Five Go To Cijin Island
Donny invited us out for another one of his delightful tours - this time to Cijin Island. We are so lucky to have met him, and I am sure we’ve seen far more of Kaohsiung under his guidance. But hang on a minute, the title of today's blog says Five Go To Cijin Island. Who are the other two?
We hopped on our bikes, and Donny took us back to see the Whale in Love in daylight. This statue is an impressive creation of rubbish and must have been a mammoth feat to build.
We carried on through the Gushan District with some quirky things to see and arrived near The Pier-2 Art Center where Donny took us to a secret café.
On the wall was a blown-up old photo of a family where a disgraced member had been removed, I wonder what they had done. We’d never have known there was a café inside and very nice it was too.
Next destination was to catch a ferry but before that a quick stop off for one of Taiwan’s dessert specialities - Tsua Bing. This is a mound of shaved ice with fruit and beans on top. Sometimes the ice is mixed with condensed milk, but we had the healthier option. The basic café was popular, and customers had added their names to every centimetre of wall space around the shop.
We topped up our easycard to pay for our short ferry ride to Cijin Island and climbed on deck. Tim noticed a couple of caucasian guys arrive and chatted to them. George is from England, and Jens is Norwegian, both studying Chinese in Taipei.
The two young lads have both lived in China, George leaving last December just in time before lockdown, returning to the UK, then arriving in Taiwan just before the country stopped any more people entering. He must have similar luck to us!
George shared that his parents had recently moved and kept asking him if he wanted certain items. It made us laugh as we remember doing that to our sons when we were selling our house. The young men were a delight to chat with and we hope to catch up with them in Taipei soon.
Just before we got off the ferry, Donny suggested that they came along with us on our tour. I did notice a hesitation, but Donny quickly informed them of the itinerary and led the way.
He first took us up a steep slope to the Kaohsiung Lighthouse where we got a fabulous view of the island, contrasting to the bling of the mainland.
After our photo opportunities, Donny took us down a path to the Qihou fort. Tim and the two lads were lagging, having an enjoyable chin-wag, sharing stories and finding out about each other. I sensed that Donny likes to follow a process, and probably in his head, he knew we needed to be somewhere at a specific time.
Donny informed us that the Dutch built this Fort; it certainly looked European with its concrete and red brick. However, after doing some research, I discovered that H.W. Harwood, an English engineer, designed this for the Qing Dynasty to guard the Kaohsiung Harbour against the Mudan Tribe. Twenty years later, the entrance to the Fort was destroyed by the Japanese in the battle of Yiwei in 1895.
Once the three others joined us, we walked through a tunnel to a beach cove with a bunker outcrop. The views were beautiful, apart from far too much rubbish spewed on the beach probably brought in by the tide.
A while later we came to a weird statue titled “Wind and Harvest”. I thought that the blades were making energy as they moved around in various directions, but sadly all these did was use power while they “symbolised the protection of Sea Goddess for the fishermen during the harvest.”
As we reached Qi Jin Old Street, the smell of food tempted us to buy some local cuisine. George bought a bag of tiny quails’ eggs cooked to perfection to share, and we also had a large thick gooey piece of fried rice pancake. I’m not sure why I was pulling that face in the photo. It tasted quite nice.
We reached the ferry – perfect timing – well done Donny, and watched the start of a gorgeous sunset as we sailed to the mainland. A quick jaunt through the University we got to the shoreline just in time for the remainder of the sunset, rich with a deep indigo blue sky and a stream of orange gleaming above the South China Sea.
That would have been a great end to our tour, but Donny had more. After a delicious meal of tofu and vegetable, he took us on another shortcut to a narrow deserted pathway up a hill. We had to avoid the giant snails, there were loads of them, and we all had a hoot about the snail orgy, especially when George suggested that we ought to avert our eyes.
Near the top, we climbed over a barrier to a bridge, which looked quite precarious from one side. Donny suggested that we walked over one by one. Thankfully, all was well, and the bridge was much sturdier than it looked. After climbing through a hole in a fence, we arrived at a fluorescent LOVE sign with the views of the city gleaming before us. Now, this was a fantastic end for the Five Go To Cijin Island.