Thursday, February 2, 2012

a saturday with phil!!!

So after the weekend, Erica left my house at 6am in the pouring rain to catch a flight to Hong Kong. No worries she will be back. This is when Phil comes into the picture after spending a couple days in Japan. Well unlike Erica who walked around my neighborhood for hours, Phil just bought several loaves of bread at How Sweet and just sat in my house all day, only leaving to get more food. I highly approve of these actions. So on Saturday I took Phil around downtown Hsinchu to once again play the tour guide. Most of the pictures posted in this blog were taken by Phil since he has a cool SLR that has way better quality photos than what my little point and shoot can. Visit his tumblr to see more!

First up was to grab some lunch so I took Phil to the same noodle place that I brought Erica to which is in the market surrounding the City God Temple. This time we opted to sit down and eat the rice noodles. The noodles were not good. I'm not sure if it's because there wasn't enough sauce or what but the noodles weren't as delicious as when Erica and I had them last time. I guess it's a hit or a miss with this stall.

Next to the rice noodle stands are a whole bunch of vendors selling oyster omelets. I decided Phil should try some since it is a popular food item in Taiwan even though I didn't like it at all when I had some. The look on Phil's face when he bit into it was priceless. Lets just say that he won't be eating it again. Looks delicious doesn't it? Looks can be deceiving especially after they throw this pink sauce all over it. Phil says that is what made it taste really funky.

According to an article in Discover Taipei, a free magazine intended to provide information about Taipei, I've been doing the whole prayer thing wrong. So while you are praying with your lit incense you are suppose to tell the deity your full name, date of birth, address and formally ask that your request be heard. Besides praying with incense you can also pray with divining blocks which are two red half moon pieces, with one side flat and the other rounded. After going through the whole praying ritual, stating your name etc etc, you throw the divining blocks and if you get one flat side up and one rounded side up, the sacred combination, then that means the god has agreed to your request. Two flat sides up are called laughing blocks and it means that the god hasn't decided yet or your request is unclear and to ask again. Two rounded sides up means the answer is a negative. I'll talk about divination lots, the bamboo sticks, another time when I go to a temple and attempt to do that again.

I brought Phil to pray to Yuo Lao so he can find true love :P So based on a different article in Discover Taipei praying to Yuo Lao, the deity who helps with romance, involves a whole different praying ritual. So you are suppose to hold up your incense sticks and state your full name, birthday, address and the type of person you are looking for and request the present of a red thread from him. Now cast the divining blocks and if you come up with the sacred combination three times in a row, you can take a red thread and keep it on your person. Well Phil threw it once and got a yes but his second one wasn't a yes, I forgot what combination it was. He persisted and threw it three more times getting a yes each time so he grabbed a red string. I think that only works if he got the "laughing blocks" combination cause otherwise some is a cheater. Phil tries to reason it out by saying Yuo Lao is testing him to see if he has the persistence to go on but I see it as someone trying to defy their fate! I threw my blocks and my second throw didn't turn out to be a yes so I stopped. I didn't even want to bother because everytime I've throw the divining blocks in front of Yuo Lao I get a rejection but Phil was all on me about joining him in the red string sisterhood. Sorry Phil I'm not "persistent" enough.

Guess my sister should return her red string since we didn't do the ritual right. The story behind Yuo Lao can be found here. An archive of Discover Taipei's old and current issues can be found here. Also found out another hall in the City God Temple. I'm not sure why I keep missing all these rooms. I seriously need to not just take a glance into the main hall and then turn around and leave.
bodhisattva guanyin
After that brought Phil to the East Gate and it was the perfect opportunity to take some jumping shots!
look at our hot faces!!
just imagine some explosions in the background
Downtown Hsinchu had a bunch of vendors setting up stalls that took up the whole street, turning the streets into a Chinese New Year Market very similar to the Christmas markets that popped up everywhere in Europe.

Saw some familiar vendors, usually found at the Zhudong night market, at the Hsinchu New Year Market. This might explain why when I brought Phil there later that night there wasn't any food options that caught our eye so I brought him to the beef noodle place that I visited when I first came to Taiwan and is well known in the area.

When I first visited this place, a bowl of noodles cost $50 NT. This time around the same bowl of noodles cost $80 NT which is probably due to it being Chinese New Year week. One of my co-teachers did mention that restaurants and such would add a tip to food prices for this week. A lot of students had haircuts the week before the New Year because getting your hair cut during that week would have been more expensive. Taxis in the Hsinchu area also charge an additional 30% during this time. While downtown we managed to score some gigantic sparklers and we decided to do some light painting near my house. We had such a fun time playing with the sparklers and a flashlight. Phil is a super experienced light painter. Look at how he captured my angelic side...

1 comment:

  1. How the hell did he do that?!? That's so cool!