Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 8: Visiting Air Force Museum, Lotus Lake, and Chengcing Lake

     It was sunshine in Kaohsiung. Our first stop was visiting Ganshan Air Force Museum which is open to the public only on Sat. and Sun. We had three gentlemen who were retired USAF and were stationed in Taiwan during the Vietnam War. They were interested in visiting the museum. So here we were. 
Picture from Taipei Air Station
This is the front gate of the Ganshan Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy along with the Air Force Museum.    
Picture is from Ann & Ted
There were some fighter jets displayed outside of the museum. The sun was very bright and it was not my cup of tea to see those fighterjets, so I along with the other ladies were waiting for the gentlemen at the souvenir shop. 
Picture is from Ann & Ted
One of the displayes objects in the Museum.
This was one of Chiang Kai Shek's vehicle which was on display at the entrance. It was well maintained and in excellent condition. If you like to read more about the US military presence in Taiwan until 1979, please visit Taipei Air Station blog. 

     Lotus Lake
It is located in Zuoying area which is a popular tourist spot and also close to the Air Force Academy. Its area is about 42 hectares. Located there are the Spring and Autumn Pavilions and the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas which were built around 1970. Also there are more than 20 temples within 500 meters distance which is the most condensed area for temples in Taiwan. You also can see one Taoist giant god stature sitting on the lake. It is also surrounded by two mountains, a wetland park, and a bicycle trail. There will be a religious celebration with lanterns and beautiful lights at night in Oct.      

This picture was taken by Ann & Ted
The famous Dragon and Tiger Pagodas are shown at the first sight from the parking lot.  

Picture was taken by Ann
In order to go to the top of pagodas, every visitor has to walk through the dragon or tiger's body. But which one should a visit choose to walk through first, the dragon or the tiger? There is a general rule for visiting temples in Taiwan or maybe in some Asia countries which were influenced by Ancient Chinese. According to the Feng Shui theory, the left side sits a dragon and tiger is on the right side which is based the temples or houses orientation. Walking into the temple on the dragon side of any temple which  is on the right side for visitors, the visitor will gain good luck. On the other hand, a visitor will get rid of his or her bad luck when he or she goes out from the tiger side. Why? Because dragon symbolizes good luck and a visitor walks into good luck. Tiger represents bad luck, so one walks away from bad luck.          

Taken by Ann
Standing on the top of the dragon pagoda, looking at a temple which hosts a Chinese medicine god, a 9 turn bridge, and the decoration of  a 3 dimensional and colorful mosaic dragon head.
Taken by Ann
The symbol of the dragon in Chinese society represents good luck, smart, power, and authority. The original dragon image was taken from 9 different animals and was combined together. Now, every dragons have many different styles but its major parts of the body still remains the same form of the original idea. Its antler is taken from a deer, its body is from a snake and its claw is from a bird.

Taken by Ann
There are 7 floors on both the dragon and tiger towers.  I was a little bit tired walking up to the top because I am a bit out of shape but the view was worth the effort. 
Taken by Ann
Looking at the Spring and Autumn Pavilions 

Taken by Ann
Ted walked away from the back luck. There are some wall paintings inside the dragon and the tiger. Are you confuse about the order of walking into a temple? Here is a summary for you.
Dragon: Facing the temple on your right side ( the left side of the temple)
Tiger    : Facing the temple on your left side ( the right side of the temple)

There is also a sea dragon in the Chinese mythology. The sea dragon can handle noisy very well. So in a traditional house or temple's setting, a kitchen is usually on the left side because it will make a lot of noisy when cooking. Now can you take a guess what setting is on the right side of the house or the temple?  The answer is restroom. Why? Because in general tigers eat rotten meat. The spoiled meats smell bad and tigers take it well. So, toilets are on the right side of the temple. So next time when you visit a temple, you will know where to find a restroom; however, there is some exception for some temples or modern houses due to the lack of the land in Taiwan.   
Time for lunch
The restaurant is decorated in the early period of lifestyle in the 50-70's in Taiwan. It is interesting to look at its collection in different times. It gives the young generations some ideas about the early Taiwan lifestyles. For the old generations, it is always good to see somethings which are related to their old life and recall their fond memories.  
The picture was from T. A. S
The grocery store in older times. I thought it was not an easy task to collect all the items but the owner did it.
This picture is from T.A.S Blog.
The restaurant website:  http://www.oldtaiwan.com.tw/kao.php   
Picture from Ann & Ted
We were taken to this area which was once a movie theater. There were a lot of people in the restaurant on Sunday. So I guessed the food should be good.
Picture from Taipei Air Station
This was our lunch which was a Taiwanese style food. We almost finished all the dishes this time because we were hungry and the food was tasty. 
     After lunch, because it was too hot, we decided to go back to our hotel and take a rest and then we would visit Chengcing Lake at 4 pm and supper at the famous Ruifeng Night Market which attracts more locals than Liuhe Night Market. 
Taken by Ann
Chengcing Lake is the biggest artificial lake in Kaohsiung. Originally, its purpose for making this lake was for irrigation in the 19th century.  It was once one of Chiang Kai Shek chateaux. Now it is open to the public and also Chiang's residence became a museum. There is also a aquarium which used to be an underground tunnel built by Chiang Kai Shek for escaping a nuclear attack. There are many scenic spots to visit. For more information.please visit its official website.
Taken by Ann
I heard a statement which was "if there is water, there would be a ghost." The concept of a ghost for Chinese is that a ghost floats in 3" in the air straight forward or jumps straight forward. It doesn't make a right or left turn when there is a barrier. So a nine turn bridge or nine corner bridge is used to block a ghost from going straight. 

     We had our supper at the Ruifeng Night Market. There were many food stands and was filled with people. If you ride a motor scooter, there will be someone to assist you in finding parking without charging a fee. We followed the crowds and tried to taste various food. We enjoyed its food and had no time to take pictures. 
It was fun to shop and enjoy the night market.  

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