Last week we went to a town called Tung Xiao which is an hour away by train from Taichung. One of the main landmark was a hilltop offering decent sunset views by the sea. We got there around 3.30pm, still two hours till sunset, and since the sky wasn’t very clear that day, we figured there was no point hanging around. It’s not as if we hadn’t seen a beautiful sunset in Taichung before.
Anyway, as we were walking up the hill earlier on, we passed by another famous landmark, the ruins from a Japanese temple site dating back from the colonial days. The actual temple itself has been rebuilt so isn’t very interesting.
The other two buildings had fallen into derelict since the Japanese left Taiwan. The larger building used to be the lodging for the temple’s caretaker and is quite spacious. You can still see what’s left of the decorative rooftop. At some point some locals took over the building and lived there for a number of years. They built an extension on the right hand side and the power cables can still be seen dangling in the front. The smaller building sits besides it and was built for the labourers working at the temple.
There are two schools of thought on what to do with the buildings. One thinks the buildings should be restored to its former glory, whilst the other believes they should be left as is to reflect its originality and history. Until a decision is made, the authorities have built a cover over the larger building to prevent further damage.
As I was taking photos, we got chatting to a gentlemen who gave us a bit of history about the site and his insights about Taiwan in general. It is always good to chat to locals, to understand their culture and their view of things. So before he left, we exchanged contact details. In fact, it turned out he also lived in Taichung, not far from us and he even offered to give us a lift back home!
We sent him a courtesy email when we got home with the intention of arranging dinner later on. A few days later our new friend contacted us and offered to take us out for the day. Knowing the kind and friendly nature of the Taiwanese, we were only too pleased to accept his invitation. Our day out was to one of the Taiwan’s famous spa region called Guanzilian, about an hour and a half drive away. We went on our first proper hike in Taiwan, before stopping off for lunch and a visit to Tungshan, one of Taiwan’s four coffee growing region to sample the locally grown coffee.
回家後我們發電郵給他，打算日後再見面。幾天後，新朋友聯繫我們，並提議帶我們出外郊遊。雖然有點不好意思，怕麻煩人家，但我們也知道台灣人友善和熱情的本質，所以我們也很不客氣地接受他的邀請。那天我們到關之嶺，是台灣著名的溫泉地區之一，離開台中約一個半小時車程。我們在台灣第一次正式行山就在這裡。午飯後我們再到東山參觀。這是台灣四個咖啡種植區之一 ， 而我們更品嘗了當地出產的咖啡。
The point of this post, apart from introducing some great places in Taiwan to everyone, is to spread some kind messages around the world. We were really touched by our friend’s hospitality since we were just some random people he had met and totally hadn’t expected him to spend a whole Saturday showing us around. Nobody has any obligation to go out of their way to make you feel welcome or to do a good deed, but when it does happen, you know this world can be a beautiful place.