Places visited and activities in August
Given the precipitous geography and the excellent panoramic view over the Taiwan strait, Caishan used to be bases of military barracks and a radar tower that was resticted to the public. A few local Taiwanese restaurants were the only treat for soldiers who were let out from bases for a half day and now this secret garden hosts restaurants and bars that serve exotic cuisine cooked by foreign chefs--onwers of the restaurants.
The specialty of the Ocean Side Café aka the big bowl café (Tue~Sun, 13:00~23:00) is its 1200ml Salvadoran coffee (NT200) served in a big bowl as the name indicates. "It's called big bowl café in Chinese but I prefer the name lover's café. The café is for lovers, families and for those who like to pass time alone liesurely" said the Salvadorian owner.
The escape 41, a restaurant and bar, is the place to go if you are craving some western delicacies. The menu covers burgers, lasagna, pizzas and quiche etc., making ordering a tough choice. Finding the exact location of the escape 41 is another challenge, the bar was built against the cliff with a wooden platform reaching out into the ocean. Escape, the name of the restaurant fits the amosphere of the restaurant perfectly. Cliffs, waves of the ocean and the golden hue of the sunset create the illusion of the twelve apostles in Australia, I wonder if that's the reason the Australian owner set foot in this very spot in the first place.
The Ocean Side Café:
Add: 31, CaiShan Rd, Gushan district, Kaohsiung City. (Lat: 22.644393, Lon: 120.254127)
The Escape 41:
Add: 41-2, Caishan rd, Gushan district, Kaohsiung City (Lat: 22.643667, Lon: 120.252472)
Open from 12 noon on weekends and 3:30pm on weekdays. Open until 11 pm or later and 12 pm or later on Friday and Saturday.
Minimum charge per person: NT$100+10%. /Please don't bring outside food or drinks Free wireless internet / 10% service charge.
It's not fair that so many resources are restricted to Taipei; the Broadway musical show Lion King in Taipei Arena, the mammoth exhibition in Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and the only IMAX theater that plays Hollywood movies, etc are only in Taipei.
The Dark Knight is now playing in the Miramar Cinemas, even though the movie wasn't presented on the full screen of the 8 floor tall silver screen at all times, it didn't hurt the IMAX experience: crystal clear images and wraparound digital surround sound, an illusion of being there. Staff in the theater take orders before movies start and deliver popcorn and drinks to your seat without being noticed, another privilege in Taipei cinemas.
The mammoth exhibition (July 14~Nov 4; 09:00~18:00 daily, NT200) was mediocre. I followed the suggestion on their website: avoid 11:00~12:00 and 15:~16:00 for being crowded, and showed up around 10:00 yet I had to line up to get in already. I rented an audio guide (NT120) which turned out to be a waste because all information in the audio was displayed on posters(only in Chinese). In fact, the number of posters seemed larger than fossils displayed, the name "Mammoth Poster Exhibition" would be appropriate. I would rather stay in an air conditioned room surfing online for info regarding mammoths than fight my way in to glimpse at boxed fossils.
I have never spent NT5800 for a show before and my first time was given to the broadway musical show: The Lion King. Not because I love the show so much and am willing to spend that much for a ticket, tickets lower than NT3200 had all sold out and remaining seats in the rear of the so called nice areas were NT3800 to NT5200.
All the animals walked from the aisles to the stage to celebrate the birth of the baby lion as a joyful opening, a gazelle sang next to me making the seat worth the price; the naughty lion's advanture led to the death of the old lion king and exile; process of denail, acceptance and finally embracing his destiny as the lion king; restore the glory of the lion kingdom and celebrate a new life. The circle of life was told through piercing vocals, vivid masks and costumes, perfect stage settings and great music; I had goose bumps during the whole show. From a distance I was conviced of the authenticity of the gazelles, zebras and giraffes. Blending in local customs and language made the show one of a kind.