First, Justin and I have arrived safe and and sound in Taiwan, and are now hopelessly frunk (adj: drunk on food) from street vendor food. Some quick highlights of our day from the hotel internet:
We didn't plan to go to Longshan (Dragon Mountain) Temple because we've seen a LOT of Asian temples, but I'm so glad we did. This was a completely different experience. First, it was much more of an active worship site than we're used to. The crowds were as dense as the incense smoke. Second, the decorations were just incredible. The detailed pillar carvings, the illuminated displays (several with motion!), the gold lettering - it was just like no temple we'd seen before.
Goddess lantern, approximately 15-20 feet high:
Justin loves fish lanterns:
Crowds and incense. You can see the offering tables in the second picture. Piled high with everything from fruit to tea to two packs of Oreos. For your modern monk!
Justin with his homeboy, the god of literature (we think):
Temple service chant:
And for some reason, an illuminated rabbit on a motorcycle:
Please note that this was an animatronic display.
We went back to see the temple after dark on our way back to the subway to get the full effect of the lighting. It was nearly impossible on our little camera to capture it, but here are a couple of attempts. The first one, I think, shows pretty well the amazing glowing effect of the gold decorations:
And then the lanterns, plus this happy little guy!
Longshan Temple definitely shook us out of our temple doldrums, and we recommend it. More posts to come later: several Weird Things Drunk For Your Entertainment, a Night Market, and Snake Alley.