Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Leaving the mountain...

Feb 7: Jeff left early in the morning to go into town and watch the first part of the foosball superbowl via free wi-fi in a hotel lobby, we packed up our things and picked him up in town at around 8:30am.

On our way down the mountain, we stopped by at a place that has fire and water coming out of the side of the hill at the same spot... it was really neat. It had vendors around it selling stinky tofu, candies, toys and tons of other foods, so we got to taste some things there... my parents acutally tried the stinky tofu!!! I declined, since the smell just about gagged me, and I didn't want to throw up in public if I actually put some of it in my mouth. Mom got some really yummy cooked pumpkin, dad got some sausages, and I got honey :).

Our next stop was to the temple/shrine/pagoda area where Jeff's grandparents' ashes are. When we arrived Mr Tsai, Jeff and my dad went to go buy special money to give to your relatives in the afterlife. You are supposed to burn the 'money' in the furnaces there and then your ancestors get that money to spend in the after life... not sure what they are supposed to buy with that money, or as Jeff called it 'Buddha bucks,' but that's what everyone does and has done for generations... its a pretty good income for the monks that sell the 'money' though. I didn't take many pictures, as I felt a bit strange doing so in that environment. I also was not supposed to take photos inside the pagoda where the urns were, so I respected that. After getting the 'money' Mr. Tsai, Jeff, Mrs. Tsai and I all stood in front of the pagoda with incense, and Mr. Tsai said some greetings in Mandarin telling the grandparents that we were visiting and had brought them money. We then went inside the pagoda, to see where their urns were. They had purchased very prestigious locations for their urns, being able to 'look' out of the doors and of the view of the mountain side. As Jeff called it 'First class, aisle seating' ... geesh, this guy cracks jokes at ALL times. I didn't think it was appropriate, but his parents chuckled, which was a good sign :)

After 'worshiping' the grandparents, we took the 'monies' to the furnaces and built up quite a fire to toss the 'money' on. Jeff was actually enjoying this part quite a lot. Even Chase got in on it, and threw some of the packs of 'money' into the flames. The experience was interesting over all, but I was mainly saddened that I was not able to spend more time with Jeff's wonderful grandparents.
(Taking the money to the furnace)
(Creating the fire to burn the money, so it would 'cross over' to Jeff's grandparents)
(Paper money ready to go in the furnace)
(Close up of the burning)

(Mr. Tsai standing in front of the pagoda)

No comments: