Until 2004 we had never heard of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. That year, we hosted an exchange student from Kaohsiung and learned that the city is the second largest in Taiwan and serves as Taiwan's major port. In fact, the port is the the third largest in the world in volume of containerized freight - behind only Singapore and Hong Kong. Located on the southwest corner of the island (see map), the city is only a short 90-minute flight from Hong Kong.
Between Hong Kong and Kaohsiung we traveled on China Airlines. China Airlines has a nice feature that we called the cockpit cam (camera). A camera mounted on the aircraft's nose, gives you a pilot's eye view of the flight. It was especially interesting to watch on takeoff and landing.
Our reason for visiting Kaohsiung was to meet Joan Huang, the exchange student that we hosted, and her family.
Arriving at Kaohsiung International Airport, we cleared immigration and customs formalities and exited the secure area of the terminal into the welcoming arms of Joan and her family. It was wonderful to finally meet Joan's family and we were quite overwhelmed with their hospitality and help during our entire visit. We are very grateful for everything they did for and with us during our visit.
Leaving the airport, Joan's father drove us downtown to a very nice hotel where we enjoyed traditional Taiwanese cooking for lunch. Driving through Kaohsiung, the first thing we noticed was the incredible number of motor scooters darting in and out of traffic. Our guess is that scooters must outnumber cars by at least 10 to 1. The scooters seem to pretty much do as they please on the street. At a red light, all of the scooter drivers pull off on the right side of the road. About 5 to 10 seconds before the light turns green, all the scooters take off to try to get a head start on the cars and busses. It is really quite something to see. Steve was very glad that Mr. Huang was doing the driving!