Continuing from Taipei Day 4, we had headed down to the Ping Xi Railway around Evening Time. The local train from the Rui Fang station took us around the area, and in total we spent about 1 hour on board.
After what seemed like forever, the train FINALLY arrived at Ping Xi. There were shoals after shoals of people, young and old. They were all getting off at the same station as us: I guess all of us had the same idea for the weekend.
It was a long human train at the Railway Station. I could not even see up ahead, since many people were blocking the way. We jostled and fought our way through, trying to get to the lantern shop. Here, they sell lanterns of different varieties, and of various prices. Take your pick!! We chose a Multi Coloured one that cost around 200 NT, and they gave us a stand to hang the papery lantern, some paint brushes and that was it. We could begin painting it.
Far away, many lanterns were already being released. The very rail that the train uses is also used for this special lantern activity. It was a sight to behold, with many families all releasing their own creations in the sky. It was beautiful.
We wrote all our beliefs and dreams on that lantern. Everyone around us was doing the same, except with more Chinese Words. We each wrote on the side of the lanterns… Soon it gave in to LARGE big words and drawings. We drew 5 of us on the lantern. The ink kept seeping down from the paper since it was so runny, but it made us more creative. We were rushed for time, so we didn’t take too long for each side. Most of us wrote for a Better World. For more people to believe in God, for peace and acceptance of ourselves, and for my vegan friend, a chance for her to wish that people would eat more compassionate kind of food. We allowed everything. Amanda drew a lot of hearts and rainbows on it too.
We also wrote the names of our group that didn’t go for the trip. We wanted to show them that we still remembered them, even though we were not with them. We drew them too, and their names on the Lantern. We were so proud of it, and we took snapshots of all the sides of the lantern. After we were done, a kind elderly lady ushered us to the Railway. Someone was there to help us take pictures holding sides of the lantern, and slowly he lit up a flame. The whole lantern was lit up like a fire ball in the sky, and we watched it glow in the evening. The sun had already set, and we counted: 3, 2, 1!!! And lifted the whole thing into the air. Soar!!! There it went. We saw it slowly reduce to a small flame in the sky, joining others and circling upwards… It looked Magical, and hopeful. It was like we were releasing them in hope that someday, our dreams would come true.
We celebrated the event with the purchase of this cold and sweet ice cream we happened to come across there. It is a speciality of Jiu Fen and these areas: A Cold Ice Cream wrapped in Peanut. The lady had shaved some Peanut off the grid, and she expertly placed some on the wrap. It reminded me of those Poh Piah wraps that we eat it. They then placed 2 wads of ice cream on top, and wrapped the whole thing into a juicy bite. In the cool weather, this was close to perfection. So look out for this sweet cold treat.
It represented hope, happiness and joy. I’d like to think everyone else at the Railway felt the same way. We were all hopeful for a better world someday. Let’s hope that it surfaces.