From stranger to friend 萍水相逢朋友

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.

上星期我們到一個名為通霄的城鎮,距離台中一個小時的火車。它其中一個著名景點是虎頭山,可欣賞遠處海岸線的日落美景。我們在下午3:30左右到達,距離日落還有兩個小時。那天天氣不清,而我們也曾在台中看過很美麗的日落,所以我們決定提早離開。

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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.

通霄另一個主要景點在我們上虎頭山之前經過,一個日本統治時的神社遺址。神社本身已經重建,所以我覺得沒什麼特別。

dsc_2093 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.

我反而對另外兩座殘舊的建築物比較有興趣。較大的一座是當年看守和管理神社的官員住處,相當寬敞,你還可以看到剩下的精美屋頂。自從日本離開台灣以後,這兩座建築物已經漸漸破落,之前更曾經被人佔住了幾年。他們在屋旁加建了房間,還把電線懸掛在屋前,看了實在覺得很可憐。另名旁邊較小一座房子,是神社工作人員居所,所以較細小和簡陋。

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dsc_2087There 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!

當地人對如何處理房子有兩種看法。一方面認為應該收執房子讓它恢復以前的光輝,而另一方認為應該保持現現狀讓他們反映其過去和歷史。在未作出決定之前,當局就在較大的房子上加建了一層遮蓋物,以防止它進一步損壞。

在我拍照時,我們跟一位路過的男土聊天,他跟我們講解以上資料,及他對台灣不同的見解。我很喜歡與當地人聊天,了解他們的文化和他們對事物的看法。所以在他離開之前,大家也交換了聯繫資料。原來新朋友也住在台中,離開我們家不遠,還說可以載我們回家。真友善噢!

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。

20161029_11030720161029_150758_hdrThe 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.

分享這篇文章的重點其實不是要告訴大家我去了那裡玩(當然我也很樂意介紹一些台灣好去處給大家)。重點其實是希望向大家發放多些正能量。萍水相逢的新朋友其實沒必要用一整天時間帶兩個陌生人外遊,我們對他一腔熱情真的很感動。這世界沒有人有義務為你做任何事,但當它發生時一定是出於真心。這時你就會知道,原來世界是可以很美麗喔!

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