June 6, 2010

So, here I am late again. Better late, than never.

Cliff got back from China yesterday. We decided to stay in Kao-hsiung for the night. From what we chatted about, it seems like, that overall, he had an okay time. Perhaps had he had a VISA permit that would have allowed him multiple entry into China, it may have been a better time.

Apparently, the area where he was studying, is about a 5 minute walk across the border to Macao! Imagine… looking out your window, seeing the lights of the casinos at night, and know that you are not allowed to go there! Whether you gamble or not, just the fact that so close, and yet so far away. Well, now he’s back on home soil.

We were thinking about going out, but it was kind of miserable out last night. Rainy, wet, not really a walker’s paradise. Also, my shoulder, back, and hand are still bugging me. Not that that was the stopper, but all things considered, it was probably better to just stay in for the night. So, we decided to try the hotel’s buffet dinner.

Now, I will admit that a buffet is probably not the best meal to choose. However, for the mere fact that you can satisfy almost any craving, and eat as much as you like, well, there just isn’t a better way to have a meal. Sure, it’s nice to have someone serve you, and wait on you, and make sure your drinks are filled, but hell, to me, buffet is really the way to go.

I have discovered a few places in Taiwan that actually have food that I enjoy! Sure, for the seafood lover in you, Taiwan is incredible when it comes to buffets. Seafood everywhere! Me, I’m a roast beef kinda guy. Give me mashed potatoes, roast beef, veggies and a salad, and I’m happy. Throw in all you can drink beer, and hey, the price is right! Granted, you have to pour your own beer, and make your own salad, but that’s the joy. Everyone has it their way!

After, well, a night of puttering on the computer and a bit of T.V.

This morning, I was up at the crack of dawn again, although you really couldn’t tell. We stayed at the Splendor Kao-hsiung Hotel. It occupies the upper levels of Kao-hsiung’s tallest building. Our room was on the 60th floor, and had a decent view of Kao-hsiung – if only you could see it! Since I wasn’t at home, I had to take a few pictures in the morning for my ‘View From The Roof’ folder on Facebook.

These two pictures, of course, were taken at night. They were taken, as with all my pictures, using my iPhone. Also, they considering we were on the 60th floor, the pictures are shot through the window. I’ve tried to clean up the photos a bit. The next couple of pictures, were taken around 6:30 the next morning.

The rest of the day, we just sort of puttered around Kao-hsiung for a while. We took the MRT to the site of the 2009 World Games. I must say, it was sort of a let-down for me. I had heard about the World Games being held here last year. I so wanted to come out and see the site. However, as with any huge event like this, the costs would have been incredible. Better to wait until the dust settles, and see the area later on.

Okay, so this was an opportunity to do just that. Once we arrived, it had turned into a somewhat scorcher of a day. The few days previous, it had rained and was not as warm as Taiwan usually is at this time of year. So, stupidly, I had a long-sleeved shirt, and jeans. Had I just been my normal self, I would have worn shorts and a T-shirt! Oh well.

The site itself is a lot smaller than I had imagined. I was expecting to see a park or area, much like the Olympic Park/Stadium in Montreal, Quebec. What I found was more like a baseball park! Sure, the architecture of the building was very interesting. And as with most sites built for a specific purpose in Taiwan, it is now lying dormant!

I wonder what the problem is. Too many times I’ve been around this island nation, and seen buildings and landscapes and amusement parks, all sitting dormant and defunct. It seems that when these venues are first built, there is a surge of the populace to see it, to experience it. After a while, people lose interest or something. Beautiful water fountains built in parks, that are no longer operational. Amusement parks that have long since been closed and boarded up. Bowling alleys that are no longer being used. Parks that are nothing more than vacant pieces of land with a couple of trees and buildings.

There is an area south of Tainan that Cliff and I have had dinner a couple of times. It’s situated on what appears to be a man-made lake. There are several buildings and a lot of parking area. This would be an incredible weekend venue if only the buildings were occupied, paddle boats for rent, things to do… but no. It sits quiet now. On the weekends, the restaurant opens for the few that wish to travel a half hour for a nice dinner on the lake. Sure, there are people milling about, but it’s not being utilized.

A few years ago, I decided to see another amusement park north of Tainan, near Cigu. Okay, it may not be THAT near Cigu, but it is on the way. I followed all the brown signs to this place. When I got there, the area has been boarded up. Nothing remains any longer, except for a large vacant lot. The number of water parks I’ve visited where the rides are all but gone!

I was told that Lady Gaga was going to stop and play at this former site of the 2009 World Games. What an incredible arena! However, since her other shows in Asia had been cancelled, she cancelled this one as well. I wonder why they don’t use it for the site of the baseball team? Or why not open it up to other concerts? There are enough singers and entertainers in Taiwan, I’m sure that if the stadium could be ‘rented’ at a reasonable price, it could actually pay for itself. However, since the citizens of this country have already ‘paid’ for the site, there is no need to use it any longer!

Below are some of the pictures I took in and around the site.

500 m sounds better than 1/2 km!


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