March 18, 2007

Episode XIX: Break the Water


A Chinese New Year vacation is a perfect time to do the things we usually don't have time for. In my example it is visiting the city during the daytime. I like to take photos so that's the reason why I prefer the bright aura.

This time I decided to explore Yancheng district a bit more than I did before. It's a southwest part of the Kaohsiung city. There's a viewing deck just at the harbour, from where I was observing huge ships when they enter the port - my favourite scene.
Everybody knows that during Chinese New Year people feel like going somewhere. Most of the nature spots and places of tourist interest are quite packed than. That doesn't help sightseeing but at least I can watch the people, which became my hobby here. Simply watching how they act, how they approach each other, how they gesticulate or speak.

I came to Yancheng district by Cisan Road, which at that moment was very crowded. Cars were hardly moving. Only scooter riders could go through the forest of obstacles. I passed the big gate and arrived to the harbour. Streets of Kaohsiung were busy and also port's restrain was intensive.
What I like about the Fisherman's Wharf area is that from most of the places there I can take a photo and 85-storey building will fit in my lens. A bit silly but makes me happy.

Going Gushan Road to its end I arrived to another fine spot. A little further west from Cisan Road there's a yacht pier. Not very big but considering that sailing isn't popular here, there was enough boats. The best thing about that location is that's a wonderful point for observing ferries going to Cijin and back. Big white double-deck ferry and few smaller green and blue ones. It's a joy to see those crafts while they make their moves to overtake each other within a limited space.

Then I carried in direction of Sun Yatsen University. On the right-hand-side there is a Former British Council of Takao - superb position for capturing some splendid shots of a harbour. It is placed pretty high, which gives a desired perspective. In a view there are two long-drawn breakwaters that look like embracing the ships coming in. Like two warm arms inviting the sailors to have a rest in Kaohsiung city.

I also went for a walk on ridge of a breakwater. Although I suppose it is banned many people fancy doing it. Most of them are fisherman who I admire because of their patience and balanced moves. Their fishing-rods are placed to the ground with metal holders. That looks like the rods are floating in the air.

I could hear the hum of the sea, waves knocking on the breakwater sides and water drops flying around. Frankly speaking it was a very pleasant feeling.

I recommend you to visit that spot if you are a bit tired with traffic, noise and hurry of the city centre. At least for one hour or so you can avoid that. That reason is good enough.

March 07, 2007

Episode XVIII: Alley of Excellence


I have arrived to Asia half year ago and that is my first time on this fantastic continent. Loads of things surprised me and some still do. I was expecting some of them but there is no chance to really guess what is going to meet you. So far, my stay is absolutely smashing and full of marvelous experiences, adventures and feelings.
Thing I would never predict, most probably because my lack of knowledge, is that I will have two occasions to welcome New Year. First one was, as usual for me, within the last day of December 2006. But here in Taiwan Chinese lunar calendar is in use. That calendar has got rules, quite difficult for me to understand. What is important, living in Kaohsiung I can celebrate New Year twice! For the second time, in a third week of February 2007.

When this special time is coming, there is one place in Kaohsiung city that visitor should not miss or forget to look in. This place is Sanfongzon Street, located in the neighbourhood of a train station, direction west.
It is the oldest shopping area in a whole city, situated between two other streets. It is 400 meters long, narrow, covered with glass roof and hanging lanterns, really stuffed and filled with stalls and shops. You can say: what is so special about it? Most of night markets are places like that.

That is not correct. Sanfongzon Street is bustling busy only two weeks a year, just at the time of Chinese New Year. Another thing is that selling goods are strictly connected with a celebration of this annual event.

The biggest difference between Sanfongzon and regular night market is a lack of numerous and various stalls with fresh barbequed, fried, steamed, boiled or any other kind of snacks. You do not go there to have a meal. You buy things to bring home or find some ingredients for your own recipe.
For example you can find large sacks full of dried mushrooms, high quality oolong tea or imported products from Korea or Japan. If interested in local cuisine, things compulsory to try are: sticky rice cake with sweet red beans, colourful jellies in white sugar powder or all kinds of dried seafood, meat or fruits.
Sanfongzon is a popular place and crowds are invading the venue from early hours. Visit to Sanfongzon could turn to a really tasty adventure. Taiwanese custom is to treat the guests with the best goods. Walking from one shop to another we will fill our stomachs quickly. Without spending any money we can try lots of unique specialties. While purchasing, to bargain is accepted.
I was astonished with the number of young people working at Sanfongzon market. It is great to see all those rising folks being so diligent and engaged. Big bravo goes to them. Good job.Time has come to send you my New Year's wishes. Here it comes: Gon-Si-Fa-Cay Hon-Ba-Na-Lay! Take care and keep on rocking!