Taipei City Tour一向深受管院外籍生交換生喜愛，今年國際事務室第七年承辦，儼然成為管院重要的迎新傳統之一。事實上，無論帶這群學生走訪哪些景點、參觀哪些建築，其目的無非在於幫助這群剛抵達臺灣的外國人能快速的認識這塊土地，以期未來他們能憑己力去探索臺灣的其他角落。
參觀完龍山寺，一行人轉往華西街探索蛇類料理的秘密。外籍生大膽地嘗試了蛇類的飲品，體驗華西街特殊的飲食文化，接著又前往艋舺電影場景 -- 古山園旅社參訪。古樸的旅社保留著許多臺灣早期的電影海報，外籍生熱情地操著生澀的中文向老闆娘打招呼，老闆娘也以殷勤地回應來歡迎我們的到訪，濃濃的人情味在小小的空間中流動著，短暫的半日遊也在彼此的笑聲中畫下了句點。然而，對於龍山寺的美好印象，將如同廟柱上精緻的雕刻，永恆存在。
（文：會計三 陳芃雅、國企二 陳昱安）
Longshan Temple City Tour: A Walk Through HistoryFrom our view through the tour bus windows, the modern images of NTU seemed to fade into the timeworn surroundings of old Taipei and the Longshan Temple area (龍山寺). A place embedded in historical memory and religious faith, this temple is situated amongst the bustling streets of downtown, a silent sentinel guarding the traditions of the gods against its ever-changing environment.
As we entered the temple, we saw walls adorned with brightly colored lanterns, a reminder of the Lantern Festival that took place just a few days prior. Appetizing smells wafted over from the nearby restaurants to tickle our taste buds. Once in a while, we could smell Chinese incense and herbs refreshing the air. The streets of Wanhua is where the old meets the new, where movement and stillness collides and where the flourishing coexist with the decaying. In the concrete jungle of Taipei, Wanhua seems to speak its own language.
We stopped at Bo-Pi-Liao Historical District (剝皮寮) to admire the short red brick houses and its strangely quiet atmosphere, wondering to ourselves what purpose the place may have served in the fading past. Who knows – its eerie name translates to “skin-removing-shack.” The tour guide explained that the area used to be a major wood processing township, pointing out to the two elaborate looking buildings which used to serve as factories. The name was a reference to the process of tree bark being peeled off the logs that passed through its factories. Finally waving away our fears and doubts, we became eager to capture all of its fading glory on our cameras.
Inside Longshan Temple, the smell of incense drifted between the crowds of worshippers and the sound of mantra-chanting echoed in the background. Generations after generations have walked the floors of Longshan Temple with wishes reserved only for the gods to hear. The tour guide taught the exchange students how to properly hold the incense and led them around for prayers, introducing each god on the way. We soon found ourselves with smiles and imitated the rest of the crowd in quiet reverence. In the people’s hearts, Longshan is beyond a mere temple for religious faith, but a place with the same kind of strength and beauty of a loving mother.
Near the end of our tour, we departed for the nearby Snake Alley (華西街) to test out its famous snake cuisine. Many exchange students had their first taste of snake blood drinks. We then visited Gu Shan Yuan Hotel (古山園旅社), as featured in the popular Taiwanese movie “Monga.” The historical hotel still had a few well preserved old movie posters on display. Greeted enthusiastically in Chinese by the exchange students, the hotel owner greeted us back with equal enthusiasm. Our half day tour came to an end there, with smiles on all of faces and fond memories of Longshan Temple. We hope that these memories will endure just as the elegant carvings on the pillars of Longshan Temple have endured.