Kaohsiung December 08

On the Kaohsiung Harbor Ferry

To see our Kaohsiung pictures, Click Here.

Last weekend we went down to Kaohsiung in the South of Taiwan for a few days. We had an amazing time. This is the second time in a year we have visited Kaohsiung for a vacation and both times were fantastic. The city has really grown and developed over the years. I remember the first time I went to Kaohsiung way back in 99, I couldn't wait to leave. But the city council has really developed the city and we now think its a wonderful place for a short trip outside of Taipei.

Liu He Night Market and the Love River

Liu He Night Market

We started out by going to the Liu He Night Market on the Friday night. The night market is a regular Taiwanese night market with the usual food and delights. We walked around for a bit and tried some of the food on offer. The best snack we tried was the Beijing Roast Duck. It was absolutely amazing. We also saw the Shakespeare book stoor that was on the Chung Shan Road side of the night market.

Xinjiang BBQ

Beijing Duck

Appropriate Name for a Bookstore

Of course no self respecting night market in Taiwan would not have some snake delicacies and this one was no different. There was one vendor offering what I believe was snake soup, but I might be mistaken!

Snake Soup Apparently

After finishing up at the night market we went back to our hotel and walked over to the Love River. We have walked around the river before but this time just decided to enjoy the view. There are some restaurants and pubs next to the river but we never bothered to try. It was late and time to go to bed.

Love River in Kaohsiung

Queenie and the Love River

Chi Jing Dao

Saturday was busy. In the morning we took a taxi to the Guishan Ferry Pier and took the ferry to Chi Ching Island. Of course the ferry allows motorcycles and bicycles to be taken accross the harbor so it was fairly crowded. The pricing structure was also fairly interesting with locals being allowed to travel on the ferry for free.

Ferry to Chi Ching Dao

The island is in the Kaohsiung bay and has been developed as a tourist destination. Right outside the ferry pier are a few bike renting shops. They of course didn't have a bike big enough for me so we rented a two person bike and spent the day cycling around the island.

A Bicycle Made for Two

The funniest/worst incident occured when I tried to go over the edge of the pavement and my seat snapped off. Since it was a two person bike Queenie's handle was attached to my seat and when my seat broke, poor Queenie fell of the bike. She was not too impressed. A bus driver waiting for his tour group came over to help but there wasn't really much he could do. Anyway, the bike shop attendants came over with a new bike for us and we spent the rest of the day being very careful.

On the second bike we rode as far as we could. We got to see the part of the bay where the ships come in and out. For me there were many nostalgic feelings as it felt a little like the bay in my hometown of Durban. The weather was fantastic and riding next to the ocean on a sunny day was a great experience.

Temple on the Road

Wind Park

Queenie on Chi Ching Dao

Coming into port

Sky Fish


We went back to the main tourist town on the island. We had been riding (and occassionally falling off) our bike for three or four hours so we were hungry. Of course the only food on offer was seafood. We chose what seemed to be a fairly decent restaurant with a good selection of food and sat down for a well earned break.

From all the available options, we chose pineapple-shrimps, crumbed fish and oysters. All of it was very delicious and probably, for the most part, the only seafood we ever really eat in Taiwan.


Crumbed Fish


As I said earlier, we don't normally eat seafood, but when I do, strange things happen to me....

The joy of seafood

The other side of the island...

After lunch we got back on our bike and headed towards the other side of the island through what can only be described as the "space invader" tunnel. Some kind of audio signal mechansim had been installed in the tunnel and if people clapped their hands loud enough then strange neon lights would glow and strange sounds reminiscent of the old space invader arcade game would start to play. A very odd thing to have indeed. Once through the tunnel however we had some great views of the ocean, the city and ships coming into the harbour.

Dark Sand on the Beach


Coming into port

Afternoon Tea

We then handed our bikes in at the rental shop and found an outdoor teashop in the small tourist town and watched the crowd go by. Actually, as time passed it seemed the town filled up more and more. It seems we were there in the early morning but the most popular time for going there may be late afternoon/early evening.

Back to Kaohsiung...

We decided to head back to Kaohsiung but this time on an unofficial barge. It must be said the seaworthiness of this barge may have been questionable but they filled up pretty quickly with once again people, cyclists and motorcyclists. The trip back to Kaohsiung was uneventful but the views of the city were also pretty amazing.

Motorcycles on the Barge

Kaohsiung Harbor Ferry

Massages and Walking

We next decided to go for a hair wash. NTD300 for two people for a hair wash and head massage seemed to be a pretty good deal. The massage was relaxing and once finished we were reinvigorated and ready to walk. We headed off through the city, crossed the love river and after about 90-minutes of walking stumbled onto a spa and massage. Queenie had a foot massage, I opted for the full body massage which was absolutely painful. But it is incredible how great I felt after something as painful as that. Anyway, it seemed the massage was good after all the excercise earlier in the day.

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

After our massage we went for a short walk through the town and then jumped into a taxi and went to (what we think is the newly developed) Fisherman's Wharf. Now Fiherman's Wharf really brought back wonderful memories of a great little bar on the mouth of Durban's harbor called Thirsty's. Well, Thirsty's is long gone and Fisherman's Wharf in Kaohsiung had the same feel. We found a nice little restaurant, sat outside and enjoyed some of the live music at the Lounge Bar next door.

In addition to sitting next to the harbour, the enjoyable food and the chessy lounge bar music, the weather was absolutely fantastic. The temperature outdoors was perfect: not too hot, not too cold.

Kids in Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

British Consulate at Tagao

The Name Says it All

On Sunday morning we took a taxi past the Guishan ferry pier to the British Consulate at Tagao. My father would be especially proud of this building as he is an incredibly patriotic Englishman. He would have felt proud to see the Union Jack hanging over a building in Taiwan. The next time he visits I will be sure to bring him here.

Union Jack

The consulate building overlooks the most of Kaohsiung and the restaurant at the back of the consulate has fantasic views of the city. Must be a great place to eat at night with a wonderful night view. We spent some time wondering around the consulate reading some of the historical comments. The one disappoinment on this day was the pollution and smog. It was so bad we couldn't really get a great view of the city. Kaohsiung is notorious for air pollution and one only hopes the local authorities will work to get the air cleaned up. We did take a picture of the city, but sadly the pollution blocked most of the view.

View from the consulate

Cafe on the Edge...

Cafe Business Card

We next took a bus through Chungshan University to the end of the bus route. Once again the views of the ocean and the vegetation were very reminiscent of home. We got to the end of the bus route and walked about half a kilometer down a very steep incline to get to the ocean.

Walking through the trees


At the bottom was a rocky outcrop with a small cafe/restaurant and once again great views of the ocean. We hung around on the rocks for a while watching the fisherman and some folks in the trees behind us doing Taichi (or something similar). What did disappoint here were all the cigarette butts on the ground. It did detract a great deal from the natural beauty of the place. We then went to the cafe for some tea and enjoyed the early afternoon sun.

Taichi on the Sea

The Cape

Ocean View

Going back was a surprise. We decided we didnt have the energy to walk back up the very steep hill to the bus stop. So we called a taxi to take us back to our hotel. The taxi fee back was only NTD180. We were expecting it to be much higher and it did show us that these remote places were not as inaccessible as we thought.

Lotus Lake

Our last stop in Kaohsiung was Lotus Lake. We checked out of the hotel. Dumped our stuff at the storage area in the High-Speed Rail MRT station (Zuo Ying) and hopped into a cab to Lotus Lake. The lake is always beautiful and is surrounded by pagoda's and temples. This was one part of the city that did seem to be taken well care of and there was not much pollution to speak of on the ground. Last year when we visited Lotus Lake the confucian temple had a tea house on the lake. Sadly this tea house has been temporarily closed. We were hoping to enjoy a final cup of tea in Kaohsiung on the lake.

Pagoda's on Lotus Lake


Don't eat me...

The Lake


Girl in Confucian Temple

Sun on the lake

Final Thoughts on Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung is a great city for a weekend outside of Taipei. The air pollution was pretty bad, but not much we can do about that. There are a lot of great tourist spots to visit (we didn't visit them all) and a lot of local Taiwanese culture to enjoy. As always in Taiwan, the local food is incredible, the night markets vibrant and the people are friendly. The addition of the MRT (subway) makes commuting in Kaohsiung that much easier, and with two MRT lines, most places in the city are acessible. The downside is that the weekend was a bit pricy, but if you need the break who cares. It is a great little get away and we will certainly go back in the future.

More pictures Here.


Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your families and we would like to wish you all the best for 2009. May all your hopes and dreams come true.


Motorcycle Safety in Taiwan

As long as I live in Taiwan I will never quite appreciate how parents can carry their kids on motorcycles without helmets etc. Anyway, most times the kids are standing on the motorcycle platform, holding the handlebars, or are being carried by a second adult at the back of the motorcycle. A couple of months ago I was riding my bicycle in the Wenhua district of Taipei and saw the latest in motorcycle saftey for children.

Baby on a motorcylce...

Notice the neck cushion put on the baby's neck backward, this might help with whiplash I guess! Hey, what do I know about motorcycle safety?

10 Years On......

Thank you for a great 10 years....

Ten years on and still in Taiwan!

Today 22 December, 2008 at 12:30 pm is ten years to the minute since I first arrived in Taiwan. Well, there was that one year hiatus in China but the memory of coming to Taiwan is as vivid as ever. Many of the intervening years have been a blur, but those first few days and nights are crystal clear, as if they only happened yesterday. Ten years is a long time to be away from anywhere, but the ten years have been amazing and I wouldn't change much. Anyway, some of the highlights are below:

Family: I met Queenie on 9 September, 1999. We got married in court in Hong Kong on 1 March 2002 and in Church in Taiwan on 13 April 2002. Since I have been in Taiwan my family has also grown. Our nephew Tibet was born in Turkey in March 2000. Our niece Rochelle was born in October 2002, shortly after our wedding. Our other niece Charlene was born in December 2006 and our nephew Dominic was born earlier this year. My mom has also visited us here in Taiwan and China four times and my father came for the first time last year. We are still waiting for my sister. We have also spent a lot of time with Queenie's family over the years and although my family is separated by continents, I remain close to all of them.

Friends: Since coming to Taiwan I have met hundreds of top quality people and become great friends with many of them. Sadly, many of our friends have left Taiwan and now live all over the world. Although we miss them we remain close to them and hope we will always remain close. We have also had the good fortune to visit some of them and enjoyed hanging out with them in their home countries. Although we have many wonderful friends in Taiwan, we still miss those who have left.

Career: Yeah well I started out as an English teacher in Kojen language schools, became a Marcomm editor at Pro Team computers in 2002 (who were swallowed up by Pine group). I then went on to being the senior technical writer at Infortrend, director of the Shenzhen Interactive Language Center (SILC) (which now also doesn't exist), supervisor of the technical writing team at IEI Technology and finally a financial analyst at Purple Labs.

Travelling: Since coming to Taiwan we have had the opportunity to travel to many places in and out of Taiwan. Queenie and I have travelled all over Taiwan, with the exception of a few islands. We have also travelled to South Africa three times, Turkey, Vietnam, Thailand, Bali in Indonesia, Singapore, China, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau and London among others. Travelling together has always been fun and we plan to do a lot more of it.

Education: Every job has been an education in itself. I have also tried to learn Chinese and I am now in the process of completing an MBA through Manchester University.

Tragedies: One of the biggest tragedies I have ever experienced was the massive earthquake on 21 September, 1999 when thousands of people died in Taiwan. It was a devastating shock to the system and something that lives with us forever.

Things still to do: Have children, improve my Chinese, travel to Korea and Japan and to continue having a blast.

To my beloved Queenie, thank you for the past nine years I have known you and to all of you who have my 10 years in Taiwan an incredible and unbelievable experience, thank you. It would have been a far worse time without you. That's it for now. Hopefully over the next few days, weeks and months I will have the time to share some of our memories with you.

So thats it then, here's looking at the next 10!


Koh Samui, 2002

Here is a picture of us on the Island of Koh Samuii, Thailand in 2002. We spent a week there with Simon and Helen, our friends from New Zealand. The picture was taken at the Golden Temple on the south side of the island. We spent a wonderful time on the beach, snorkelling, kayaking on motorcycles and driving around the island. In fact it was our honeymoon. We had to delay our honeymoon six months because of work issues.

Koh Samui, 2002 (From General Pictures)

By the way I have no idea why I am not smiling! Queenie looks happy though.


Durban, a long time ago....

I found this shot we took back in 1999 on our first trip back to Durban, South Africa together. We were having breakfast at the Deck on North Beach with my neighbour's child Vicky. Vicky took the picture. We were getting ready to go to Waterworld (which is now closed). It was a great day!

Boo Hoo....(From General Pictures)

We still like going to the Deck when we go back (but I don't even know if it is still there).

Rafting in Hualien 2000

We love rafting. We have done it a few times here in Taiwan. Its always fun. I found this picture of the first time we went rafting in Hualien sometime in 2000. From the left we have me (Paul), Queenie is behind me and behind her (who you cannot see) is Luigi. Next to me is Richard, behind him Amanda, Christophe and the coolest guy on the river that day, Mr. Fish.

Rafting in Hualien (From General Pictures)

Actually rafting in Hualien is great. The river is not that intense so you can have a lot of fun on the raft. Of course this means there are dead spots with weak currents where we have to row a lot, but we also get to have water fights with the other boats. If you can make it down there, you should.


Beauty and the Beast....

You decide who is who......

Great memories from Santosa Island, Singapore 2001. Queenie also had the monkey on her shoulder but requested we don't show the world....

What's that on my shoulder?

No really, what is it?

Ah, its my best mate....(From General Pictures)

Actually we didn't like Santosa Island that much, but the Monkey was cool.


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