Showing posts with label waterfall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waterfall. Show all posts

22 August 2012

dfw summer exploring: japanese gardens and a hidden waterfall in fort worth

metroplexing  it all begins with a blog you find. with a photo of a waterfall that you don’t believe really exists in fort worth.

so you do what you do best – you write an email. to your freshman roommate, and you simply send a link with the message, “we are going here. but you name the date. love you!”

you really treasure friends where you never have to ask because you know the answer ahead of time: yes.

tjgarden08 and here she is! with her husband. who is also always up for whatever random activity you think of.

tjgarden01 however, there is some sad news. they are moving to west virginia. it’s only sad because you’re a selfish person and you rather your friends stay near you. after all, who else will you drag to go find random waterfalls or swimming holes?

tjgarden03  there is also another bit of sad news. they’ve never been to the fort worth japanese gardens. and they’re about to move miles away without having ever seen them?

tjgarden07  fortunately that is very fixable. so before the waterfalls, it’s a visit to the gardens.

tjgarden15who could imagine that in an area full of construction and highways and gravel and posts and fences…

tjgarden16  there could be a wooden wall? a wall that costs $4.50 to cross, but a $4.50 well spent.

tjgarden02 because once you cross that wall, you’re in japan.

tjgarden09  seven and a half acres of it right next to downtown fort worth.

tjgarden04 one thing never changes with any of your friends: you turn them into models anytime you note a good background.

tjgarden05 but you do warn them to not fall in, however shallow these ponds might be.

tjgarden10 here in the gardens breaks are necessary. one should never rush a visit to a garden.

tjgarden11what might they be looking at?

tjgarden12 koi fish! hundreds of hungry koi fish.

tjgarden13  they break up the mirrored tree reflections on the surface of the water.

tjgarden14  then a good portion of time is spent critiquing the fish. colors, patterns, fins, swimming speed, size – no one is an expert here, but you can’t help but just discuss these moving watercolor paintings.

tjgarden17 after the gardens,  you all duck into a begonia greenhouse.

tjgarden18    a map of the world is found, and you give them the task of finding benin. it doesn’t take long, your friends are smart cookies.

tjgarden19    a house is found, and you try to convince them to drop their plans for west virginia and just live forever in the botanical gardens. unfortunately, it’s a tad too small for them.

then… off to the waterfalls! the excitement builds. the suspense builds. you can’t wait to go swimming and enjoy rushing water.

tjgarden20 except. except. except.

the waterfall is dried up because it is summer. dfw does not get enough rain to sustain a summer waterfall. it instead is a seasonal waterfall.

metroplexing    a refresher: this is what you were expecting.

tjgarden21 and this is what you got.

a trickle is all that remains from the cooler seasons. that’s it.

the disappointment doesn’t last long, as laughter and jokes replace any feelings of letdown. if anything, the story of the hidden trickle will make you all laugh for a long time. many years, that’s for sure.

and according to google, west virginia has plenty of waterfalls just waiting for you to find. you’re going to give your freshman roomie and her husband some exploring homework once they move.

17 October 2011

a wish into the sky

taiwan052-petit a saturday in taiwan. peace. quiet. nature. an escape from the city.

or so you thought.

taiwan053-petitbecause the entire city of taipei had the same idea too. all 2.6 million of them.

here is a tip for any future travelers in taiwan: on weekends, explore the city. on weekdays, explore the daytrip areas. because the taiwanese love escaping taipei just as much as you.

taiwan054-petitregardless, it didn’t detract from your day.

taiwan055-petityou’re on the hunt for another waterfall.

bigger. better. but no secret.

taiwan056-petit on the way you encounter a dragonfly.

taiwan057-petithe doesn’t flinch as you inch closer.

taiwan059-petitremember your umbrellas.

taiwan060-petitthen you arrive.

but it isn’t what you expected.

it might be large, it might be famous, but it is also illegal to go swimming in.

like the other one, but this time, it’s enforced.

so you make your photo and leave to go make wishes.

taiwan061-petitin the city of pingxi, it is known for a place where one can write wishes on a paper lantern to release in the sky.

and the wishes will come true.

however – what is tough is to find a place that will let you also make your own lantern. it is much more meaningful than just buying the lantern premade.

and happily, you stumble into the perfect shop.

taiwan062-petitgluing. bending. discussing. the lantern is coming together.

taiwan064-petitthen the wish writing happens.

taiwan068-petityour friend dares to carry both a phone and a bottle of ink in the same hand. you tell her, “nobody is that lucky” and takes her phone away as she proceeds to write her first ever chinese characters.

taiwan070-petitthen its your turn to make a wish.

taiwan071-petitthe happy wishers.

note the faded light pink lantern hanging in the shop. it comes into play.

taiwan072-petitthe lantern expert then brings out ten sheets of lucky paper soaked in oil.

taiwan073-petithe lights it on fire.

the three of you let go.

and watch as the latern becomes smaller and smaller.

but wait.

this is all too familiar.

this shop.

the lantern expert.

the lantern expert’s son.

you think you’ve perhaps already been here in this same spot in 2008.

ping04you go into the 2008 folder on your computer and search out a specific folder. and yes – indeed – though now faded in the happy wishers photo, 3 years ago the lantern hanging from the shop was a deep pink.

ping01you were here years ago with a different group of wishers.

december 2008 – 9 wishers

august 2011 – 3 wishers

other than that, not much has changed.

ping05the confirmation is in the lantern expert’s hands.

he is still wearing the same watch. on the same wrist.

2008. 2011.

your photography style has changed.

but those hands, unmistakably, are still the same. the same movement.

ping02you find your wish from 2008. to be accepted into the F.T.A.P.

the french teaching assistantship program.

ping03the wish was released 3 years ago, exactly like the wish you just now released in 2011.

and that wish came true.

you did get accepted.

you did go to france.

in fact, you got more than you wished for.

and now, you’re back full circle for another wish.

although you don’t claim to predict the future, you know this wish will come true as well.

taiwan076-petitthen, back to 2011, you spend the last moments with your favorite londoner doing your favorite activity: writing postcards to all your favorites.

whatever happens in the future – you know you’ll find yourself full circle again with your friend – and you’ll both continue the friendship where it last left off: tea, exploring, and of course, letters.

breaking rules

taiwan051-petita magpie. a taiwanese one, that is. google images can provide a better image, but this is the one you saw with your own eyes.

taiwan020-petitto be seeing birds, that can only mean one thing: you’ve escaped the city.

taiwan047-petitescaping taipei is no difficult task. you hope on a bus in any direction. and 40 minutes later, you hear nothing but the sounds of nature.


the daytrip today involved a natural hot spring.

taiwan is famous for it hot springs.

taiwan044-petitbut you must be careful. the cities of beitou or wulai are renowned for them. but they are also clean hotels and resorts with pools with the sulfurous water pumped in. two reasons – the hot spring water is too hot to just dip in at the source, and, of course, money. those places are not free.

but. today there exists the internet. and after searching for “natural hot spring taipei” you find one. a potential one, in yangmingshan mountain.

taiwan024-petita short hike is required.

and if you’re lucky, you just might run into the unofficial guardian of the hot springs who will lead you directly there. if not, just follow the path.

taiwan027-petitsome rule-breaking is also required as it is, ahem, illegal to go here.

taiwan025-petitsome treacherous bridge crossing will need to be done. 

taiwan028-petityou must also prepare yourself for poisonous snakes.

the best strategy is to stay on the trail. if you leave the trail, you are game for some snake dinner.

taiwan050-petitthere is water. but this is not your destination. and why are the rocks orange, you ask?

taiwan021-petitdo not forget your umbrella. you may laugh at asian tourists, but your skin won’t once you feel the heaviness of the humid heat pressing down on you.

taiwan031-petitsome crossing-of-river-by-small-pebbles is also required.

don’t worry. you’re almost there.

taiwan030-petithere you are.

hot 100F/42C hot spring water on the left meet right in the middle with cold freshwater on the right means this is where you can change into your swimsuit and take a dip.

taiwan033-petitand that is exactly what you do.

this place is actually no secret. illegal yes, but more than well-known.

evidence would be the clock hung up, the many sandbags used to form pools, and the foam pads to sit on if the rocks are too hot.

taiwan034-petitsome shade provides relief against the sun. in france you embrace the sun, in taiwan you avoid it.

taiwan036-petityou sit – drink water – and when it becomes too hot to bear, you get up.

taiwan037-petitthen you follow the stream of cold water.

taiwan040-petitright for a cold shoulder massage under a waterfall.

but then you’re cold.

taiwan035-petitso you hop back into a hot spring pool. and repeat.

for the entire afternoon.

but around five pm, when the sun is weaker – suddenly the place changes.

taiwan046-petitthe tourists arrive. what was a secluded afternoon turns into a circus.

taiwan045-petit so then you decide to leave your little paradise.

you and your friend agree that sometimes it is worth breaking rules because you will only miss out on life if you choose to always follow them.