A Jealous Girlfriend in Taiwan

My girlfriend has had enough with North Korea.  She is sick of all the photos and blog posts, and I haven’t even told her about the spring 2012 North Korea trip I’m planning.  To get her off my back and to buy a little time I’m going to dedicate this blog post to Taiwan, her native country, and a pretty fantastic place.

Time to give Taiwan a little love!

The ship I have been working on as Chief Mate has been based out of Taiwan for the last two years.  We do visit other countries, but the currents and internal wave fronts of the Luzon Strait are some of the most interesting in the world from a scientific/oceanographic viewpoint, so we keep on returning to this funding rich region to conduct our scientific expeditions and research projects.  The ship normally ports in and out of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s 2nd largest city.

“Kaohsiung is changing!” proclaims the billboard outside the highrise apartment that I had leased for six months this year.  I would often tease my girlfriend by using that phrase, but honestly Kaohsiung has changed – and changed for the better.  Years ago it used to be a forgettable port city, but a lot of effort and investment has gone into revitalizing the waterfront districts in the run up and for the hosting of the 2009 World Games.

You can easily rent a bike from an automatic vending machine and enjoy the large network of paths throughout the harbor district. Excellent public art is to be found at the Pier #2 Art Center.  Further down the harbor front you can relax with a drink or enjoy dinner at the Fisherman’s Wharf while watching cargo ships pass by.

A short ferry ride across the harbor will take you Cijin Island, there you can enjoy fresh seafood and relax at the beach.  In the city you can visit the popular Liuhe Tourist Night Market, but for a better deal and a more local experience get an oyster pancake at the night market tucked several blocks behind Grand Hi-Lai Hotel.  Other city attractions include Monkey Mountain, and the “Little Japan” shopping district located in the alleys by the Central Park MRT station.  If you do happen to pass through Kaohsiung, make sure to stop by and say hi to the girls at the Night Owl Bar – tell them Joseph sent you!

I have mostly focused on Kaohsiung as it’s the place I know the best, but it’s highly worth while to head south and check out the tropical beaches and nightlife located in Kending.  Taiwan is also blessed with an abundance of hot springs (one of my favorite activities), high mountain peaks, and steep gorges for the outdoor enthusiast.

Taiwanese people are generous, friendly, and outgoing –  no matter where you explore you will be welcomed as family!

Chinese Buddhist Festival

Captain Wes Hill dances with the gods in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Checkout my Taiwan photo set on Flickr

As this blog is about North Korea I have decided to keep all of these Taiwan pictures off the main page.

Foguangshan Buddha

Big Buddha at Foguangshan Monastery.

Foguangshan Buddha

Buddha statues  at Foguangshan Monastery.

Taiwan Crab and Tiger

Taiwanese love displays of public art!

Sidewalk Crabs

Taiwanese love displays of public art!

Kaohsiung Dock Art

Some of my favorite art in Kaohsiung is off limits to the public – inside the port many of the cargo warehouses are decorated with ship and harbor inspired murals.

Temple Fire Cool Down

Bai bai – the monthly ceremonial offering  and burning of paper money to the spirits.

Lotus Pond

Relax at a temple at Lotus Lake.

Lotus Pond Girl

My girlfriend Cathy hugs a dragon at Lotus Lake.

1,000 Year Old Egg Girl

Salty “horse pee” eggs for sale at a local street market.

1,000 Year Old Egg Girl

Salty “horse pee” eggs for sale at a local street market.

1,000 Year Old Egg Girl

Salty “horse pee” eggs for sale at a local street market.

I hope all this love for Taiwan goes a long way in buying me some peace with the girlfriend.  Of course I knew I was in trouble when I shared my desire for a return trip and was told that the only reason I wanted to go back is to enjoy more dancing with the singing waitresses of Pyongyang and to idle my time away drinking beer and eating North Korean BBQ – pretty accurate suspicions actually!

After my first North Korea trip I tried to patch things up with my girlfriend by taking her to Thailand for a month – a  suggestion for you men out there – your girlfriend will not consider a photography trip to see the piercing rituals of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival as a romantic getaway!

Face Piercing Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Check out my Phuket Vegetarian Festival pics on Flickr

7 responses

  1. What a lovely place 😀 I love hot springs, too, alrhough I’ve only ever been lucky enough to go in one once. I love how different that part of the world is to here in the UK. The temple on Lotus Lake looks so calm and peaceful! All the art is cool, too. Why is the man in the last picture hooked :<, was it part of the 'piercing rituals of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival'? If so, how scary!

    November 22, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    • Yes, those are the piercings from the Phuket Veterinarian Festival, the idea is that they become possessed by a god and the piercings are a testament and proof of the gods power and existence – I loved the craziness but my girlfriend was into it 😦

      November 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      • your fierce cat

        yes, she doesn’t like the piercing .. In Taiwan, we worship our god in a better way…. lol

        November 23, 2011 at 5:09 am

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Fantastic bio. My kids are also travelers but not so extensively as you have been. I’ll certainly look over some of your other work. Quite a picture of the piercing. That something have not seen before. Best of luck.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:15 am

  3. Taiwan doesn’t get enough love; such an under-rated destionation. 😦

    Love the photos!

    November 23, 2011 at 3:44 am

  4. Pingback: Your Questions About How Do I Stop Being Jealous Of My Girlfriend | Stop Jealousy

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