an hours drive to the south to lukang- the older city where the mainlander chinese came to live back in the 1700’s pushing the native taiwanese into the forests (perhaps a history closer to the united states than i knew earlier). the city was once a harbour and now is a cluster of older houses and streets among a city of apartment buildings, industrial sheds. the older temples are still alive – some exquisite like the longshan temple. a part of the older town is touristy shops and memorabilia. in the evening we lit lanterns and were about to leave when the parade joined us near the parking lot with ladies and their fans, a group of boys dressed as warriors, a stage with the ceo of acer computers and some general dancing.
the taichung festival the next day was a much larger, more commercialized affair. the evening began with a trip to one of the oldest temples in taichung where a taiwanese opera was being performed on the square in front. the big even was though in this enormous garden festooned with lanterns vying for a prize- so many snakes. in the middle of the garden is a huge auditorium where the city had organised performers from around the region with japanese drums, taiwanese rappers and hong kong comedians.