Monday, June 14, 2010

Kaohsiung, Day 2(a)

christina's of danyall's trip 011 After a pleasant breakfast at our hotel, where they humored me by bringing me peanut butter to replace the eggs, we headed out to see Lotus Lake, which seemed to be one of the must-sees in Kaohsiung.

We took the subway to the northern part of the city, and then, because it was already hot and we had all-day passes for all the public transport, decided to take a bus to the lake instead of walking.  We weren’t sure how far it was from the subway but knew it would take a little while to get there.

The bus turned out to be less simple than we’d imagined.  First of all, I didn’t know how to say Lotus Lake in Chinese, but we asked people which side of the street we should stand on to get to the “big, famous lake” and they directed us there.  The bus driver made us get off at a bus depot that wasn’t near a lake, and we wound up walking around quite a bit but then found the lake.

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It was pretty, but as we walked around the lake, we found that nothing was matching up with the map.  There were even maps posted near the lake that matched up with nothing on our maps of Lotus Lake.  Except sometimes something would seem like it could match up.  (If you’re already a step ahead of me here, bear in mind that it was really really hot out.)

christina's of danyall's trip 018 Danyall decided the only way to figure out where we were was to ask a local.  Unfortunately our maps were only in English, so we could only use words.  She asked an old man what the thing behind us was called.  I translated his answer:  “It’s a temple.”  Not so helpful. 

After circumnavigating the lake, we stopped for a rest in some shade and I looked at our city map.  I started to get a bad feeling as I looked at it.  There was a “Lion Lake” in the northeast part of the city.  I went to look at the sign at the gate- sure enough, it said “Lion Lake” in Chinese.

We started to walk but I said if we saw a taxi I’d gladly pay for it.  I was a little through with lakes in general at that point.  christina's of danyall's trip 061 Happily we found an off-duty taxi who took pity on us and $200NT later, we were at a hotel near the actual Lotus Lake to have lunch.

Even the short walk from the hotel to Lotus Lake was crazy.  There was a concierge who spoke English and he told us how to go, but we got to point where the only way we could get to the lake was by diaganolly crossing 5 lanes of traffic and a set of railroad tracks with some overhead construction.  We went back and asked the concierge if there was another way to go, because that seemed kinda dangerous.  “No, it’s extremely safe!” he said.  So we gathered our courage and forged on.

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Proof that we actually made it!  The lake itself was pleasant but not particularly nicer than the lion lake we’d left.  There were a lot of temples along it which is nice if you like temples.  We didn’t spend an over-long amount of time there.

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After that, we trekked back to the MRT stop (no busses this time!) and went back to our hotel.  Danyall rested in the room while I went to the beach.  In retrospect I wish we’d have spend more time at the beach- it was really beautiful and the water was quite warm.  There were huge ships going in and out of the harbor too.

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This picture pretty much sums up the Taiwan beach scene.  4 families’ worth of little kids, some in bathing suits and some in soaking wet tighty whities.  All watched over by one Vietnamese worker while the moms sit back under shade umbrellas somewhere. 

I did see some kids going pretty far into the ocean, even letting the waves go over their head.  Usually Taiwanese people are afraid of ghosts in the water so I thought that was really cool.  Then their mom came over and started talking to them in English and it turns out their dad is a Westerner.  I chatted with that family a while and we wound up seeing them a couple of more times during our trip.christina's of danyall's trip 097

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Watched the sun set, not too shabby.  Then we showered and prepared ourselves for a night on the town.  But that’s a whole other post.

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