Tainan, Taiwan 2011

A guest post from a Taiwanese girl!

Tainan is a southern city in Taiwan which is very different from the modern city look of Taipei. Tainan is very old fashioned as it was one of the first developed cities in the 17th century – Tainan is a city of history. Tainan was first established by the Dutch East India Company as a ruling and trading base which called Fort Zeelandia during the period of Dutch rule of Taiwan. The Dutch some of the very European architecture to Tainan. Tainan is a city of  culture as well—a lot of temples, a lot of traditional Taiwanese cuisine, and friendly local people living their lives undisturbed.

We stayed for only 36 hours in Tainan, with no plan as to where to visit. We just got on the car and drove along!

夏天的最末尾,飛往國外開學的前一刻,如果能夠安排一個瀟灑的小假期,就是我能想出來最好的收心操。當然,出了國門之後,一切以為唾手可得的小快樂,都變成讓人朝思暮想的大幸福,所以何不即知即行,就找個城市隨意的隨便玩!

 

 

The first stop is an ice cream shop run by Taiwan Sugar Company. In the 50th and the 60th, sugar is one major international businesses in Taiwan. Run by government, there were many sugar cane fields in the southern part of Taiwan. The sugar was exported to most European countries as well as nearby Japan and made a incredible fortune for Taiwan. It was probably the first miracle of the Taiwanese economy.

第一站是台糖糖廠的販賣部,開在斗六跟台南的省道上,我們瞥見路邊大大的糖廠標示,專家都知道,到台糖糖廠吃冰絕對不會錯。所以下車吃冰是一定要的。

 

 

The scene of grandparents taking grand children out for a late afternoon treat is very common in Taiwan.

在南台灣看見阿公阿媽帶著孫子享受下午的悠閒片刻是讓人很開心的畫面。我想起小時候阿公阿媽都會傍晚時分,帶我去買養樂多。夏天的養樂多,難道不是光想到就會微笑的記憶?

 

 

By the time we got to Tainan, it was dinner time. Tainan has a fish port and is famous for its seafood, so seafood for dinner makes perfect sense!

正式抵達台南已經是晚餐時間了,慶平海鮮赫赫有名,不吃怎麼說得過去。不僅是慕慶平海鮮真新鮮的美名而來,同時也是因為要離開台灣去一個吃不到海鮮的島,我的肚子跟我說:要先吃起來放!

 

 

Fresh seafood caught on the same day! Taiwanese people are experts when it comes to cooking and eating. It is not the luxurious kind of enjoyment, but a very down to earth type of day to day meal. If you walk into a seafood restaurant like it, just relax and enjoy what is cooked for you!

哇!看看有多少閃亮亮的海產。台灣不僅有富饒的海鮮,同時也是懂得料理的國家。吃這件事,不僅深入生活,更帶著很多的智慧。我在此就不說,那個我要去的島,只會炸魚炸薯條…

 

 

Fresh seafood cooked when order is taken.

懂得食物真正滋味的人一定比我更知道料理和飲食的秘訣,不過光是看這樣的生鮮排場,我都忍不住要感覺垂涎愈滴了。我們吃了螃蟹!吃了鮮魚米粉!還有很多很多。我只記得我吃完之後滿盤都是剩餘的蟹殼魚刺,不得不說,這是一種飯飽滿足的象徵啊!

 

 

Small alleyways are everywhere in Tainan. This is the place where you can find real life of local people.

晚餐後我們開始台南市的冒險。約莫八九點的台南市,就像台灣很多其他城市一樣,有一點安靜,但是卻還是熱鬧。是一種很放鬆的感覺!我想像這個時間的大家,如果不是在家裡吃水果看電視,可能就是騎著摩托車要去夜市買鹽酥雞和綠茶,或者正在洗熱水澡,從一天的工作緊張中鬆懈下來。

 

 

It feels like night time exploration. We didn’t really know where we were going to, but Tainan (and Taiwan as a whole) is very very safe, There is no reason to be worried when walking down any dark alleyways.

我們,穿梭在小巷裡,感覺充滿興奮!

 

 

Old apartments. As we walked along these alleys, it is very common to overhear the chatting and laughter of some random families coming out from their open window. They wouldn’t mind to let people walking by to know what TV channel they were watching, nor would they care to share the great smell of dinner! This is the life of people in its most relaxed and friendly way. There’s no broken bottles, empty cans not nasty smell in these back alleys, so don’t worry to explore the city when everyone is just as relaxed as they can be!

我的英國朋友問我:晚上走在這麼暗的巷子裡面不危險嗎?聽到問題我先是嚇了一跳,後來忍不住笑了出來。台灣城市裡九點的夜巷從來不危險,穿著短褲脫鞋,手捧一杯冰綠茶,在巷子閒散的吹著晚風,這有多舒服啊!可惜這樣的概念英國人不能想像,英國的暗巷通常是碎酒瓶、啤酒罐以及醉鬼隨地便溺的腥臭。他們還不能領會從後巷走過,常常能聽見打開的窗戶,傳來陌生人一家談笑那種平凡的安全感。

 

 

Oh! Late night coffee shop.

喔!原來我們是要去喝咖啡啦!這照片中的磨豆機還能用喔,這可不是退伍士官兵,它仍是服役中的好漢!

 

 

The owner of Gan-Dan coffee opened for longer hours just for us. He was busy roasting coffee beans and explained that he made the coffee bean roaster by himself, and roasted all his beans by himself too. He said this is the only way to guarantee that the taste of coffee is exactly what he wants. I bought a pack of coffee beans roasted just for me. It was one of the most delicious espressos I’ve ever had.

我們來到台南市的甘單咖啡,老闆加班烘豆子中。

 

 

Very homely and vintage design of the coffee shop.

甘單的擺設是台南老房子的風格。有那麼一點懷舊,那麼一點日本味,還有那麼一點家庭式經營的親切感。巴黎街頭也有這樣非連鎖式的咖啡感,但是那種奢華的風雅總是缺乏一點親切的感覺。可是在甘單,走進去、坐下來、喝咖啡,是再簡單不過的事情了!

 

 

To thank the owner’s hospitality, we brought him some Japanese Sake to share!

為了謝謝老闆的好客,我們帶了日本清酒去共飲。

 

 

Coffee machine from Italy.

義大利來的咖啡機!

 

 

“Kan-bei!” (Japanese way of saying cheers!)

乾杯!!果真是美酒配咖啡!

 

 

Half roasted coffee beans. The beans need to be roasted for several times to develop the right flavor.

半烘焙過的豆子。甘單的咖啡非常好喝,我跟老闆說我不喜歡酸味太重的咖啡,但是我喜歡充滿香氣的重口味,請他幫我調配適合我的配方。跟老闆買了半鎊的豆子帶回另一個島國,沒兩個禮拜就喝完了。其咖啡滋味之美好,正如我想要的那樣濃重、香醇但是嚐不到酸苦味,我一直都後悔自己當時缺乏遠見,沒有多買一些!

 

 

A old-style lamp.

老式的吊燈。

 

 

An antique Vespa. I am very impressed that this thing still carries the owner, his wife and their dog around the city!

老闆不只在老房子裡開店,連交通工具都充滿時代特色!這台偉士牌,是我小時候的記憶,我舅舅有一台紅色的,姑姑有一台白色的。小時候我就坐在騎士的椅墊上,東轉西轉摩托車龍頭,以為自己也有騎士的瀟灑。

 

 

Late night street scene. We decided to have some beer and food after coffee, so we went to an outdoor food stall by a huge tree. It was a very relaxing night.

護境松王夫妻樹下吃宵夜!這有多奢侈啊!一桌上排開都是台南的美食,有滷味、買來的鴨腳翅、意麵和豬腳。有點風、有幾隻蚊子、還有幾罐啤酒和沙士,真的很爽快!

 

 

He-cheung canvas. They still insist to make their canvas bag by hand. The old lady in the photo is the founder of the shop. www.onebag.com.tw

合成帆布。阿嬤還在手工修線頭。這種精神台灣人特有!真的!外國人多數退休之後就開始環遊世界了。

 

 

This is what we bought. A handmade small wallet, very well built, and suitable for cards and coins. (NTD: 150)

買了這個小零錢包!

 

 

You can’t come to Tainan without visiting any temples. One very special thing about temples in Taiwan is that they are more of a cultural and social place than a religious one. You do see people praying and burning incense, but it should be understood as part of their cultural life, rather than a religious zeal. The standing sign says: serenity and respect.

到台南不進廟裡拜拜,似乎少了一點什麼。當然我不覺得拜拜一定是一種很信仰的事情。我傾向認為拜拜幾乎是一種台灣的文化。去看看建築、去看看內部設計、去看看雕龍雕花、去感受香煙裊裊、去參與婆媽叔伯的社交活動、去想像相信有更大的力量在天上,可能是一種讓人類學會謙虛的方式。以上都是認識台灣宗教的不同角度,而每一種,都會讓我感覺更加了解廟宇在台灣的社會功能。這我很喜歡!

 

 

The red walls in the temple. Red is considered the colour of good luck and blessing. It is also the colour of emperor in the Chinese culture. Most temples in Taiwan have red walls and you will see red signs, wall hangings and other red objects in many places.

廟裡的紅牆。很喜氣的顏色,也很有歲月的痕跡。

 

 

The temple gardens

廟裡的小花園

 

 

In the Taiwanese religion, getting good grades is one very important thing. This is taken outside the chapel of the God of Study (文昌君), and students hang their wishes on the wall for good luck. The red colour helps to bring them more good luck.

文昌廟外面一景。大家都想金榜題名呢!

 

 

Window decoration of the temple.

廟牆的窗花設計。

 

 

Wooden Bwai (筊) for fortune telling.

用來擲筊的筊。

 

 

Incense burner—we see it as the post box that takes the messages to the Gods and Goddesses above.

我跟外國人說,我把香爐當成是通往老天爺辦公室的郵筒!

 

 

A sign board saying: Humanity and ethics come first. This is probably the core of the Taiwanese culture.

人倫至上。這種關注人文倫理的角度,大概是台灣文化裡面很根本的一種出發點了。

 

 

Burning incense. The incense sticks are again red for good luck. They are made from powdered sandalwood around a bamboo center. The sandalwood gives a pleasant sweet, woody smell.

我覺得這種香煙裊裊的味道,就是一種文化的獨特香氣。

 

 

Bowing to the Gods and Goddesses before leaving the temple. The writing shows the name of the tample which is “Tainan da tien hou gong”

能夠彎下腰鞠躬,不管是不是虔誠的象徵,至少都是謙虛的表現。

 

 

Temple outside. A scene that’s familiar with everyone in Taiwan.

這一幕,是不是很台灣!

 

 

Pointy hats! It is associated by the westerners only with rice farmers. But actually people wear them on sunny days too. Of course, they can’t ward off UV lights. But they are made from bamboo strips with good ventilation and weight almost nothing. Very practical!

我在台南大天后宮邊捕風捉影!

 

 

Back alleys. Brick wall houses are a sign of the old time Taiwan, and there are still some preserved in Tainan. Modern day buildings use concrete rather than red bricks.

還有多少紅磚房?還有多少小巷?

 

 

A fortune teller’s shop next to temples.

算命的阿伯在屋裡小憩了起來。我發現這種把自己家當成店面的『住商混合』是一種很不同於西方的特色。

 

 

This is a guest house called “the double luck”. It is run by a local couple and they have a cushion shop at the ground floor of the guest house. I think I have to mention that they basically build the guest house by themselves– the wife makes all the beddings and the husband does all the interior design and decorations. This is one of the most characteristic guest houses I found in Tainan!

就在我們隨便覓食解決晚餐的時候,我們在台南水仙宮附近看到了一家專賣手工抱枕的店。好奇心驅使之下,我們就去店裡和老闆娘攀談了起來。沒想到他們在店面樓上還自己裝潢自己設計自己經營民宿,老闆娘大方地帶領我們參觀。這間民居由老闆負責室內設計,老闆娘則是手工裁製床單被套和所有的布製品,十分別緻的小店。名稱就是抱枕上的印花,叫做『双囍民居』。可惜我們當晚就要驅車回家了,下次去,一定會去拜訪拜訪住上一晚的!

 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

 

 

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