Saturday, March 31, 2007


Within walking distance of the school, there is Tin Hau Temple--another temple devoted to the Goddess of the Sea (I suppose an island depending mainly on the fishing industry figured they couldn't have enough of those)--which I saw today for the first time.

It is rather large, almost as if bits and pieces have been added over time--a pavilion here, a walkway there, a statue somewhere there. It is actually pretty disorganized and slightly shabby. The smoky, mysterious atmosphere that I have seen in the other temples is nowhere in sight. The statues and colors are, in fact, rather garish.

And I loved it. I had no expectations of this place, it wasn't in any of my guidebooks or lists. But there was an intangible charm to it that is hard to describe. The unplanned design, the bright colors, the new cartoon-styled statues next to ancient stone carvings gave the whole temple an unpretentious air. It made you feel not in awe, but welcomed. It felt like people had loved it and still did.

Adding to its appeal, was this longevity bridge. According to the plaque, crossing the bridge adds three days to your life. It was a very well-worn bridge.

My camera was running out of batteries, so I didn't take as many pictures of it as I wanted. I'm going to have to go back. I've been searching on this trip for inspiration for a new book and I think I may have just found the perfect setting. The colors, the bridge--it's as if they were waiting for me to place them in a book. I can feel images wanting to be painted. Maybe the reason I crossed the ocean was to see this place, answering the call of the Goddess of the Sea.