Tuesday, March 17, 2009

To the South...(I)

(picture: Tuntex Sky Tower and the City of Kaohsiung, taken from the room window at Han-Hsien International Hotel)

1/29/09 Ever since coming back to Taiwan this time, I haven't left the City of Taipei. Today marked the first time I'll be visiting another city since my return. Destination: Kaohsiung, the 2nd largest city in Taipei, and one of the largest port cities of Taiwan. When Friend B suggested that we take an overnight mini vacation in Kaohsiung, I happy obliged.

If Taipei were like New York, then Kaohsiung would be like Los Angeles, so to speak. Taipei is built up, squishy, sophisticated, slightly harsh and rushed. Kaohsiung on the other hand is sprawling, spread out, relaxed, slower in pace, and leisurely. Even people's tastes and taste buds are different--Taipei folks like solid colors and savory food; whereas Kaohsiung folks like splashy outfits and sweetened dishes. Of course this is generalization, but there's some truth to these stereotypical impressions that come to mind every time one speaks of these two cities.

Friend B and I took off half way through the afternoon. We were going to drive there; but decided to take the High Speed Railway instead. The HSR was completed just a few years ago, and it's really fantastic. We arrived in Kaohsiung mid-afternoon and checked into the hotel.

Perhaps due to lingering jetlag or time difference, perhaps due to the heat of Southern Taiwan, I felt quite tired upon arrival and took a nap as soon as we got to the hotel. The nap turned out to be four hours long. By the time I woke up, it was already getting dark outside. Looking out the window, I got my first impression of Kaohsiung--the beautiful skyline and the hustle bustle of the port city.

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