Monday, January 24, 2011

Flora Expo

The 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition is open from November 6, 2010 to April 25, 2011, daily from 9 AM to 10 PM.

There are large areas of flowers in various patterns and designs, such as this near the entrance.

This is near the river.

These musician figures were good for photo ops.

This building and rainbow-colored beetles would appeal to children (of all ages).

Inside this building they held musical performances. They announced something starting at 2 PM, so I went inside and waited ten minutes to see what it was. It was two guitars and some Chinese banter and after one number I left.

Part of the theme of the exposition is environment and conservation. So they installed some wind generators and are powering some of their electrical needs with them.

Here was a men's bathroom, rather airy with urinals, western-style toilets with toilet paper, and sinks (but no plan for drying your hands). I waited several minutes for the place to clear out.

Some smaller areas were decorated and groomed with plants and foliage.

This is a quaint little facade out of foliage.

At this location some girls wanted to have their picture taken with me and then they thought I should have a picture of myself (so here it is).

The Fine Arts Museum is included in the Flora Expo area, so I went in to see what was there in honor of David. This picture is for him.

Then I took one for myself -- I figured I could understand it.

Outside the Fine Arts building was this stage where shows were put on from time to time, with a seating area for the audience. This orchestra of traditional Chinese instruments were rehearsing and I listened for awhile.

Here was another group of entertainers. They danced and did Indian chants. Afterward they were taking pictures and invited me to join them.

Here are flowers, a little water, and the traditional Chinese bridge.
There are some exhibits where you have to stand in line. And there are some exhibits where you have to have special tickets to get in. The tickets are free with the price of admission to the Expo, but there are a limited number distributed for specific times of the day of admission. People line up outside the Expo early in the morning, hours before the Expo opens at 9 AM, and then they run to where the tickets are handed out for the place they are interested in and see if there are any left. We may try that when Ann comes to visit. I would like to see the IMax theater presentation (don't know exactly what it is about).

One exhibit we stood in line to see (15-20 minutes) turned out to be assorted handicraft such as making incense sticks and intricate paper cutting (such as above).

Another area has displays by different countries, such as Oman...


Greece, with missing arms, and a structure suggestive of the Parthenon...




Hong Kong


and a globe of flowers by the Netherlands.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Fast Train

We were invited to accompany President & Sister Horner to the southern part of the island to attend a Stake Conference. To get there we took the fast train, or as the signs in the main train station read, the HSR (High Speed Rail).

This is the front car of the train as it pulls into the Tainan station (our destination) as we were leaving to go home.

These are the first seven cars of the train. It is a nice riding train and travels somewhere around 280 kph (about 175 mph).

The HSR travels on the west side of the island in a mostly flat plain. In the center and north you see mountains to the east. In the north you go through some tunnels in the mountains.

This appears to be the end of the mountains.

We passed a lot of rice paddies and plots for other vegetables. Some were flooded, ...

...some were growing, some were covered with tarps.

More of the same. They say that they get three crops off the land per year.

Some places had green house type structures.

These plots were near a busy city.

This was as close as we got to any big city (except for Taipei, where you come in under ground to the Main Train Station). This city is Taichung (or Taizhong) meaning Tai middle or Tai central. We left from Taipei (or Taibei) meaning Tai north, and we went to Tainan meaning Tai south. Spellings are a little confusing, because there are different variations of Romanization of the characters. The train stations for Taichung and Tainan are 30 or 40 minutes from the city by taxi.

This was the Stake Center in Tainan. The main chapel was on the third floor.

Hahns, Horners, Wheatleys. The Wheatleys also attended this conference because they had welfare business to carry on. The Horners spoke, and we observed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Xin Nian Kuaile

This was my greeting this morning over the intercom when I was working at the front desk and received a buzz from the basement level entrance door to the temple, "Xin Nian Kuaile". It means New Year Joy or Happy New Year.
I suspect it was a little bit of a surprise to those buzzing who are accustomed to hearing "Wei" (sounding like weigh or way) which is the usual response on an intercom or telephone.