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Lotus Lake (Chinese: 蓮池潭; pinyin: Liánchí Tán), which I visited way back in 2003 on my first visit to Taiwan, is a man-made lake and popular tourist destination on the east side of Zuoying District in Kaohsiung City. Opened in 1951, it is famous for the lotus plants on the lake and the numerous temples around it, including the Spring and Autumn Pavilions (春秋閣), the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas (龍虎塔), and the Confucian Temple (孔廟). The first photos are of the Confucius temple, which was rebuilt from 1974 to 1976. This was because, during the period of Japanese occupation from 1895, the temple was converted into an elementary school and gradually fell into disrepair. However, in 1973, the Kaohsiung Mayor Wang Yu-yun had designated a City Confucius Temple be built to the north of the old temple site, on the north bank of the Lily Pond, encompassing an expansive ground in excess of five acres (Two hectares) and building area of more than 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares). This work commenced in June 1974 and was complete in September 1976. Inside the temple grounds, a brief biography is given of Confuscious, born in 551 BC, as well as the almost equally famous Chinese historical figure Mencius born 179 years later in 372 BC He is regarded as the foremost interpreter of Confuscious' teachings. Upon leaving the temple, I was greeted by a female singer, dressed in traditional geisha dress, singing in Japanese to applause of a small but very appreciative audience. Then we walked along the shore of the lake where the familiar figure of Guan Yu (Wade-Giles spelling: Kuan Yu), the Taoist God of war, made famous in the battle of Red Cliffs in 208-209 AD (now a John Woo produced Hollywood movie), was now engulfed in scaffolding for major renovations. Soon the lotus plants were prominent along with the pavilions and huge pagodas, such as the Dragon and Tiger complementary Pagodas. I say complementary as the Dragon's mouth is the entrance and the tiger's mouth is the exit as entering a dragon's throat and coming out a lion's mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune. Directly opposite the mouths of these impressive figures, is a beautiful Taoist temple which I photographed from inside, while when turning around, I could gaze directly into the greeting wide open mouths of the Dragon and Tiger.

136 files, last one added on Aug 15, 2012



Sizihwan (Chinese: 西子灣; pinyin: Xīzǐwān) is a community near Kaohsiung in Taiwan. It is served by Sizihwan Station on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Orange Line. Sizihwan Bay is located here, where ships from all around the world enter Kaohsiung's Harbour and Port, with the Port being one of the largest container ports in the world, ranked presently at number six. When one considers that Kaohsiung's Australian sister city of Brisbane, with a similar population around 2 million, has a port that in comparison is microscopic, Kaohsiung's port punches light years above its population. In 2003 I sailed on a cruise at night through the port and it was massive. Atop the hill on the north head of the harbour entrance is the Old British Consulate with panoramic views of the city. This time we did not visit the Consulate, although we did in 2008, where I have a gallery dedicated to it. However, we could see the consulate from the north head of the harbour entrance. Less than a kilometre north of the harbour entrance is the now abandoned Seas Bay Beach Resort on a black sand beach, as nearly all the beaches in Taiwan are black sand, and very close by is the Sun Yat Sen National University, named after one of modern China's most famous historical figures, and instrumental in the 1911 revolution which brought the Manchu Imperial Dynasty to its end. While walking to the harbour entrance, you could see the conspicuous landmark of the dark green Tuntex Sky Tower, reaching a height at its peak of 378 metres, laying upon two pillars, separated by a small gap. It was built in 1997 and contains 85 floors making it Taiwan's second tallest building after Taipei's 101 building, itself the second largest building in the world. Upon making our way home, after sunset, I photographed the Tuntex Sky Tower with its impressive night view to conclude our visit to Sizihwan.

125 files, last one added on Aug 15, 2012



Sun Moon Lake lies in the centre of Taiwan's only landlocked county of Nantou, putting it then right at the centre of Taiwan. We visited this beautiful lake back in 2008, but then our views were spoiled by the chronic mist. This time, the weather was rainy, but surprisingly the visibility was much better. Mist was still prominent, but not in our faces like it was in 2008. Sun Moon Lake's name is mainly derived from its shape. The eastern part is round like a sun, and the western part is narrow and long like a crescent moon. Hence its name. The area around the Sun Moon Lake is home to the Thao tribe, one of the aboriginal tribes of Taiwan and the Lake surrounds a tiny island called Lalu. My brother-in-law Curtis, with my sister-in-law and Sonia's sister Sophie, with their sons Ian and little Stan took us there. In one photo, you will notice a priceless scene where little Stan is photographing his Mum and Dad with their digital camera, with a professionalism an adult could be proud of!!

156 files, last one added on Aug 15, 2012


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