Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the city of: Gaoxiong! (Day 2)

Today was the day to see Love River! <3 Love River used to be very dirty and unappealing, but it's now cleaned up and a fun place to take a cruise on. Too bad we went on the one day they don't do cruises. Is it really romantic? Maybe... ;)

I love you! (You all know who you are! ;) )

We kept on walking till we got to Rosary Cathedral, a famous Catholic church in the city. It's always nice to be inside one.

There was an Asian type shrine to Mary. Meaning, it had a small pond and koi. It was beautiful and interesting. Wish the gate was unlocked so I could've gone in.
This is inside the church:

Then, more walking, BUT we got a shaved ice for our efforts! It's the best dessert in Taiwan. We got Mango-strawberry flavor.


Next we got to QiJin Island by a short ferry ride. Lots of people drove their scooters onto the bottom deck of the boat to take to this long and narrow island. QiJin actually shields Gaoxiong from some bad weather. We hadn't planned on going there actually so we didn't see all the sights on the island--but we did go to the beach! The weather was nice- not too hot, not too cold, and the sand was black!

This temple is over 300 years old- dedicated to Mazu, the sea goddess.

Since Gaoxiong is fishing town, we simply had to get ourselves a seafood dinner. So we had prawns, and fish! It was excellent! I practically ate the whole dish of prawns!

Then we checked out the Liu He nightmarket. There were a lot of tourists from Mainland China and some people had put up signs and pictures saying how communism is evil. That was interesting! The nightmarket was nice. Nothing compared to Taipei's though. ;) There was a place where you could eat snake (yuck!), and an Egyptian stall where I learned to say hello in Egyptian arabic. Also, there was a very popular papaya milk stand that was endorsed by the current president. So we tried some! ;) It was a great day!

Going Around Taiwan (West Coast)

the city of: Gaoxiong! 高雄 (Day 1)

Gaoxiong is the second largest city in Taiwan and its harbor is the country's largest international port. It's on Taiwan's southern coast and has many interesting places to visit such as 爱和 (Love River), 蓮池潭(Lotus Pond), and  旗津 (QiJin Island). Gaoxiong actually used to be not so great but I've been told it's been cleaned up nicely, at least in my opinion it was a very good city to stay in. (However, nothing compares to Taipei!)

First we took the high speed rail to ZuoYing Station and from there we took the MRT (subway) to Gaoxiong. Checked into the hotel...blablabla

One place I had to see was the Museum of Fine Arts. I called them myself and asked what was on Chinese! I was so proud of myself! :) However, I didn't understand what she said when she told me the artist. "Pei Gan" in pinyin. Turns out it was Francis Bacon.

I had heard of him before but didn't really know anything about him. To tell the truth, I thought it would be boring. I was so wrong! This guy lived 1909 to 1992. He was an Englishman who happened to be gay and also like crossdressing. The exhibit showed some of his sketches and I thought they were very interesting and revealing to his inner psychological conflicts and maybe frustrations. Most of the sketches were naked men (some were graphic) but the faces were all very hard to make out. Some looked like they might be screaming, some were on crucifixes. To me, as an artist and a psych major it was all super interesting!

Lotus Pond (104 acres of water) is special because it features a lot of colorful statues and pavilions. We didn't go all around the lake to see everything, but we still saw a lot.

When we arrived a couple had a colorful amazon parrot under some trees in the courtyard. I got to shake its hand and as soon as it grabbed onto me it crawled up to my shoulder all over my back. I was so shocked! The lady said it liked me. That felt really awesome, because I was thinking seriously about getting a parrot before I decided to get our rabbits.

First we checked out the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. You can walk inside a dragon's and tiger's mouths to get inside and up the stairs. To me it was a little tacky but it was still a cool experience. I've never seen anything like it. A zig-zag bridge leads to the pagodas and at the entrace is a mystical turtle creature with ancient money on it. We heard a tour guide say that if you touch the money it will bring you good luck.

There was a Japanese tour group visiting as well and I had the audacity to say "konichiwa" to the tour guide. Then I realized- the tour guide is of course Taiwanese. Why am I speaking Japanese to him?! Another area had a statue of a Boddhisava and in a little enclosure were turtles... and a rat! You could buy feed to drop down to the turtles. Across from these statues was a temple. We didn't go inside because there would be plenty to visit in Tainan.


After visiting the Lotus Pond it was starting to get dark so we decided to go to Eslite bookstore and then catch a movie. Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp! It was interesting! I thought it was just trying to be a stupid spin off of Twilight but it was actually better than it looked! Depp had great acting as always and, although a lot of the jokes missed, I was still glued to the screen the whole time.