Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Return to Taiwan Tour - On the Bus - Day 7 Continued

After lunch, we were off to Lotus Lake, the beautiful pagodas and other buildings which sit out in the lake, as well as along it's shoreline.

I had never visited the area in person.  My thoughts of the area were grounded in a photograph we had published on the Taipei Air Station web site a few years ago.

Loren Aandahl, who you may remember from a earlier post on this blog, wrote about his family in Taiwan and one of the photographs in a series of photos on his family, was taken at Lotus Lake.

The Aandahl story begins HERE, I encourage you to take a few minutes to read the story and see the magnificent photography, some of the best we have ever posted.  The photos go back to the 1950s.

Lieutenant Colonel Elliot Aandahl at Lotus Lake, 1966, while on US Marine Corps Reserve, Active Duty Training at Tsoying Naval Base. 
The air quality in the Kaohsiung area today would preclude taking a photo of this quality clearly showing the far shoreline except on those days in the year when east/southeast winds flow in and blow out the persistent smog drifting across the Taiwan Strait from China.

These two pagodas still stand.  I looked for them when we stopped at Lotus Lake but did not see them.

I assumed they had been taken down.  A few weeks ago, I wrote to my friend, Mr. Wang,  who once resided in Kaohsiung, he mailed back photographs and information on these two pagodas and the surrounding area.  He describes this particular scene:

"Lotus Lake was one of my frequent-visit spots in my childhood.
In Mandarin, we call that place ''蓮池潭.''
「蓮」means lotus.
「池」and「潭」have almost the same meanings. 

Both mean pond or small lake.
Sometimes local people also call that place 「春秋閣」in stead of 「蓮池潭.」
「春」means Spring.

「秋」means Fall.
「閣」means pagoda.
Yes, each of the two pagodas has it's own name, Spring pagoda and Fall pagoda".

Spring and Fall Pagodas from Google Street View, taken, circa 2010.

Whoops, there they area...

I took this photo with my telephoto lens fully extended.  

I did not recognize the Pagodas when I took the photo.

So, they were right down the street from the area we were visiting... Huh.

  I was walking around with a broken knee, later diagnosed, so my mobility was really restricted....  I like to explore, had I been well, I would have walked down the street and found those old pagodas, I'd been thinking about the Aandahl photo and I wanted to take a picture from the same place and angle, so we could show the old and new photos side by side.... 

Here are two of the newer pagodas.  

The air quality was terrible, lots of stuff hanging in the air.  It's not fog!

A side view of the newer pagodas.

Some of our group walked out to the structures on the zig-zag walkway, and up inside.  

Some of our group heading inside the Dragon's mouth on the way inside the pagoda.

Beautiful paintings along the way to the pagoda.
Here's some of our folks, L to R:  Ann, Shirley, Twan, Gene and Ted holding his camera.

Looking south from inside one of the new pagodas

There are the two old pagodas, on the left,  really just a short distance down the street.

Watch out when entering, Ted checking a tooth.

The tiger - full size.

We were back on our bus, headed north toward Chengcing Lake. 
 Here, pulling out from Lotus Lake.

We got off our bus, here at one of Chiang Kai-shek's homes.  It sits at the edge of the lake.  
Ted is walking in the parking area toward our bus.

The lake, just off from the old home.

Our bus, parked close to the old home.

One of the things I remember most about the south of Taiwan was the lush green vegetation, it was everywhere.

Seems President Chiang spent some time here at his Chengcing Lake home, finding a comfortable seat close to the lake, where he could be alone. Here he is, leaning on his walking stick, contemplating.  He must have had many burdens on his mind, which in his older years would would also lay heavy on his spirit and soul. Did he find peace by the water? 

President and Mrs. Chiang were Christians. There home in the Shilin area had a small chapel on the grounds, where they attended services.  You can read about their Shilin home HERE.

My leg was was extremely swollen.  I could not walk very far, so I sat down in President Chiang's old seat, I thought of him, resting here, in this stone seat, under the Mahogany tree.  Here I sat, many years later, thinking about my painful knee and leg.

 Most of our group had began walking along the shore line walkway toward the far end of the lake.

The bus would leave here in a half hour or so and meet them down the way.

Just to the left of the old seat under the tree, you can see some folks on the walkway.

Out in the distance to the left of the photo, is that an old Guard Shack?

It was getting late into the afternoon, overcast, but dry.

The red colored sky in the distance tells us it's time to head back to the bus.

What a day it was.

We visited the Chinese Air Force Museum and large aircraft display.

We visited Lotus Lake and some of the area including a hike inside one of the pagodas.

We had lunch at an old rustic restaurant and saw some of "old" store fronts of days gone by.

We visited Chengcing Lake and all of the beautiful sights in and around the lake.

We loaded in our bus and headed to the hotel.

Tonight was a free night and I had that McDonald's meal tonight, then visited one of the electronic stores close to our hotel area where I got a new mouse for my laptop.

Next day = Monday, 14 November 2011.

I woke up with a big leg.  The swelling had not gone down very much. 

It was time to have the leg looked at again.

I decided to leave the tour today, I had no choice.

After breakfast in our hotel, we loaded into the bus and drove north toward Tainan, the next stop on the tour.

We had the bus make a slight detour and let me off at the Taiwan High Speed Rail Station.

I grabbed the next train to Taipei.  

Looking out the window as we are leaving the Taichung High Speed Rail Station stop.

The ride from Kaohsiung to Taipei took less than 2 hours.

I was back at the apartment in Taipei in less than 3 hours after leaving Kaohsiung, after taking a cab home from Taipei Main Station.

That afternoon I saw a Chinese Acupuncture Doctor, who said he could take care of the swelling.  The next day the swelling had gone down.  I saw him every other day for the next 3 weeks.

My leg felt much better, I could walk on it without the swelling.

When the tour group got back to Taipei a few days later, we met up with everyone again at the American Club, the old Club 63, for a final dinner together.  Ted graciously provided a couple of bottles of fine wine and the stories and laughter went on for hours.

It was a wonderful tour.  

We had made our way around the island.  The east coast and south were beautiful.  Of course the whole island is beautiful, but the east and south has a special charm.

Are we going to have another tour?  You tell us.
 The beauty of Taiwan grabs you and leaves you with a feeling of content.

I early December, I flew to Honolulu, had an MRI and found that I had broken my knee, which could not be seen in an x-ray ..  It had healed already.  

Special thanks to Bill and Ann and Gene and Twan, for sharing some of their photos which I used in my blog posts of our trip.

The rest of the trip, Tainan, Sun Moon Lake, Taichung and CCK, and on to Taipei, has been posted by Twan.

Twan our tour guide and who is Gene's wife,  will take us the rest of the way on our tour.

HERE is her Blog Post beginning in Tainan.

Thanks for riding along on our trip.

Hope to see You next trip.

Tsi Gen

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