Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Journey South

I did it! In celebration of 8 wonderful years of indentured servitude marriage, I got off my ass and took a trip to Tainan and Kaohsiung with The Taskmaster my lovely wife.

We hit Tainan first, arriving Sunday afternoon. Rented a motorcycle and headed over to the Anping fort area. If you ever visit this area, please try and keep it in your addled Gen-X head that the fort was not called Fort Zooropa. It was Fort Zeelandia, and it is a standing reminder to would-be colonialists that your badass fortress will last longer in a siege if it has its own fresh water source.

That night, it was my dumbass idea to have dinner at The Armory. Food was fine, but the service was remarkably bad. Think of Taichung's Frog Pub circa 1994, but worse.

Next day was Kaohsiung, a city mainly notable for its hideous heat. Heat made worse by my dumbass idea to walk from our hotel to the Love River. Hell, it seemed like a good idea- anniversary vacation, some river named 'Love'... surely a romantic stroll was called for? No. What was called for was a romantic ride in an air-conditioned taxi to the Love River, where we could then get out and have romantic strolls until one of us got pregnant. But impending heat stroke notwithstanding, I was excited to finally reach the Love Canal because....

After spending over a third of my life in the Glorious Orient, I finally saw my first Dragon Boat race. It was definitely more exciting than your average baseball game. While I'm no expert on boat stuff, I thought that the short, choppy strokes the teams used looked awfully inefficient. I was thinking that a smaller team with longer paddles would be faster. Maybe the paddle length is set by the race rules or something. Or maybe I don't understand Chinese culture.

Highlight of the trip was returning to Taichung on the HSR. Now, Michael Turton has at various times made certain criticisms of the HSR, including: excessive expensivisity, inefficiency, boondogglery, and I-don't-care-how-well-it-works-in-Japanery. I have previously refuted Turton's arguments thus:

Nah uh.
Is not.
High speed trains are sweet, and by sweet, I mean totally awesome.
You're a filthy communist.

Now, however, I must admit that the location of the Taichung HSR station does make it an attractive transportation option mainly for a certain kind of person. Namely, the trendy and hip elite like myself who have the good fortune to live in the flourishing South District of the city. Michael Turton lives in a part of Taichung County that is commonly referred to as [pigu cao aiji], and I'd guess it takes him longer to get from his house to the HSR station than it does for the high speed train to get from Taichung to Kaohsiung. So maybe the HSR does only benefit the privileged. But if I get to be a member of the benefit-receiving class, then I see nothing at all wrong with that.


Spencer said...

8 this day and age, I'd say that's quite an accomplishment.

Karl said...

Thanks. I have absolutely no idea how we did it, and frankly the whole thing a mystery. Maybe the weekly beatings are the key.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a rough crowd! Funnily enough, I'm doing the same trip with my gf for our 1-year anniversary in a couple weekends. I've taken special note of the "Love River" in midday as well as the Armory.
Anything that you heard of that you think might be worth checking out? Wonder if they have teahouses or like galleries* or something...



*it's for her, man. I'd rather go paintballing.

Karl said...

No, I don't have any real recommendations other than to avoid that huge-ass mall in Kaohsiung.