Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Monday March 19, 2018

In my preamble today I want to talk about the Volendam. 

Contrary to some reports in December 2017, she is in excellent shape.  Her captain and crew could not be more responsive to our every need. Although we booked a guaranteed inside cabin, we were given an “upgrade” to an inside cabin amidships rather than in the stern. Upon embarking, I noticed a foul moldy odor in the vicinity of our bathroom.   Our room stewards ( Suhaimi and Ropita) have bent over backwards to mitigate the smell. Today our carpets were steam cleaned and the room smells much nicer. Normally “cheaper staterooms are equipped with a chair and a “love seat” sofa” –  we got the sofa and a foot stool! I requested a chair and today one was delivered. Ropita, our female room steward, is now like one of our family …. she cant seem to fill our needs fast enough.  Thankfully she will be with us to Vancouver. Their attitudes are the norm rather than the exception for everyone we have come in contact with thus far. We have noticed subtle changes/deletions around the ship, but these are not deal breakers.

Now onto our visit today.

We had no agenda, we just w anted to go ashore, take the FREE shuttle bus to it’s only stop, the train station, and just snoop the neighborhood. While in Asia, I did want to purchase a new “slip buckle” belt so today seemed lake a grand opportunity to shop/search for one.

Since we were in a city where hardly anyone spoke English, I decided to see what Siri could do for me.  I first asked Siri to translate into Mandarin the phrase “Where can I buy a belt?” And she came up with an audio recording for me to play for a local business woman.  Many guff-haws and hand gestures later, she escorted us to a street a block and. Probably. Wished us ‘Good Luck’. I had my directions, I guess. – wrong. So we asked a young high school girl who could speak halting English and after frantically searching with her smartphone, she came up with nothing.

Humm, so I decided to ask Siri directly where a clothing or department store was, she wanted me to be more specific “department store or clothing store?” When I said clothing store, she promptly opened my map program and gave me directions to a location several blocks off the street in front of the train station. Now I was in hot pursuit of my target.

This city doesn’t seem there is a need for sidewalks, so pedestrians must be on the lookout for a path that doesn’t take you into traffic, however no one seems to walk along the street …. they just motor bike it!!!  In my haste to move out, I seemed to have forgotten a rule from my childhood about “walking with” traffic, as a constant stream of two wheelers whizzed by my left arm.  As I approached the final leg in my directions, a right turn, there appeared as if by magic a sports shop, right on the corner …. and inside a generous display of men’s belts. What luck! I spotted MY belt and noticed that it had been marked down to a third of it’s original price of 980 $TWD to 390 $TWD or approximately $14 US. The shopkeeper sized the belt to fit me and when payment was made, gracefully posed for a photograph and suggested we take a selfie – all with neither of us speaking the others language.  Loved the experience, since I am not the shopper in our family.

My prize in hand I returned to Barbara waiting in the shade of the train station, and as I started back it became apparent why I should have walked facing oncoming traffic.

The people of this port city and the neighborhood life style were very similar to what we  experienced living in Greece and Spain when we were in the Navy.

Since it was only get warmer as the day progressed, we decided to retreat to the coolness of our floating home.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that In my haste to purchase the belt, I forgot to get instructions  on the operation of the locking mechanism!  So back on the ship as I was dressing for diner, I zipped the belt around my waist to a comfortable position …. and spent the next 15 or so minutes figuring out how to release the catch!  Just laugh ladies, it’s a pickle many men face in their pridefulness.

 Jack W Cuimmings Far East Adventure 2018

5 thoughts on “Kaohsiung, Taiwan

  1. 😀😁😂🤣😃😅😆😉😊😋😎😍😘😗😙😚☺️🙂🤗🤩! 💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝

  2. It’s nice to hear about your shopping expedition. Your belt was cheaper than the boat Ray wanted to buy. I had a wonderful experience there when APL office gals came to ship to take me to lunch and shopping. It was like a feeding frenzy in department store.

  3. It was so fun going shopping with you two. We too love the Volendam for many of the same reasons you so aptly express. Vicarious travel is so enjoyable to. Continuing thanks for sharing your adventures.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s