Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kaohsiung Part 1

When my friend Danyall was here, we left Xiao LiuQiu to spend a couple of days in Kaohsiung (crazy old-school spelling- it's more like Gaoshung I think), the 2nd-biggest city in Taiwan. I'd only ever passed through there on my way somewhere else but from the subway or the windows of a bus, it looked like a great place to visit. We got rooms at a nice hotel right next to the beach.
Our first day there was rather inauspicious. We wound up taking a taxi from the port to our hotel- somewhat at my insistence, as I didn't want to walk far through the heat- it was actually a van with a few other people. We got dropped off at our hotel just fine, then went to get our bags, which we'd left at the train station.
One of the things I thought was so cool about Kaohsiung is that is has a bike-share program- swap a card, ride a bike, then return it to a number of conveniently located spots around the
city. There was a bike station right near our hotel and we decided to ride to the subway station to save time.
Yeah. You see how Danyall is hot and frazzled? That's cause we got to the subway stop, which had 2 exits, and circled the station a few times without seeing the bike dock place, asked a few people where it was, finally found it at the other side of a speedy 4-lane road from the subway... I think this would be a convenient thing if you lived there and had a card to use (if you do, it's free for the first 30 minutes) but since we had to use credit cards to pay like $1 for the first 30 minutes, even bike nerd me was willing to walk for the rest of our time in that city.
The subway was pretty easy to negotiate, and we got our bags, and I was hungry but I knew the train station had a Starbucks and figured a quick sandwich would be great. Except the Starbucks had closed since I was there 2 months ago. On the way back to the subway we did find a MosBurger with a very friendly worker so that cheered us up, or at least held back my low-blood-sugar anger. Did I mention it was really hot in the south of Taiwan? Like, really, really hot.
There are only 2 lines of the subway and we did have to switch lines. This was not a problem on the way to the train station. Somehow on the way back I led us in the wrong direction and we fought our way through crowds of people and even walked the suitcase up a flight of stairs to realize that we needed to be back where we came from. This is me, banging my head against the wall when I came to that realization.
We were, however, rewarded with this sign, advertising help for blind passengers:

OK, maybe our blood sugar wasn't totally stabilized because we found that hilarious. I also got to eavesdrop on some other passengers talking about us in Chinese: "Look at those foreigners! They're so tall!" "Yes, but it's because they're wearing high heels." "The one is, but the other one isn't. And even without the high heels, they'd be very tall." (This was funnier because the word for high heels in Chinese is actually tall shoes, and because of something that happened the next day.)
We made our way back to the hotel and decided that since we are old, 8 pm wasn't too early to stay in, enjoy an adult beverage each (purchased from 7-11, cause we're classy like that) and get ready for a fun day on Thursday. And this was the view from our window:


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you would laugh at blink people.

Taiwan-Teacher said...

Sorry if it came across that way- it was the sign that was funny, because of course the person who it's intended to help couldn't read it.