Day 4: Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Monday, 16 April 2018 – Day 4: Kaohsiung, Taiwan (22.6273° N, 120.3014° E)

Whoosh…I love fast trains. Really fast trains…amazing technology and seamless efficient affordable travel from city-center to city-center. They might be on to something here…

They run at daily operating speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph)!

Ci-en Pagoda at Sun Moon Lake.

The night market last evening…

The wonders of Taroko Gorge…

Over the last two days I have seen: SLO Folks looking lost, Team Tuna drinking adult beverages, Sonoma County Strong plotting and planning, and Leo & the Crab indulging…it seems all good.

SLO Folks, not being slow.

I’ll try not to use any of those tired-ass travel clichés to describe Taipei as “the hidden gem stone in Asia”, I’ll leave that for the newspaper travel sections!—but, along with the other seven million residents in this city, a few of my favorite things to do here in Taiwan are eat, eat, and then eat some more! Did I mention the food!? 24/7 day or night, the time is always right for a few bites of what the Taiwanese call xiao chi—small eats. There’s Cantonese dim sum, hot pot, fresh seafood, congee, Shanghai noodles, sea eel rice, Beijing dumplings, sushi, snake, curls of pig intestine topped with sprigs of cilantro, chopped garlic and chili sauce…scrumdiddlyumtious one and all! Nuff said. It is one of those special eating Mecca’s of the world for travelers who subscribe to the culinary gods—and we do!
Seafood riches…and a line for braised pork rice…she does one thing very very well says the line.
Noodle dishes come in all shapes and sizes…

Taipei is a vibrant, busy city. Locals have a name for this seductive street bustle they live amidst, it is called renao. It is their urban beat, the city’s siren song of the artificial…and all too real. And it really comes out at night…high heels, business suits, neon signs, restaurants, coffee shops, the color red is ubiquitious, shopping, movement to and fro…

This event has many aspects…trusting strangers in strange lands; sight-doing (authentic, challenging and participatory scavenges)…but it also is all about Global Grazing. Face it, this event allows for a lot of things, but lingering in one place watching rice grow is not one of them. (Although that was a meditative scavenge once in the hills of Ubud on Bali a few years ago.) Using the culinary metaphor, this is a dinner of several tasty, light and oh so memorable appetizers—versus just having one main course and knowing immediately that you made the wrong choice and it is just not going to hit your sweet spot darn…you can’t return a vacation can you! Nope, this is Global Grazing…a little San Francisco, a little China, and so far a little Asia…what’s the next hors d’oeuvre coming our way?

Observation funny of the day: I was perusing a  glossy travel magazine in the lobby of the lux hotel we are staying in earlier this morning–my daily fix of travel porn really. I came across an ad for an exclusive all-inclusive island resort that will go nameless because they haven’t paid me to plug it…they charge $4,000 a night (in a country whose per capita GDP is half that–which is another obscenity really, but I regress)…it read:  “…you literally can be on that island, with the whole place to yourself, and have 400 staff taking care of you.” Just imagining myself there, alone for a second, and fending off the 400 staff members constantly asking me, “Is there anything you desire, sir?” Fun times I am sure; a circle of hell for me.

Okay…going to meet the teams for the 8:30PM Day Two check-in and let them know where we are headed to next…should be exciting! Stay tuned.