Joel's Taiwan Odyssey: My Day in Southern Taiwan, with the High Speed Rail

Kaohsiung Travel Blog

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Taiwan High Speed Rail. Smooth Ride!
While in Taiwan, the Taiwan Tourism Office suggested to me that I explore more of Taiwan with the Taiwan High Speed Rail Network (台灣高速鐵路, www.thsrc.com.tw), which would allow for a richer experience covering more ground through the rail than by car. The High Speed Rail is a high-speed rail network that runs along Taiwan’s west coast. It is approximately 335.50 kilometers (208 mi) long, and runs from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City. The rail network began its operations on January 5, 2007, deploying express trains capable of traveling at speeds of up to 350 km/h (217 mph). The ride from Taipei City to Kaohsiung City takes only roughly 90 minutes as opposed to 4.
Fresh tuna. Ready for Sushi!
5 hours by conventional rail, although THSR trains used for local service take approximately two hours when stopping at all stations en route.
Weng Ching Wen( 翁靜雯), a Deaf native from Taipei City, and Lam Heung Ling (林�'玲), a Deaf visitor from Hong Kong,  agreed to join with me for a day trip to Southern Taiwan, and help me with the Chinese language through interpreting for me with the local Deaf natives.  We decided to take some Business Class seats on the THSRC, due to the special rates for disabled people.  Why not grab it as a great opportunity, we reasoned. The compartment had very nice seats, like as if you were in business class on a plane.  Coffee, tea and snacks were served.  The ride was smoother than I expected, especially when we were going at 180 miles per hour!
After the ride down, we met Weng Chung Ming (翁崇銘) and his wife, Tsai Chien Fen (�"�倩芬) at Zuoying Station (高鐵左營車站), in Kaoshiung ( 高雄).
Visiting Pig Farm
Weng’s family owns a big pig farm ( 福川畜牧場) in PingTung (屏東縣), which was our next destination, via a 45 minutes long drive. Weng said the farm had around five thousand pigs.  We had to put plastic bags on our shoes, wear a special blue jacket, and have a mouth-nose mask and hat to keep our germs away from the pigs. If we didn’t have this protective gear on, then they would lose their pigs to our germs, and lose a lot of money in the process. It’s a very dangerous business!

WATCH THE VIDEO OF PUNG TUNG PIG FARM
We went through several barns as they set up each group of pigs; mothers usually get litters of 10-20 babies.  The young pigs are moved to the next barn over after they become 10 weeks old.
Eluanbi Lighthouse, the southernmost tip of Taiwan
  I went through another barn, this time with just only male pigs. It was so big, like 3-4 feet tall, when you consider the size of the pigs and the size of the barn!  Weng took us to his other business, which was a chicken farm with over 800, 000 chickens, spread out in 16 barns.  I couldn’t believe my own eyes, watching them run free around the barns.  They assured me that all animals are allowed to roam freely and be fed well to maintain the quality of their meat.

Next, they took us to a world-famous place nearby which specialized in pig leg meat (豬腳大王). It was very interesting! We resumed our trip to Khaohsiung Wharf, which is best known for harvesting world-famous black tuna and other types of tuna.  I walked around the wharf, mingling with lots of people bringing tuna from their boats to the pier to be prepped and then sold to the best bidders.
Yummm Wheatgrass!
The tuna meat looked so good to me! Tsai suggested going to one of the best restaurants in the area, Toro-Pro ( 張家食堂), so I could taste their black tuna.   We ordered sashimi (sushi) black tuna and other parts of the tuna meat.  I was really stunned by the tuna; it tasted great, going down smoothly and with great texture. I couldn’t stop eating them!

After the great tuna meal, it was time for us to take a 90 minute long drive down to Kenting (墾丁), a city in the southern part of Taiwan. Kenting is known as a popular beach area, located next to Taiwan’s tropical region.  We stopped by Starbucks for cold drinks, and then went on to Eluanbi Park (鵝�'�鼻公�'), which is on the southernmost tip of Taiwan ( 台灣最南點), to see the Eluanbi Lighthouse (鵝�'�鼻燈�"). The lighthouse is one of the few historical fortified lighthouses in the world.  We also went through one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan, the Kenting National Park ( 墾丁國家 公�'), which included stops like Longpan ( 龍磐), Fongchuesiha (風吹砂), Gangkou ( 港口), and Hengchun Ancient Town ( 恆春古城).

We returned to Kaohsiung for their nightmarket before catching our train back to Taipei. We got off at a street corner, and we realized that we needed to go to the bathroom. Some local deaf people were sitting in the café above the street, and saw us signing “WC”, for washroom.  They waved and got our attention. It was a hilarious moment for all of us.  We chatted a little, and the locals were stunned by my being able to use some Taiwanese sign language. They were thrilled to have had the chance to communicate with me.
Then it was time for us to go through the nightmarket! I saw a vendor selling some wheatgrass drinks.  She squeezed some pure 100% wheatgrass juice into a cup for me; the juice felt so great going down. We kept on, walking through countless food stalls.  The group and I picked one stall for our dinner, ordering some noodle soup made with shrimp, prawn, fresh noodles and vegetables.  After the dinner, I grabbed one more cup of wheatgrass juice, instead of coffee.  It was a delicious way to end my day in Southern Taiwan, as we caught the train back to Taipei.

More details can be found on http://www.deafnation.com

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Taiwan High Speed Rail. Smooth Rid…
Taiwan High Speed Rail. Smooth Ri…
Fresh tuna.  Ready for Sushi!
Fresh tuna. Ready for Sushi!
Visiting Pig Farm
Visiting Pig Farm
Eluanbi Lighthouse, the southernmo…
Eluanbi Lighthouse, the southernm…
Yummm Wheatgrass!
Yummm Wheatgrass!
9,669 km (6,008 miles) traveled
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Kaohsiung
photo by: ys484