June 26, 2007

Episode XXVII: The Path Around


Since I have arrived to Kaohsiung city, my home is Tsoying district. There is where I live, hang around, eat, walk etc. Chongde Road is my street. Carefully filled with busy barbeque stands. Fresh fruit juice stalls and small bars and restaurants that I visit very often. I would say I am kind of friends with some of the owners. That is a great feeling.

This place is so familiar to me at the moment that it is really hard to imagine how it is possible. When I went for a trip to Hong Kong in December for a few days, on my way back to Kaohsiung I genuinely felt like returning home. That was a strange sensation but I will not complain. That means I have found my place in Taiwan.

Before I decided to come here I have never been to Asia before. My longest stay away from home was three months and it was in Scotland, which is not that far from Poland. Taiwan was supposed to be a big new challenge and an adventure. It is all came true unexpectedly easier than I thought.

Kaohsiung city has got many attractive places to visit and I live simply in the neighbourhood of one of them. I am talking about the Lotus Pond. There are a few scenic locations in the city. Takao British Consulate, Chaishan also known as a Monkey Mountain, parts of the Love River and without a doubt the Lotus Pond.

It is a perfect place for a relaxed walk. Far from the city centre its rush and noise. Whenever I am in a mood I take my camera and go there to spend some guaranteed jolly time.

The best spot to start is the place with the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. It is exceptionally beautiful at the nighttime. Its warm and soft lights create an atmosphere that strongly requests to be immortalized with photography.

During the daytime I recommend to go upstairs and take a look at the Pond. Refreshing and cool wind can be helpful on a sunny day. But do not stay there for too long. There is much more to see around.

Next stop is a colourful and huge statue of the God of Justice. It stands tall at the end of the platform stuck in the Pond. During Chinese New Year it is all decorated with yellow lanterns, which produce a magnificent view. Visit the turtle's colony and the tank with the big red fish.

Continuing my walk I usually get to the Confucius Temple. In front of it there is a shapely photogenic bridge, the wall and the gate. Many trees have flowers and splendid thick leafs that attract my senses.

On the other side of the Pond there is a choice of interesting places. Wetlands offer an exotic area full of swamps, insects, trees, bushes, little ponds and walking paths. Usual destination for a quick family wanders. The biggest draw is a watching tower that should not be missed.

To end my walk I choose to go to the Clear Water Temple, which is readily recognizable for a massive Buddha sculpture on its roof. That is a fantastic place for a few reasons. From the top I can observe both the Wetlands and the Pond. With and silent company of a Buddha I count the sails of the boats and stare at the gigantic mirror of the Pond's surface.

Carvings, bas-reliefs and statues of the Clear Water Temple belong to my favourite. Maybe because they are plain stone and have a distinct texture and seriousness. Colourful temple lack that feature.

So I walk around. Absorbing the surroundings and analyzing what I see. Trying to adopt and keep a part of it. This is me and my Kaohsiung.

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