Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Love River

1/30/09 Every famous city is associated with a famous river, it seems. When one thinks of Rome, it is the Tiber River; Paris is not Paris without the Seine. Kaohsiung has its river, too--it is the Love River.

The Love River used to be very extremely polluted during the 70s and 80s, with raw sewage and industrial wastewater flowing directly into the river (yiew.) Today it is one of the most successful examples of pollution reversal, with more than a dozen species of fish swimming happily (or they seem so...) in the Love River.
I woke up quite early despite the beer consumption the previous night. For my morning walk, I decided to walk to and along the Love River.
As I obtained the map and checked direction with the front desk, the gentleman was very surprised I would walk it. He advised that the preferred way to travel in Kaohsiung is by motorcycle or scooter. Since I had no access to either and can operate neither, I thanked him and embarked on my journey on foot.

Just a short 10 minutes down the road I came across the Central Park of Kaohsiung. I must say it is of no particular significance to me, since I do see a lot more nice city parks either in Taipei or elsewhere in the world. I later learned that the Park is most beautiful at night and is known as the Light Corridor of Kaohsiung City, since the Park is nicely illuminated at night. I suppose that makes up for during the day.
After walking through the park, I went for another 20 minutes by foot and I arrived at the Love River. It is beautiful ineed, very serene, not too many people walking despite the fact that the paths along the bank is nicely paved. On the other hand there were quite a lot of scooters on the streets --as the hotel staff correctly advised.
I walked along the river and realized there were many people there busy putting some kind of festival together. A closer look revealed that the city and its people are preparing for the upcoming Lantern Festival. It is afterall still the Chinese New Year. The Lantern Festival is the last day of the Chinese New Year, the 15th of the month of January on the Lunar Calendar, and there will be lanterns displayed all the way along the river bank.
While walking, I encountered a middle-aged couple asking for directions from me. I apologetically told them I am not a local, and then during the next 30 seconds of conversation while walking down the road together, we found that we were all "from" California!! What a small world!!

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