Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kaohsiung (Gowshung)

The wind was so strong that I couldn't just take a normal picture because my hair was out of control. so I just worked the camera instead. You can see I also have a little coconut as a refreshment. mmm. Okay, it actually wasn't that good, but it was better than nothing.

This is the stadium they built. Super rad.

They have random stuff set up everywhere for the games. I am not sure what this means, but I particularly love the lips floating in midair.

This little girl is Ariel. We asked her if she spoke english and she definitely did. She talked to us for awhile and after she left her parents were beaming with pride. They were hugging her and talking to her. Most parents force their kids to talk to us- some are too scared. I think they probably think I am going to bite them.

I love trains. They are smooth and comfortable. And of course, they have rad squat toilets also.
This is a view over the ocean and the peninsula is where our friend goes to school. so lucky.

This was at the temple, which overlooked the ocean. But, they have them everywhere. Every neighborhood has a god that protects them...so, there is one in every neighborhood. There is a fire in the middle and people throw in fake money. I wish it was real because it would be funnier.
These are some of the teachers- minus the kid on the top left who was the random guy we met from Idaho.You can see how the shrine is just in the middle of everything.

Here is my special tree on the hike. Really, I just saw it twice, but i did think it was cool.

Here is one of the views from the hike. Every view was SO incredible.



So windy. I was a little afraid of falling off the cliff. I didn't so don't worry.

I will limit my posting of funny sign pictures, but this one is too funny. what the heck? It didn't make any sense to where it was.

ahhhh. so pretty.

This was the super awesome firework show. It looked like a mini Nile river in Cairo.

Here is me and my little Sunny. You can click on the picture and see how wet we were from walking home. haha.

What a dream. Sunny and I left on Friday night and found our way to the train station for the first time. I love figuring out how to do something where no one speaks your language and people are constantly staring at you- seriously. I have now made four children cry. Either the kids LOVE you or they are scared to death of you. So we found the right train and went to Changua where five other teachers live. We got some super delicious food and then woke up the next morning at 6 am. Awesome. We went to the train station again and took a train to Kaohsiung, where the world games are going on right now! Our friend Julia goes to college down there and came with us to show us around. We met athletes from all over the world- acrobatic gymnasts from Great Britain, Dragon Boaters from Ukraine who tried to get us to drink with them (they were super loud and funny), artistic rollerskaters from Germany (seriously), tug-of-war team from Switzerland, and some people from France, Canada, Scotland, etc. We went to the new stadium there built for the games that is all solar powered. There was supposed to be a typhoon coming in and the wind was crazy. Suprisingly, this was great because it meant somewhat cooler weather. (Don't think that we all still didn't sweat a ton).

We then went to lunch at this taiwanese place and met up with Julia's friend Charles who was hilarious. He was our little tour guide the whole day. He took us to this beautiful temple up on a hill overlooking the ocean. There was also this building built by the english next to the temple. so pretty. His school is on a penninsula that goes into the ocean- the views on all sides of the hill were breathtaking. While we were up there, this guy yelled out Americans and we stopped and talked to him. Seriously, this world is so small. He just happened to be from Idaho, mormon, and 23. random. He is studying chinese for a couple of months in southern taiwan...he stays with this cute taiwanese family every weekend. The mom, Candy, thought Charles was our tour guide so she asked if he would mind if they joined. haha. I told her no, but they could still come of course. So we left at 6 that morning with 7 people and ended up with 12. After this we went to his school where part of the games were going on. We walked through this tunnel that went to another part of the city. We walked to the bay and got on a ferry that took us to another island. The other island was SO SO pretty. There was a huge street market, the oldest temple in the city...for the goddess of mothers.

As we were walking down the street, this asian guy yelled out to us- poor sunny- he looks asian so everyone asumes he speaks chinese. Some of the Ukranians were there and wanted him to come translate (ukr to eng to chi??). So we went over and they just shouted the whole time, laughing. Some 50 year old just put his arm around me and laughed- had I not decided to abstain from alcohol, I think they would have been happy to get me drunk. Then it started to POUR. Every one ran underneath the awnings and waited it out for 5 minutes. The wind was soo strong- I got knocked over an embarassing amt of times. We walked down to the ocean which had black sand and I ran straight into the water. I sure love the ocean. The waves were crazy because of the wind. I kept asking Charles if we were going to die from a typhoon and he would just tell me no and he would protect me. haha. Important to note that at this point I had 8 or so blisters including one blood blister in between my toes. o gosh. We hiked up this hill that was so incredibly green and beautiful. There was this old fortress that the Japanese bombed and tons of trees and beautiful stone paths. On the way out, the sun just happened to be setting over the ocean. I miss ocean sunsets- they are incredible. Charles finally let us take a break and watch the sunset. He made us leave and we walked through town and onto the ferry. We ate a delicious dinner and I got to go to the bathroom in the greatest bathroom ever. Almost all bathrooms in taiwan have only squaters- super awesome. It was this squater toilet in dirt with this old wood door that didn't shut. Candy held it for me and I washed my hands in this random sink that was sitting in the dirt and a little bar of soap. All of this experience will help me in the future when I have to camp and there are no bathrooms. Sorry, maybe that is too much information, but it's true.

After dinner we went to the train station- on the way we saw this old man using a violin string thingy to play a SAW. seriously. It was so cool. Then we caught this woman trying to take pictures of us with her cellphone. We asked her if she wanted to be in the pictures- haha. Next, we went to Love river where there were incredible fireworks. SO pretty. It was a perfect ending to the day. Oh yea, I can't forget that I got ice cream too and a massage, all in one night. Not bad, eh? We didn't get back to our friends apt. till 3 am, which was super fun. not. But, it was worth it. Sunny and I kept saying how perfect it was...and then we had to walk to the train station on sunday (after I wandered through the city, by myself to find the church), which we know appropriately call, the 'hell' walk (excuse the language). It was 40 minutes of boiling sun and sweat dripping down us. When we finally cooled down, we were so happy. And then, we got off the train at home and 5 minutes later it was pouring down rain. haha. I laughed so much. We were waiting out the rain under a big tree and then I had enough and we just walked home in it. Sunny wrapped a poncho around my backpack to protect my camera and harry potter. I love asia.


1 comment:

Lindsey said...

Love the photos and everything! But what I really wanted to tell you was that there is apparently a radical Islamist militia group that has taken over much of southern Somalia called "Shabab"- wasn't that the name of our nonprofit?? At least part of the name?! hahahahaha