1/30/09 After getting back to the hotel, friend B already woke up. We went down to the hotel restaurant to the inclusive breakfast buffet. I was expecting nothing spectacular, and to my amazement, the hotel cafe was not just a cafe. It was the banquet room of the hotel converted into the breakfast buffet room. The buffet was in grand style also. There were at least 10 different food stations. Anything that one can think of--Chinese style breakfast items, Japanese and Korean style breakfast items, Western style breakfast items, coffee of different kinds, tea of different kinds, salad bar, pastry shop, and the list goes on. We ended up having this completely luxurious meal in this atrium banquet hall. That's Kaohsiung right there, everything is uh, bigger and better!! It would make my brother-in-law Jim, a son of Kaohsiung, very proud!!
After the breakfast, we checked out of the hotel. I quite liked the stay and would definitely recommend the hotel to anyone visting Kaohsiung. Upon checking out, Friend B got in touch with her friend Sophie, who moved with her family from Taipei to Kaohsiung some years ago. Sophie said she would come and get us, and spend some time with us. We didn't purchase the return leg of High Speed Railway ticket in advance, but we thought the trip would be but a few hours. How wrong we were. Little did we know we were about to go on THE day trip of Kaohsiung.
Sophie, her boyfriend P and his daughter Z arrived in this very nice SUV. That's another thing--one hardly sees an SUV in Taipei; the roads are narrower, and the cars are smaller. However, in the South of Taiwan, it seems every other car is an SUV. After happy exchanges of greetings, we hopped into the SUV and off we started the tour around Kaohsiung.
The first stop of the tour was the Fisherman's Wharf. Kaohsiung is a port city. In fact the Port of Kaohsiung is the largest port in Taiwan and to date the Port is still one of the largest in East Asia. Along the harbour there's the Fisherman's Wharf, which is a long strip of nice waterfront cafes. We took pictures and walked about. Here I saw some bicycles (which I don't yet know how to ride...) for public use. This is a new thing here in Taiwan but Taiwan boasts one of the world's highest density of cyclists, and it seems everyone on the island rides a bicycle. More and more there are free bicycles all around the island especially at major scenic spots available for public use. I have never seen it before and am glad to see such good ideas taking off in Taiwan.