Ron and I returned to Tainan last weekend to visit my Dad (my Mom went back to the States last week). Both of my parents are very familiar with the city because they graduated from the architecture department of National Cheng Kung University (國立成功大學). In fact, my father earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees there — or, as he put it, Tainan City is where he grew up from a teenager to a handsome young man (this was in response to my asking him “So, Tainan made you old?”). It is where my parents met and started dating, so I guess I have the city to thank for my existence. It also has the world’s coolest, bloodthirsty Man-Eating Trees!
Well, more like the Building-Eating Trees at the Anping Tree House (安平樹屋). Trees that have complicated, sometimes violent relationships with humans are a trope in fantasy, horror, science fiction and mythology, so my inner geek was thrilled to meet the Whomping Willows’ Taiwanese cousins: the banyan trees that took over a former warehouse of Tait & Co (for more information, please see these entries by Wandering Taiwan and Tainan City Guide). One of the things I learned on my visit is that banyan tree roots secrete a liquid that can dissolve limestone, making them ideal to bury bodies under (just kidding!).
It’s creepily beautiful in there. The tangled roots climbing up crumbling brick walls look a little like lace. It would be a great place for a horror film shoot. I wonder if the roots and branches bleed when they are cut. Hmm…
There were little berries growing all over the branches and the ground and signs were splattered with them. I kept hearing that line from “Mrs. Doubtfire” echo through my head: “It was a drive-by fruiting!”
Click here for a map and the Anping Tree House’s address in Chinese. Check out more photos in my Flickr set.