Monday, November 03, 2014

Taipei Throwback: Bopiliao Old Street, Longshan Temple & Taipei Botanical Garden

~*Bopiliao Old Street*~


As mentioned in the previous post, we experienced the serendipity of discovering sights in Taipei that weren't in our mental itinerary simply because we chose to walk. Bopiliao Old Street (剝皮寮老街) was one of the accidental stumble which I enjoyed a lot while on our way to visit Longshan Temple (龍山寺).
For easy to read information and photos of Bopiliao, head over to Taiwan Explorer.




The rustic red bricks made for a great backdrop for wedding photoshoots.




Retro posters flanked both sides of the glass elevator. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator came to my mind when I saw this glass shaft.




I love how there was an amalgamation of ancient and modern-- red brick walls with brown steel bars and sleek glass! Definitely an enthralling sight from where I was standing.




It was fun climbing the stairs and onto the roof of these red-brick buildings. We were the only ones who did that. The rest of the tourists and locals stayed below.




Where I was sitting, I could peek into the window of the 2nd or 3rd floor and was shocked to see somebody staring back at me. Yup, this was part of a roof top.




These stones and path seemed to be there for ages.




Thought bubble for the hubz read, "I'm standing like a sissy coz I'm carrying my wife's stupid LV bag."




What a redundant doorway.




We were intrigued by the many narrow spaces and tiny features like this little space between two tiny buildings...




... and intrigued by this mini door too.




Since it was an accidental stumble, we merely walked through and took photos. If this were one of our planned stops, we would definitely have visited the exhibitions and the Education Center which seemed to be the gems of Bopiliao.
For more information on the exhibitions and the education Center, head over to Wanhua District.




At 4pm when 3/4 of the day was gone, we left Bopiliao and finally made our way to one of our planned stops-- Longshan Temple (龍山寺).





~*Longshan Temple*~

Longshan Temple (龍山寺) was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian, China. It served as a place of worship and a gathering place for the Chinese settlers. The temple has been rebuilt multiple times after by earthquakes and fires, and even bombing in the last days of WWII. The main building and the left corridor were damaged and many precious artifacts and artworks were lost. Longshan is seen as an emblematic example of Taiwanese classical architecture, with southern Chinese influences commonly seen in older buildings. Like most temples in Taiwan, the temple worships a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist deities. [Edited and condensed from Wikipedia.]




Despite the many positive reviews of the temple, it felt just like any temple in my opinion. I wasn't able to appreciate the "impressive structure with sweeping swallowtail eaves", the "colourful jiannian (mosaic-like temple decoration) figures on the roof" and the "elaborate stone and woodcarvings". The electronic neon display board sort of modernized the temple and I thought that looked cute.




Many locals and tourists alike roamed the outer courtyard of the temple and the only way to spot tourists was when they whipped out their cameras and snapped 38403943 of the courtyard and the waterfall.




I looked like I had an easy shot with this waterfall but the truth was that everyone also wanted a shot and we had to wait for quite a while to snap this. And those PRC tourists simply do not know when to give up their spots for others to take photos.




On the other side, we had a dragon and a fish spewing water.




Behold the almighty golden dragon spewing 3 jets of water!




I did not take photos inside the temple as I thought it was only polite not to do so at religious places. There were many people chanting in unison from a holy script and I wondered if there were fixed prayer sessions at the temple.




The whole temple was really crowded with barely enough walking space. The air was filled with burning incense and soon I felt suffocated. We decided not to explore the place anymore and headed for fresh air at a big fountain located just opposite Longshan Temple. I stared at the lacklustre water patterns of the fountain and wondered aloud why Longshan Temple was a MUST-VISIT place in Taipei. Probably because I come from Singapore whereby temples could be found in almost every neighbourhood, I did not find this place of interest interesting at all.




Our next stop was Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Most people would take the MRT but we continued with our walk, seeing how the walk had taken us to many interesting places not within our itinerary. An interesting sight was this overhead bridge. I do not know how common such L-shape overhead bridges are as we do not have it in Singapore. I found it really unique yet thought it was pretty redundant on an empty junction like this. I would most likely use the zebra crossing or jay walk.




Have you seen a full square overhead bridge before? I haven't. Now this made more sense on a wider junction that's difficult to jay walk.




Scooters is the common mode of transport in Taipei. Many ladies ride scooters and so there are girlish helmets to cater for this group of riders. The helmets were so cute, I felt like riding a scooter just so I could wear one.




We walked past a parrot shop with colourful parrots all perched obediently in rows and a little doggie that looked bordered up only to see at 2nd glance that it was not.





~*Taipei Botanical Garden*~ 


Initially we felt it was our good fortune to have stumbled upon the Taipei Botanical Garden. I wondered to kh if it was listed as a place of interest to visit since I did not really chance upon any review on it during my online research. In retrospect, I don't understand how people could describe the garden as "well maintained", "top of my list to see in Taipei", "lovely peaceful place full of birds" etc. To me, the garden looked really sad. I did not see flowers blooming. Neither did I see many birds. The whole place was unkempt and had a very dark atmosphere. Don't get me wrong. I love rustic wilderness but seeing the wilderness knowing that I was in a Botanical Garden was just not right.




Walking into the garden, we were shrouded in darkness. Upon looking up, I felt that the palm trees foliage wasn't too bad to look at but why the darkness when there wasn't any thick foliage?




The Information Service Counter looked like it had been abandoned for years.




Top left: The purpose of the top left pic in this collage was not to show what plant the sign was depicting but to show the disgusting flies all over the signboard.
Bottom left: The bridge must be the most beautiful part of the garden.
Top and middle right: Apparently a horde of avid photographers were trying to photograph a particular bird among the trees, spurring lots of passers-by to stop and stare into the foliage as well.
Bottom right: Unkempt with its own wild style.




Lots and lots of no-no in this garden. Taiwan is a country well-known for being dog-friendly so the first no-no left me puzzled.




Well, the highlight of the garden was this blind cat, a blind cat with a keen sense of hearing.





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Next Taipei post would conclude Day 1. Stay tuned! In the meantime, please keep the love notes coming in!

49 comments:

  1. Hi Jo! Bopiliao looks so interesting, something totally different from what Im used to. I think I would have been disappointed too by the Botanical Garden, I mean, I would expect more flowers blooming too and yes, seems little sad! But most of all, Im impressed by the Temple, I know u say is and ordinary one but is very outstanding for me, maybe cause I never saw one from real. Jo, you and ur hubby look so sweet together! Many kisses and have a great week ahead! (ps dont worry dear, is the same, will read ur reply here or from me :**)

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    1. Hey Lilli. Yeah. I feel that a Botanical Gardens should have more flowers too. It just looks too gloomy and ungroomed, right? I would be fine if it were some nature park looking like this. I realised that many non-Asians/ non-Chinese would be awed by the temple a lot and I wonder if it is the same way that I'm awed by the majestic Gothic churches of Europe when the locals find them dime a dozen. Thank you, dear and have a good Sunday while it lasts!

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  2. I like the modern look with the rustic look... it is a great look :)... It's too bad the temple wasn't a better experience but I think you are right, you are used to a certain way of temples where you have so many in your country :)

    I too would walk to see as much of the city as I possibly could... I think that is the best way, you get to see things close up and meet some people :)

    The cat is cute, I am glad to hear that he can hear so well so that he can compensate for his eyesight loss...

    I look forward to you next post to come Jo xox

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    1. Hello Launna. It's always loved such juxtaposition of modern and olden too. I must clarify that the Longshan temple indeed has got more elaborate details than the temples I see in my country. It is very common to have homestay in Taiwan and probably the next time we venture out of Taipei city, we might do that. Interacting with the locals is one great cultural exchange when on holiday.

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    2. Hi Jo, I just wanted to drop by and thank you for your wonderful comment. Lately I have been copying my comments as I have had so many disappear on an error or look like the go through and don't. It's sweet that you dropped by and commented again ♡

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  3. What lovely pics! Lots of great architecture! I love the sweet little tabby cat! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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  4. Ah yes, the parable of the blind cat who hears quite well. Come and sit beside the temple that reminds me of a Vegas casino as the dragons spurt forth fountains of wisdom. Once there was a blind cat...who was abducted by aliens and returns with a mad vengeance in a tiny flying saucer to rule the world. Hmmm, I may have mixed my stories :) Isn't it fun to wander sometimes? The things you find along the way are often cooler than the actual destination. Wonderful shots but my favorites were the ones of lovely you, especially your roof shot. Very wow, dear!!! And now back to the basement before UFO cat returns! xoxo

    http://downwithpants1969.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yup, a mix of stories is always fun. I love seeing how all this nonSENSE makes sense. The closest you could get to a temple is in a Vegas Casino? Hahaha... No wonder everyone loves weekends in Vegas. It seems like you can go to any part of the world in Vegas. I would love to visit Vegas! Thank you for your lovely comment as always.

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  5. Oh, this was so interesting to read! I have never been or seen such places! The old street of Bopiliao looks really cool and I like the red-brick roofs so much! Haha, your hubby is a good model! And you look so beautiful, Jo! Sorry to hear that the Longshan Temple didn't meet your expectations! I also find it not quite polite to take photos in temples but many people do it without any problems. Also, I am sorry to hear that you were disappointed with the botanical garden! The shot with the palms looks great though! Have a good day, Jo!

    sunandsany

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    1. My reply to you just got swallowed up by the Internet. =(
      I was saying that Bopiliao was my favourite stop for that day and I can't believe I didn't stumble onto any contents on it during my quick research prior to the trip. I'm glad we share the same sentiments. I would strictly not take photos in religious places or museums when there are notices of "no-camera". However, when I would still do so in religious places that allow. For Longshan temple, there were many people chanting and praying and I thought it is impolite to invade their privacy in that way. Have a great Sunday while it lasts, Stanislava. Catch up with you soon!

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  6. What a wonderful place...love the garden, but I would have liked more flowers, but I can still appreciate it's own beauty. The temple is amazing, I hope to see something like that in real life one day :)) You two look so sweet :)) I hope you have marvellous week doll xx

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    1. You're always appreciative of any forms of beauty around you, Kizzy. I can't accept a gloomy and ungroomed Botanical Gardens though I would be totally fine if it were some nature park looking like this. Heh... I realised that many non-Asians/ non-Chinese would be awed by the temple a lot and I wonder if it is the same way that I'm awed by the majestic Gothic churches of Europe when the locals find them dime a dozen. Have a marvellous week yourself too!

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  7. Wow there are so many beautiful things there! Thanks for sharing xo

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Love seeing newcomers around!

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  8. Ok, that dragon fountain spewing water is THE BEST! I love it Jo! I love the rooftops and that glass elevator. Whenever I hear glass elevator I think of Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. So pretty! I love your hair! Looks so pretty! LOL at your hubby in the tight space.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. You like the very dragon I laughed at, Kim! LOL! But I can see why you like it. It is sorta cute being all gold with its posture and it spewing water. What a charming dragon. Ah, high five on the glass elevator. Thank you for your sweet compliments!

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  9. Son unas fotos preciosas, me encantan y la del gato es genial. Besos!

    conrdereymara.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm using Google Translate to read this. Thanks dear. Yes. The cat is sweet. xo

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  10. What a wonderful trip! The pics are amazing and the architecture!! It sounds and looks like so much fun! And you look so happy! Love it!

    ♘ www.sugarpopfashion.com ♘

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Stella. Love seeing newcomers around! Would pop by your blog soon!

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  11. Wahh this looks like a lot of fun! The architecture is so interesting...More places to add to my bucket list. Ahh.

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    1. Yes, I enjoyed my trip. It was rather impromptu and not much research was done. I would love to plan a more thorough Taiwan trip and not just Taipei. Would be fun. Hope you get to visit it too, Amy!

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  12. Since I haven't been in Taiwan since I was a child, It's really fun to see it through your photos of your trip Jo! Bopiliao Old Street looks like it's full of local charm and fun to explore. It's a shame the Taiwan Botanical Garden was such a letdown. I would expect it to be full of life and flowers as well.

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    1. Hello Rowena. I wonder how much Taiwan has changed from when you were first here. Have you thought of going back with your boy to Taiwan? It would have been quite a reminiscent. I read about Bopiliao and it was such a buzzing place during its heydays. There is a movie about gangs in Taipei at Bopiliao. It must have been during the times when you were a child. How interesting!

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  13. That was a quite unique location, I love the contrast between the old/european style brick wall and the almost futuristic architecture. Your posts are always super duper interesting and inspiring!

    Arianna, Nymphashion ♡

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    1. Thank you, Arianna. You're so sweet. It's always loved such juxtaposition of modern and olden too.

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  14. Great architecture! and the temple looks soo beautiful if ever I get to visit I'm definitely getting a pink helmet :) You look very pretty in the photos.

    http://steph-g.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you, Steph. Hahaha... My sis actually got a pink helmet just for fun. She doesn't ride too.

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  15. ohh I grew up around Longshan temple! this post reminds me of home soo much. that is a very historical and beautiful temple indeed. I'm envious that you got to go there :D

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    1. I never knew that your hometown is around the Longshan temple region! I can imagine the reminiscence.

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  16. Wow Jo, I don't even know where to begin. I'm still drooling over the adventures you had going through teeny-tiny alleyways (if you'd even call them that). One of the things I love about traveling is just wandering about with no place or destination in mind. You always find the most amazing spots and tales off the beaten track. Like that passageway thing. I can't stop looking at that shot with your husband in between those walls. It's such an odd and random thing to find but it also reminds me off my childhood summers spent in Europe and my brother and I discovering random roads and passageways like the one you found too. Ahhh such good days those were!

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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    1. Hey Sonia. Some of my friends are surprised that I don't really have a travel itinerary whenever they wanted to refer to them after seeing my travels. Be it in word doc or excel doc. The thing is, my itinerary is just too mental and fluid, dependant on mood and weather each day too. I can' follow a strict day by day itinerary all planned prior to the trip. That's just me. I'm glad that I'm finding more and more like-minded people around. When we were young, we seemed to discover a lot more random hideouts and passageways. Maybe that's how hide-and-seek came about. The children these days don't seem to play hide-and-seek anymore.

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  17. Jo,

    I loved seeing all of these amazing pictures you took on your trip! I feel as you took us with you in your adventures :)
    My favorite pictures are the ones of the arquitecture! the mix of modern and old, very clever and beautiful! loved the funny pictures of your husband in between the two buildings and underneath the door haha you guys are so funny! and I can't tell you had a great time :) I thought the temple you went to, looked pretty awesome! lol but that is of course, because, I have never been close to one! something in my bucket-list that hopefully I will do sometime soon!

    Oh and the helmetes... super cute! I want a pink vespa and a pink helmet to go with it! haha oh oh and before I forget, your LV bag! I love!!!! I don't think my husband would carry it around though lol so you are a luck girl!

    I wanted to thank you for all your sweet comments about my new hairstyle and my new website (and yes! I've changed it, it is not on blogspot anymore and it has it's own domain). It was so much work Jo! I can't even tell you haha and I'm still working on it.. since you probably saw little things that are not quite right yet! oh well.. keep researching! love learning new things :)
    I also wanted to apologize for being gone for so long but I've been crazy busy with work, school and working on my new website! Thanks, as always, for your sweet words and all the support you give me! I love having friends like you :)

    XOXO

    Milu
    www.hellolupi.com

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    1. Hello Milu. I've always loved such juxtaposition of modern and olden too. I must clarify that the Longshan temple indeed has got more elaborate details than the temples I see in my country. I realised that many non-Asians/ non-Chinese would be awed by the temple a lot and I wonder if it is the same way that I'm awed by the majestic Gothic churches of Europe when the locals find them dime a dozen. I usually carry my own bag unless I need my hub to hold it for a while like in this case, while having my photo taken. I always likes to carry it like a sissy on purpose whenever I asked him to help me hold my bag for a while. =/

      It's great to have your own domain! I've contemplated having my own domain but often read about how it is better to use Wordpress for own domain so I guess I would stick to blogspot for now. Ah, you needn't apologize. I can totally relate to all that bz-ness. And likewise, I love having friends like you too.

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  18. Always enjoy reading your trips. It looks like you had a wonderful time and what a joy to see your happy pics. I hope you a lovely new week��!

    Xxx. http://attraction2fashion.com

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    1. Thank you, Tanya. You have a good week too. It's gonna be TGIF and weekend soon. Yay!

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  19. Hi Jo! Yes the botanical garden looks pretty sad. I would have been disappointed too. Well here they are much more beautiful. With a lot of flowers. You don't like the temple, really. Well I do but I don't know if I'm the best judge. We don't have any over here. I love the pic of you in front of the waterfall. It was worth waiting for. Have a happy Tuesday Jo!!

    xx

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    1. I especially love the flowers in European countries and can imagine how beautiful they are over where you are. I must clarify that the Longshan temple indeed has got more elaborate details than the temples I see in my country. I realised that many non-Asians/ non-Chinese would be awed by the temple a lot and I wonder if it is the same way that I'm awed by the majestic Gothic churches of Europe when the locals find them dime a dozen.Have a great TGIF and weekend after that!

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  20. Dear Jo, I think it was really polite that you didn't take any pictures in the inside of the temple. I wished really that other people would respect this, too! And I would have been also shocked if I suddenly saw into a face after I climed there up :) Interesting the this brick wall is often a choice for wedding pictures as here in Bavaria nearly everybody prefers green background (woods, meadows, trees) and really seldom a building. But honestly here in Bavaria we have much more green than any kind of buildings ... The space between the houses is there really sometimes so narrow. And you found a perfect end in the wonderful and so interesting series of pictures with the beautiful blind cat with the keen sense of hearing, thanks for that! Wish you a wonderful rest of the week.

    Lovely greetings from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    1. I enjoyed reading your lovely comment, Rena. I would strictly not take photos in religious places or museums when there are notices of "no-camera". However, I would still do so in religious places that allow. I don't understand how people could snap away and disregard the signs. For Longshan temple, there wasn't any sign but I felt it was an invasion of privacy to the people praying there. I would think that the green background in European countries are so beautiful that everyone would love to have those as their backdrop. Happy TGIF and have fun during the upcoming weekend!

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  21. Love your photos, and love those helmets!

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    1. Thank you, Ellie. And I love seeing newcomers here!

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  22. Oh wow - what lovely snaps - but so sad to see the state of the gardens :(
    Edita
    www.pret-a-reporter.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, Edita. I love seeing newcomers here!

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  23. I would like to visit this fantadtic place.
    Kisses

    NEW POST

    www.angelswearheels.com

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  24. passed by your blog when i was looking for mandyfaith's news. :(

    anyway, nice pictures & blog!

    www.venicekeqian.com

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    1. Mandy Faith has brought many people to my blog and I'm glad that passers-by like you would leave a note to let me know how you stumbled here. Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment. Love seeing newcomers around and would check out your blog soon. =)

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