Monday, September 28, 2015

Marooned In Kaohsiung...

Our taxi ride from Zuoying to Daren Road in downtown Kaohsiung was rather smooth but the weather was really bad. It was pouring like I had never seen before, and at 5.30 PM when we checked in into our hotel, it was as dark as 9 PM. Even Mumbai in the Monsoons isn't this bad. 
And it had to be this bad, afterall Typhoon Dujuan is believed to be one of the strongest typhoons of this year. 
This is a living proof that climate change is real, we are thrusting a crisis upon us. The intensity and frequency of these tropical storms is increasing with each passing year, and this is indeed scary.  

Aboriginal Taiwanese artwork in the hotel lobby...

Located in southern-western Taiwan and facing the Taiwan Straits, Kaohsiung is Taiwan's second largest city. The city is the major economic center of southern Taiwan and is home to the headquarters of the Taiwanese Navy.
When immigrants from the Mainland came in, during the 16-17th centuries, the region was known as Takau. It is believed the name Takau originates from the aboriginal Siraya language and means "bamboo forest". 
In 1624, Taiwan became a Dutch colony, after the Dutch East Indies Company was ejected from Penghu by Ming forces. Takau which was already an important fishing port, was made a trading hub by the Dutch. They renamed the place as Tankoya, and called the harbour Tancoia. In 1684, the Qing Dynasty retook Takau from the Dutch. Then it was the turn of the British. In 1860 the Treaty of Peking forced the Qing administration to open up the ports of Takao, An-Ping (Tainan), Tamsui (New Taipei) and Keelung to foreign trade. As part of the deal, the British established a consulate here. When the Nationalist government was established in Taiwan, Takau was renamed "Kaohsiung".
We had planned to view the sunset from the hillock that is home to the former British Consulate, followed by a visit to the legendary Liuhe Night Market, but this weather just wasn't conducive.
The winds were howling and it was raining cats and dogs. We decided to stay holed up in our hotel.
Watching news on television in our room we realised that Taiwan had shut down all air traffic. All flights headed to Taiwan were redirected to Hong Kong. Our hearts sank. How will we fly back home to Incheon tomorrow?
But then, the weather forecasts uplifted our spirits. Dujuan should cross Taiwan tonight. 
With nothing to do, we decided to head downstairs and enjoy some food...

The food here was no match for what we had at Din Tai Fung in Taipei, but this was the best we could manage tonight...

After the meal, we retired to our room, praying for a brighter morning and hoping to salvage whatever was left of our trip to Kaohsiung...

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