Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kenny and Annemarie Come to Taiwan: Episode I - Kaohsiung

… Not that long ago in a city not that far away, our good friends Kenny and Annemarie came to visit us in Taiwan, first landing in Kaohsiung. Amanda and I met K&A at Kaohsiung Airport and therewith our “Island-Style” adventure began. 

We started with three days in our favorite city, showing K&A all the things we love so much about Kaohsiung, and why it has become a home away from home for us. 

On the way to our hostel from the airport, we stopped at Formosa Boulevard MRT stations’ “Dome of Light”, recently voted the second most beautiful subway station in the world (although there are differing opinions and rankings on this most controversial of matters). After a short photo shoot, we headed on to the Tuntex Skytower (85大樓 Ba Wu Da Lou) where we had made a reservation at the restaurant on the 77F so that we could celebrate Kenny’s fortieth birthday. 

Dinner was really nice, albeit a fairly “deep-end dive” into Taiwanese cuisine. We all had a set meal that included a number of small courses such as abalone, ducks foot, langoustines, sharks fin soup, steamed grouper and then for dessert, a sweet soup with fresh fruit and pastries. Kenny was the only person in the right frame of mind to eat the ducks foot, and when it came to clearing that course from the table, our waitress was very concerned (borderline distraught) that we had not eaten our ducks feet. We assured her that everything was great and that our stomachs weren’t used to such food. For ethical reasons, we opted out of the shark’s fin soup course and we were presented with additional langoustines to make up for the difference. Although, after the fact, a Taiwanese friend of ours assured us that it would have been shark’s fin “style” soup and that serving real shark’s fin is now illegal in Taiwan. 

The following day, we took K&A to the Lotus Pond, then met up with our good friend, Stanley, who took us to one of our favorite spots, a cafe on the ocean-side of Cháishān 柴山. There, we had some iced tea, coffee and biscuits, and enjoyed watching the sun slowly descend as a multitude of large container and freight ships came and went into/out of Kaohsiung harbor. By this point, we were “well-basted” from the +30C temperature and the +90% humidity, and so, we retired to our hostel to freshen-up before again heading out to be taken to a “very Chinese hot-pot restaurant”, as described by Stanley. This turned out to mean that it was spicy enough to burn a hole through a NASA space shuttle’s reinforced carbon-carbon heat shield. It was a delicious meal, albeit, Amanda and I elected to “temper” our spices with the addition of some dairy-based broth intended to lessen the effect. 

On our last day in Kaohsiung, we visited the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, the Love River, Lao Song Beef Noodles Restaurant (one of our favorites), Yuánhēng Temple, went for shaved ice, and finished the day at Central Park at a small live outdoor concert put on by a local band. After the concert, as if we hadn’t eaten enough that day already, we then had some delicious snacks and sake at a Japanese BBQ restaurant in Central Park. Quite bloated and ready to burst, we then said our farewells to Stanley and Vicky and retired for the evening, ready to start our Penghu adventure the next day with our train ride to Taipei (to be penned by Amanda).

Kenny, Annemarie & Amanda at Formosa Boulevard's Dome of Light
The Lotus Pond
Annemarie & Amanda at the Lotus Pond
The Spring Pavilion at the Lotus Pond
Amanda, Annemarie & Kenny
Lotus Pond Temple
Cold drinks at a cafe on Chaishan
View of the ocean
Vicky & Stanley at the spicy Chinese hot-pot restaurant
Kenny, Brett & Amanda
Kenny can read good and do other things good, too!
Yuánhēng Temple
Yuánhēng Temple interior
Shaved ice with Stanley (angry Stanley)
Japanese BBQ Farewell meal

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