03 June 2008

Hakka Tour

Today started early at 7:15 am with the boarding of a tourbus. NTNU organized a day long trip to Sanyi province to the south, where we were to experience a different flavor of Taiwan. We started by hitting up the Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum. This area of Taiwan is espeically known for its wood carving, being that it has plenty of skilled craftspeople and great natural resources (wood). I wish I could have photographed some of the amazing sculuptures in the museum, but as in America, there are strict policies against that kind of thing. The link, though offers an idea as to the place. A couple of the sculptures caught me off guard with their humor or poignance. A Pudgy face or an explicit environmentalist message or an intricate spindle meticulously carved were around every turn. 

Next, we went to experience a of bit of Hakka culture. Hakka is an ethnic group in China that, unlike the other large ethnic groups, does not have a definate place of origin. They have been called the gypsies of China, and in fact, their name itself means "guests." They are more populous in the middle provinces of Taiwan than in the others. We went to Sanbanquiao Painted mask Culture Center, and got to try our hand at painting Chinese opera masks:

Mine is on the right, and is of a female character, indicated by the flower, who was very brave, hence the dark blue/black color.

Our tourguide through the area was named Eddie, and he took us to a temple in Beipu, to one of the main goddesses worshiped in Taiwan, Guan Yin (觀音), goddess of grace. Very interesting. Her shrine is a place where you can ask questions and cast lots of sorts that will indicate the answer, if you're lucky. My professor also talked about the woodcarving in this area, which is apparently famous for its high skill. The Hakka people were very hospitible, and the tea, Beipu Lei Cha (北埔擂茶) that we helped make was delicious as well.

And finally, here's another pic of a gate in one of the allies we walked through in Beipu on our tour. I just had to stop and snap one of it, because it was so full of eye-fodder. Hope you enjoy!

P.S. You can leave a comment if you like the posts, dislike them, or just want to say hi just by clicking on the little "comment" link at the end of each post. I know it's hard to see, but I know of a great eye doctor if you need one. ;-) 


Britney said...

Oh Joshua, I miss you already. It seems like you are having a wonderful time, and I really wish I was there.

By the way, address please :]

Ryan said...

I love the picture of the gate, the bright colors are amazing, and I love how something so ordinary as a gate can really be extraordinary, if you take the time to notice it.

I hope you're having a wonderful time and thanks for the blog posts. I am enjoying traveling vicariously through you :) because this is a place that I will probably never get the opportunity to travel to.

Greg said...

I love the brownstone door. I finally learned what that is!