Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You scream, I scream, we all scream for... garbage anyone?

The pictures below were taken on Monday in a beautifully landscaped park in a more northern part of the city. We had heard about a soup and sandwich restaurant that also sells western style bread and cheeses and decided to check it out.

I use the term “western style” to refer to breads that do not have the typical sweet taste that you will find in Taiwanese bakeries. A little research (on Amanda’s part) has suggested that for the most part the Taiwanese prefer their meals to be a little sweeter (and less salty) than what it common in the west and by contrast, for desserts, the Taiwanese find ours a little too sweet for their liking. The restaurant was really great, with very comforting sandwiches, milkshakes, and other treats we rarely see here in Taiwan.

We are slowly getting to explore more and more different areas of the city. Today we changed accommodations yet again. Hooray!!! We will be in our new digs (the Sanduo Hotel) for a whole two weeks! We’re very happy about this arrangement for a variety of reasons.
1. It is the nicest and concurrently the cheapest place we have yet stayed at.
2. Two whole weeks without having to move!!
3. We were very very very tired of the last place!

I think I mentioned in a previous post that there was construction going on outside of our window at the hostel we were most recently staying at up until today.

Let me be clear that when I say “there was construction going on outside the window”, I do not mean to say “there was construction across the street”. Attached is a picture that illustrates just how close the construction really was.

Every morning, but for one, out of the last seven mornings, we have been woken up by the sound of a jackhammer being operated within 20 meters of our heads.

The one morning that we were spared was because there were heavy rains that day. Heavy rains that revealed a leak in the bedroom ceiling, resulting in water dripping onto the bed, just as though a bulls-eye had been drawn on my pillow taunting the water to come hither.

The construction and the rain were unfortunate additions to what was otherwise a pleasant stay. The area we were staying in was in the Hamasen community that is right by the ocean and by Sun Yat-sen University. This community also comprises what was “downtown” Kaohsiung during Japanese rule that began in 1895 and ended in 1945. It is an older community with a large student population and lower income families. There is a great deal of character and there are a lot of interesting sites to visit that Amanda and I have yet to check off the list, hence I’m sure we will be back there soon!

The area we have just moved to is further inland, much more modern, urban and developed. We are looking forward to exploring the area over the next couple weeks.

I’ve been asked about the layout of Kaohsiung and thought I would post a map (see below) that shows Kaohsiung along with the population densities of the relative communities. We are presently staying in the area highlighted as having 20,000 inhabitants/SqKm, which is approximately twice the population density of New York City.

Something I haven’t yet blogged about is how very shortly after arriving in Kaohsiung we heard what we thought were ice cream vans rather persistently cruising around and even well into the late evening. We soon learnt that what we were hearing were in fact the local garbage trucks that drive around while playing a standard and very recognizable jingle. Local shop owners are able to hear their approach from a ways away and bring out the garbage to help keep the entire operation running smoothly. Quite ingenious really. I wonder if the hopes of any tourists have been dashed whereby they actually tried to chase down the mystery ice cream van only to come across the garbage truck. Quite the disappointment for anyone who has made that mistake, I’m sure.

The construction "right outside our window".
Leaky roof. I have a feeling of Deja Vu!

The former Kaohsiung County. In December 2010 the county merged with Kaohsiung City to form a single municipality.
(Reproduced with permission from

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