We met Joan through the Center for Cultural Interchange exchange student program. When she was 16, she came to stay with us in Texas and enrolled in our local high school. Taking exclusively honors classes in an English only environment, she earned straight A grades in every subject. She worked really hard and we are certain that she will go on to achieve great success in Taiwan!
This year, we are hosting our third exchange student and have been very impressed with each of them. It is amazing that, at such a young age, they come halfway around the world to live in a very different culture and learn about America. Thanks to e-mail we are able to communicate with our exchange students regularly after their return home. If you want to learn more about the exchange student program, click on the CCI logo on the right.
After lunch, Mr. Huang drove us to our hotel. The Grand Hotel on Cheng Ching lake overlooks the city and is designed in the style of a large Chinese pavilion. After relaxing a bit at the hotel, all of us went shopping in a huge vertical mall where they had all kinds of fashion and gift stores.
After shopping, we crossed the Love River to a ferry dock on Kaohsiung harbor where we took the ferry across on the short ride to Chichin Island. A long, narrow barrier island, Chichin serves as a breakwater for the Kaohsiung harbor. It also has the best seafood restaurants in Kaohsiung.
We walked to one of these restaurants where we selected our own fish for the kitchen to prepare. The island is very informal and the restaurants reminded us of some of great local crab houses on Galveston Island here in Texas.
National Science and Technology Museum in downtown Kaohsiung. Joan had told us a little about it on e-mail because she had been working here for the summer. The museum is first-rate. In addition to all kinds of exhibits on Chinese technology, the museum has a large, hands-on play area for the kids. As you can see, everyone enjoyed it.The next morning we visited the
For lunch we went to "Smokey Joe's" Mexican restaurant where the food was surprisingly excellent for being so far away from Mexico or Texas. The restaurant was decorated with old Hollywood Western movie memorabilia and was a lot of fun. The food was TexMex with some distinctive Asian spices. After lunch we went shopping in some local markets. Having heard Joan talk so much about the night markets, we really wanted to visit one. Unfortunately, the weather was mostly rain during our visit, so we didn't have the opportunity on this trip. Next time, we will be sure to do so. We enjoyed one last dinner with Joan and her family at one of the oldest Chinese restaurants in Kaohsiung. Here too, the food and friendship were excellent.
All too soon it was time to leave Kaohsiung. Joan's family drove us to the airport and helped us check in and head to the international departure area. We were sad to say farewell but, at the same time, so happy that we had come and had this chance to visit with the Huang family. We look forward to a return visit some time in the future.