money.
Here a vendor inside the temple offers the necessaries for temple-goers.
Visitors pay their respects.
In Taiwan's traditional religion, big trees are objects of veneration. Many of them have small temples located nearby.
Not ten meters from the giant Jade Emperor Temple is this tiny temple tucked into a corner between two buildings.
The temple actually gave me this book when I asked if they had anything. It contains text in both Chinese and English, and gives the story of the temple.
Plenty of old buildings, but not all in good condition....
Wherever you see a gate like this, it leads to (yet) another temple.
I was not the only person walking around imaging temples.
Stopped by for a chat with these wonderful women, who turned out to have kids in the US studying.
This one had no kids in the US.
Further down the alley there was another tiny temple. The family that ran it was eager to show me around, although they knew very little about it, as it turned out. It had originally been located elsewhere and moved here.
A view of the interior.
Everything was hoary with age.
A set of faux carpenter's tools carved from wood. What are they for?
This is actually a text in highly stylized Chinese characters.
Underneath the main altar was this secondary altar with this interesting tiger figurine.
A reminder that not everything in a back alley is a temple. People are hard at work everywhere in Taiwan.
One of the many alleyways.
Taiwan would be a poorer place without its colorful street vendors.
One of the city's many parks.
It's a good thing mom has chosen to protect herself.
A slow day at the pineapple vendor's.
The fruit stalls.
Plenty of abandoned lots litter the alleyways.
The Armory, a favorite Tainan expat hangout.
As you walk up and down the alleys....
...you never know what you'll see....here are some items used in temple processions.
Oddly, this alley took me above the rooftops of Tainan, Mary Poppins-style.
There's always room in an alley to park a vehicle.
A meter maid hard at work.
Temple after temple.
Alley after alley.
Temples are great places to lounge, apparently.
Small treasures like an old wooden door make the alleys so interesting.
What's down this alley?
More Big Trees and Temples.
Lest you think every house is cramped, many alleys offer large, beauitiful homes.
Without yards, the alley is the place to play.
Loud conversations in small barbershops.
A temple dominates an alley.
Who will use this wreck right next to the foreigner bars in Tainan?