By the end of our very lengthy bus ride, we had the good sense to find an MRT station and find our way home. We hopped on the train and were chit-chatting along the ride, when I think we both realized we still weren't quite ready to call it a day yet - after all, we had just taken an hour and a half rest sitting on a bus... so we decided that we should take advantage of the MRT we were already on and get off at one of the more scenic/touristy stops, Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. Jason had never seen it, and I hadn't been there in a few years, so it was a perfect spot to stroll and observe a little bit before heading back home (saving the full tour for another day, simply because the grounds are quite large - there is plenty to see!)
|North gate entrance to Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall|
Memorial Hall in the distance beyond
|Jason, sporting a Fuzzy's Taco Shop Tee|
Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall beyond
|Notice the sea of navy blue & white clothing...|
Now picture us in the middle of it...!
It wasn't until we reached the top of the stairs, looking back towards the North gate, that we could fully grasp the magnitude of the crowd. Yes, we had been standing somewhere just in the middle there... It turns out, we had stumbled upon a celebration of buddha's birthday & mother's day! Wow. [This was Sakyamuni Buddha's 2,633rd birthday, by the way].
When we reached the top of the stairs, the crowd had taken their places and began to sing in unison, using pink lotus flowers as a prop with small sways, bows, and gestures throughout the songs. Politicians, diplomats, and buddhists filled the grounds and we just stood there in awe watching as the sun set in the distance.
This ceremony was amazing to have stumbled upon! Here is a video from the event... but it could never match the experience of being there in person. It was a beautiful and serene ceremony, and what a way to end a weekend.