Because I'm having trouble finding the energy, focus, and supporting photographs to write about anything too broad, here's another entry with lots of pictures and minimal text. Your favorite! Also, as I'll finally be placed in a school with a local English teacher in less than 48 hours, I'll hold off on any commentary on the school-picking teacher-interviewing process until it's completely finished.
Last weekend, my Kaohsiung Fulbright ETA group chose to spend our afternoon on/around Kaohsiung's 愛河. Just a 20 minute (public) bus ride down 五福路 from where we live, 愛河 is a river that used to be full of pollution and a source of awful smells for locals. But since Kaohsiung has put forth serious efforts in the past decade or so to clean things up and change its focus from industry to tourism, the 愛河 is actually a pleasant and beautiful place to pass an afternoon.
After getting off the bus, we cooled off and relaxed in one of the many small park areas (with walking and bike paths) that line the river.
Let me just say that I love all of the trees and plants here. Maybe this kind of stuff grows in the American south, but I've certainly never lived around it. Also, the stray dogs in this picture are awesome. Try not to see them as strays, more like communal pets.
We then took a 25 minute boat ride around the main parts of the Love River. Our only mistake was that we should have waited to do this at night.
After walking around and finding dinner at a delightful Spanish-Italian-Japanese-Taiwanese-Bolivian-Cuban-American restaurant downtown, we walked back to the Love River to find that it's really, really pretty at night.
Now you see why we should have waited on that boat ride, huh?
Finally, we ended the evening at a pseudo ex-pat bar called Green Bay next to the river. As the night was wrapping up, we heard some loud sounds outside and ran to see what it was. We found an amazing fireworks display being shot off a barge in the river. When we asked the people around us what it was for, they had no idea. One woman said, "So that we can see them!"
I tried to record some of the fireworks with my camera; it looked especially cool because it was reflecting off a skyscraper nearby.
Video note: My friend Rebekah didn't know I was recording, so when I said "Fireworks on the Love River," she's the one who spontaneously sang what we now call the "Love River Theme."
The night did not end there; we decided to walk the mile or two back home down 五福路, and stopped at a night market on the way. Some of us bought some hilarious and cheap clothing, while others ate something fried and delicious from dozens of different vendors. At night it is a balmy 82 degrees here in Kaohsiung, so long walks are especially nice.
Well that's all I have for now... I hope you've all enjoyed yet another glimpse of my life here. So far I've received a request to post about the food here. Anything else?