Thursday, April 09, 2015

March

Compared to our February, which, besides a trip to Vietnam, was fairly uneventful, our March was rather busy. In addition to traveling to Macau for a long weekend we had a fairly full social calendar here at home.

BBQ'ing like a local
First we went north to Cingpu (青埔) MRT station, an area of Kaohsiung we've never visited, to experience BBQ'ing like a local. The custom here is to rent an area at a private park (I don't believe public parks have BBQ'ing facilities) where you can also purchase food sets, allowing you to arrive with nothing more than yourself and some beverages. The BBQ is built into the table, Korean BBQ style, rather than a stand alone unit. Our area had three picnic tables with this setup.

This BBQ was our first event with Conversation Kaohsiung, a Meetup group populated mostly by locals, most of whom have lived abroad and most of whom also speak English. We had been trepidatious at first, expecting only to be there for a couple of hours, just to try it out, but when the party was wrapping up we realized more than five hours had passed. Time had just flown by.

Enjoying ourselves so much, we joined that same group the following weekend for a trip to the Kaohsiung Fine Arts museum to see the recently opened Kusama Yayoi exhibition. Though Mike's brother lives near this museum, and we've been to the surrounding park many times, we've never actually ventured inside the museum. We didn't even know that it was free (though special exhibitions have an entry fee).

The exhibition was enjoyable, though incredibly crowded at times. The museum itself is fairly large and the other exhibitions, which we quickly explored before returning to our group, appeared very interesting and are worth another trip. We look forward to returning, adding this free diversion to our list of things to do when bored.


March was definitely our month for culture because, in addition to the above, we ended the month with a play at the Pier-2 Art Center. We saw "It's Dark Outside" which was absolutely magical. Imported from Australia for the Kaohsiung Spring Festival the play had no dialogue, relying instead on a combination of live-action, animation, music, and puppetry to tell the story of an elderly man with Alzheimer's. Not relying on language as communication, it was perfect for a multicultural audience. Additionally, the unique storytelling was viscerally affecting. It was a beautiful interpretation of a tragic disease and an excellent way to spend an evening.

Mike's new bike
In addition to the above events, we also bought a secondhand bike for Mike to use for his commutes. It was super cheap at only about US $24 and has reduced Mike's commute time by 80%. An excellent investment!

In other news, the weather is beginning to turn again and we've already had to turn the A/C on a few nights this month. Hot water is no longer needed for showers as the cold water is lukewarm since the outdoor tank is heated naturally by the blistering ambient temperature. Luckily, the weather appears to be turning slowly, one day hitting 32 another day only reaching 26, allowing us to savor these last few days of comfortable temperatures.

After experiencing a winter here, we were hoping to have acclimated by now but that doesn't appear to be the case. Consequently, when our lease expires at the end of July, we're hoping to move to a flat with less stairs (we're on the 6th floor of a walkup), better A/C (right now only our bedroom is air-conditioned), and a pool. (As a lady of leisure, I demand a pool.) All things that should help us cope with the heat and continue enjoying our time here without constantly commenting on the weather. Because weather commentary is boring. And we refuse to be boring.
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