Tamsui Treasures!

Bright orange U-bikes have arrived in Tamsui, and not just down by the river, but up in northern Tamsui, by the sports centre and Carrefour ~ yippee!  So a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon is riding around on a u-bike, exploring some of the places in Tamsui that are more difficult to get to – and the sports center is a good place to start. Well, it is for me, cos it’s the nearest to Sanzhi!

First stop is the Cheng’s Old Residence, which is a traditional old Taiwanese house, around 3 sides of a courtyard, probably built around 1875 – and now fully restored and used for educational purposes. It happens to be right in the middle of the new high-rise buildings that are going up all over Tamsui New Town area, this is it!

In fact, the only way to really appreciate its location is to take a diagonal photo!

The next stop is Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf which is right at the mouth of the river – nearby are some more new high-rises ~ check these out!

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Fisherman’s Wharf was cloudy, and full of fishing boats, and the famous ‘Lover’s Bridge’ is covered in scaffolding…

Next stop is the Martyrs Shrine, up a steep hill, which is described as “Sitting on one of the battlefields of the Sino-French War, New Taipei City Martyrs’ Shrine tells the colonial and wartime history of Taiwan. During the Japanese Colonial Era, it was a Shinto shrine venerating Emperor Meiji. After the war, the shrine was sadly destroyed and later converted into a martyrs shrine that honors the fallen soldiers. The foundation and the size of the Shinto shrine has been retained, and the main body was rebuilt into a Chinese palace”…..

The Martyrs Shrine is up by the Hobe Fort, next to the golf club, but I was really heading to the Cloud Gate Theater, also in the same area, which has been open for over 2 years, but this was my first visit – it’s beautiful!  And it’s got sculptures by Taiwan’s most famous sculptor, Ju-Ming 朱銘, from his Living World series (for photos of my visit to his sculpture park, in Jinshan, see my blog post here) which really brighten the place up!

There’s plenty more to see, like the fort and museum and parks in the same area, but it was 31°C, so I’d had enough for one afternoon – it was hot!

A great place to visit – if you get a chance, do go – and by u-bike too!

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Happy Wedding Day Mr. You Bo-Min 游博閔弟兄 and Ms. Hsu Ying-Ping 徐穎蘋姊妹!

A beautifully sunny day at Advent Church for the wedding of our former student, Mr. You Bo-Min 游博閔 and his lovely wife, Ms. Hsu Ying-Ping 徐穎蘋 ~ congratulations to them both ~ and their families!  Here they for the group photo, titled ‘The Kiss’!

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Actually, Bo-Min has always been known to us as A-Bu-La 阿不辣, a good nickname for a fun guy, who loves to act and dress up and do imitations of people and pull faces and make everyone laugh – all the time, that how I remember him!  He’s now 28, and for the 4 years that he was a student here at St. John’s University, he kept us all well entertained, ah how we loved him! He was baptized here in Advent Church and became the leader of our student fellowship, and has continued on as a Christian. His wife Ying-Ping is a Christian too ~ they’re at the Torch Church at Taipei Main Station.

In the summer of 2009, Bo-Min was part of a student fellowship mission trip to Malaysia, led by our rector and chaplain, Rev. Lennon Y. R. Chang. Today a large group of about 30 former student fellowship members and those who went to Malaysia joined together to sing and play for the wedding.  Very meaningful!  They are such a great group, and today they helped with all the organizing and arranging too….

While Bo-Min was here at the university, we also did a lot of outreach in LaoMei, my favorite village on the northern tip of Taiwan, and 2 of the girls we got to know there came today. At the time, they were 12 years old, and they’re now 20!  Here they are with Hannah, our rector’s wife….

And so to the wedding ~ 9:00 am start!

Congratulations to Bo-Min and Ying-Ping, and best wishes and God’s blessings for their future together!

PS: I’ve been to lots of weddings at Advent Church and I think this is the first ever where we’ve had a whole group photo on the church steps with ‘The Kiss’!

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CMS Link Letter # 72!

Hot off the press comes my latest CMS (Church Mission Society) Link Letter, written on Saturday June 3, published yesterday…. check it out here:

Catherine Lee 72

And in case you’re wondering, we’re in the middle of another Plum Rain weekend – rain rain and more rain, and yes the termites are enjoying themselves still!

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St. John’s University Graduation 2017!

Yes, this past week has been the final week for our final year students ~ congratulations to them all!

Last Thursday night, our student fellowship had a big farewell event for the 7 student fellowship members who are graduating.  We all wore masks!  Of the 7 students, 3 of the boys are student fellowship leaders, Pi-pi is last year’s chairperson, and En-Zhe and Bin-Huan also assist in the leadership ~ and all 3 are very much part of the praise and worship team.  Their gift to the student fellowship was to publish a praise and worship book of favorite songs – some of which they had written themselves.  Here’s the 7, with the chaplaincy team…. see they are all very smartly dressed, the boys in suits!

And here is everyone, with and without masks!

Then yesterday was the actual graduation ceremony.  The St. John’s University 50th anniversary too.  Flowers and graduation gifts were on sale from early morning….

Here’s our team getting ready……

Our current student fellowship leader, Vincy carried the SJU banner at the head of the procession into the auditorium, and the 3 boys carried the cross and the candles.  Bishop Lai came too.

SJU President Peter Herchang Ay led the faculty procession. It is his first graduation ceremony as president.

It was hot.  Very hot.  The AC broke down.   But hey, everyone was happy!

Afterwards, the student fellowship all gathered in Advent Church for photos….

This is not an easy photo to take!  This is me (and En-Zhe’s father) taking the photo ha ha!

And this one was even more of a difficult angle!

Ah, it was a great day!  So so so many many congratulations to all our students on their graduation – and best wishes for the future!

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Sanzhi 三芝 in Bloom!

Sanzhi 三芝 is blooming – currently full of fields of lotus flowers…

And if you’re up really early, you’ll get to see the flowering dragon fruits (pitahaya), which bloom overnight and wilt when the sun comes up. The flowers are huge, and attract bees…

Taiwan’s countryside is looking great at this time of the year ~ come and visit and see it all for yourselves!

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Rainageddon Hits Taiwan

And it was quite some weekend….

644 mm of rain fell on Sanzhi on Friday from about 2:00 – 11:00 am. That was the start of it all.  This was the scene on the coastal road on Friday morning from inside my bus….

Fridays’s report about the situation from the Taipei Times is here….

The local river at Sanzhi on Friday afternoon ….

The rains spread south over the weekend.  Tons and tons of rain.  2 dead, several missing, homes and businesses washed away or flooded. Terrible damage to infrastructure, agriculture and businesses.  This is today’s Taipei Times report here

Yesterday I went round the coastal road to Keelung.  The road passes along by some of the worst hit areas.  In Keelung, an area of the town along by the river had been flooded, and the army was helping clear up. This was the scene outside a dentists, they’re all there clearing up.  The whole road looked like this. People everywhere.

The road round the coast is open for one lane only each way.  Landslides everywhere cos the mountains there are steep.  This was the scene near the nuclear power station…  see all that mud?

This is not a typhoon. It’s the Plum Rainy Season.  Never normally like this.  Tragic.

Fortunately, the rains are expected to stop today, and repairing the damage can begin in earnest.

On Saturday I spent the morning writing a CMS newsletter.  I had decided early last week that Saturday was to be the day, but I had no idea at that point what my theme was going to be.  Events last Friday kinda of decided for me.  Am sending it off today to CMS for processing.  Check back in a few weeks time!

And finally, the reason for going to Keelung was to attend the Pentecost service at Trinity Church.  This is the back wall of the church….

Pentecost greetings to you all!  May the fire, passion and love of the Holy Spirit bring healing, grace and mercy in this dark, broken and suffering world.

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Happy Dragon Boat Festival 2017 @ Taipei!

It was all happening at Dazhi Riverside in Taipei this morning ~ the final day of 3 days of Dragon Boat Competitions!  The sun was out, the weather was warm, and everyone was rowing hard!

In good weather, and with plenty of time, the best way for me to get to Dazhi Riverside from here is by U-bike from Tamsui, and so off I set!  Before 7:00 am too, while the weather was still cooler.  It took maybe 90 minutes of slow riding, enjoying the scenery…

First stop though was the graffiti wall along by the riverside near to the Grand Hotel. The pictures are renewed often, so it’s worth checking out often!  There’s at least 50 works of art there.  These are my favourites….

And then to the dragon boat races, and after 30 minutes there – I sped off along the river in the sunshine, past the end of the Songshan Airport towards Nangang….

And so into Taipei City itself… not much traffic as it’s a holiday.

But trying to find Taipei 101 when you’re down on the streets is really hard!  Ah here it is!

Actually I was trying to find that DNA Double Helix building, the Agora Garden Tower, that I saw down below when I was up in Taipei 101 a few weeks ago (see my blog post here).  And here it is!

Y’know, from Taipei 101 looking down, the Double Helix Building is quite amazing.  But from ground level looking up, it is kinda bizarre. Looks like it’s going to topple over any minute!

While the rest of Taipei was clearly on holiday today, the Double Helix building was full of workers drilling and welding and doing things that builders do….

And next stop was Treasure Hill Artist Village on the other riverside at Gongguan…

By then it was midday, and the clouds were coming in, and starting to drizzle.  Drizzle drizzle, and so off I sped, back to Tamsui.  Got back to Tamsui soon after 2:00 pm.  Then on a packed bus home.  Tonight in Tamsui is the very big parade of the deities from all the temples – taking them all round the town in a huge long procession, while people make offerings and ask the gods for their blessings.  Pray for Tamsui.  It’s the highlight of the year for many people.  Sanzhi’s turn is on Thursday….

Yes, over 7 hours on a U-bike.  Ah, such a great way to travel!  Especially after 2 days of climbing mountains at Yang-Ming Shan.  Now stiff all over!  How on earth do so many people manage to cycle over 900 km all round Taiwan in 9 days?  Amazing.  One day is enough for me for a while!

So Happy Dragon Boat Festival to you all!

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