January 1st: a huge dog

That morning Debbie got up before me and introduced herself to Bill. For breakfast, Bill made her a grilled cheese while I opted for the maple oatmeal that Debbie brought with her from the US.

Yuedong and Adeline (both are among Bill’s assistants) prepared lunch for us. Bill, Yuedong, Adeline, Hsiu-Lan, Debbie and I had a delicious lunch together. After lunch, we napped. At tea time we went to a restaurant by the sea. Each of us ordered coffee or tea, and cake. While we were eating, Bill and Adeline noticed the people at the next table. They formulated the idea that our neighbors were German but after listening carefully my ear did not agree with their assessment for I recognized a French-Canadian accent. Now, I’m not in the habit of talking to strangers just for the heck of it. (See the note in my previous post about how I purposely avoid Westerners.) After a bit of soul searching, I decided I should talk to them. So I walked over to their table and asked where they were from, what they were doing in Taiwan. I don’t quite recall the details of the conversation. I recall that some of them worked in Taiwan and the rest was family coming for a visit. They asked me what I was doing in Taiwan and I explained. Debbie reported to me that Bill thought I was gesticulating a lot while talking to them and “would have my back covered” if needed. I guess he was worried that I was picking a fight with those “Germans”. I returned to our table and reported that those guys were French-Canadians.

After the afternoon tea, we stopped to get some zongzi at a roadside shop. Then we drove to the nearby 18 Lords Temple. Also known as the “Big Dog Temple” because of the huge statue of a dog. Quoting from Lonely Planet (Taiwan, 2007 edition, p. 156):

According to one version of the legend, 17 fishermen went missing one day. One loyal dog pined for days for the return of his master until, unable to bear the suffering any longer, he leaped into the foaming sea and drowned himself.

The dog was huge. The place was cold and windy and the temple next to the dog was deserted. The big dog is the most peculiar attraction at this site. The temple itself resembles a lot of other temples I’ve seen in Taiwan.

For supper, we had the leftovers from lunch together with the zongzi we had bought. It was the first time Debbie had any zongzi. The first time I tried them was last Summer in my intensive Mandarin class. After coming to Taiwan, I also had several occasions to eat zongzi again. It is one of foods that travelers visiting Taiwan ought to try, even if handling a zongzi with chopsticks can be a little daunting at first. Expert eaters are adept at unpacking the edible center and carefully fold the bamboo leaves on the side. Others, like me, send the bamboo leaves flying everywhere.

That evening was quiet. The photo album for that day is here:


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