Before I had the pleasure of meeting you, I’d heard a lot about you. Don’t worry, all good things. It’s said that if you really want to get a glimpse into traditional life here in Taiwan, then you are the perfect location. Thus, as the train glided into your station, my head was abuzz with images of temples of grandeur and sleepy little back alleys filled with wise old men mixing potions to better mankind. I was not mistaken. Infact, you immediately had me in the palm of your hand. Not in a manipulative way though, I put myself there. You’re just too darn charming.
The way the sky is always blue, with the perfect consistency of cotton clouds. A palm tree is never too far from view even when stuck in one of your little rush-hour jams. I know you’re a city, but I prefer to think of you as a temple town. You certainly have enough of them anyway. I’d be walking down one of your cute alleys and if I wasn’t paying attention, I’d stumble right into a pot of incense at the foot of a temple. I especially like your Confucius Temple. The overall simplicity, and the way the wood is getting old, it creates the right effect. I like the purples and golds that you’ve meshed together. It gives the impression of wisdom, which I think fits nicely. And I appreciate that you haven’t re-coated the paint. I like it in it’s rustic, tarnished entirety.
I could have wandered your streets for days in my pleasantly surprised daze. And because you’re so flat (that’s a compliment), riding a bicycle along your cobbles is a welcomed treat. I cycled all the way to your Anping Tree House. What a marvel! The sun was beginning to set when I arrived, giving the exterior a mystical feel. It felt damp inside, but safe too, if you know what I mean?
I also watched an incredible sunset from your Chikan Towers. This is something everyone should have the pleasure of experiencing. I just perched myself on the balcony of your tower and caught the sun setting behind the tropical trees.
When night fell, I took rest in one of your many accommodating houses. I chose FuQi Hostel and it was a good choice. Perfectly located so that I could walk on foot to your nearby delights.
Oh Tainan, your night markets! It was like another world. A carnival for the senses. Everything was bright and there were thousands of people squeezing past with all kinds of foods that I could never even have dreamed up. I even saw someone chewing on a mosquito skewer!! You sure know how to put on a good show for the party people out there.
I like that most about you. You’re very chilled, but you also have that sneaky, lively side. I can tell that living in your land would be immensely fun! You have two sides, which keeps it interesting.
Your natural temples in all their glory, the way your palms tickle the tops of the chipped wooden roofs, your alleys and the way they wind and surprise every time. From bars with Scottish memorabilia, to magical little cafes, to the narrowest lane my body has ever had to scramble through, to cafes from eras gone by; you’re lovely.
Tainan, please retain your traditional charms, but feel free to continue pursuing your artistic dreams too. I’ll never forget walking down a slightly wonky-looking lane and catching sight of a yellow submarine. Behind this specimen were a group of graffiti doodlers prettifying your dilapidated walls.
I like this mix of old and new, the quirky and culturally-preserved, the art and the religion. It’s as if you threw them all into together, gave them a stir and voila! out popped Tainan and all it’s whimsical charisma!
Keep it kooky Tainan!