I've run low on nice photos, so I'm putting up some not-so-pretty photos I took recently in Kaohsiung. My camera's not so good at taking night photos, so I almost never get good photos at night. To make up for how boring they are, I played around with the various color options. I present, Kaohsiung Harbor, as seen from the old Takao British Consulate.
I really need to get a guidebook to the animals and plants in Taiwan. There are so many species here that are so different from what I'm familiar with that sometimes I don't have even a clue as to what to call them. Case in point: This weird bird. What is this? I saw it on the Cheng Kung campus twice recently. It was walking around eating stuff on (in?) the ground. I didn't see it fly, so I'm not even sure whether or not it can fly. (With all the stray dogs around here though, it seems hard to believe it could survive without being able to fly though.)
And now for our last Okinawa story! After leaving Nakijin Castle, I went to Bise, a small village in Motobu Town. This neighborhood has signs in it to guide people around, but it's not just a tourist location; people actually live here. Why is the neighborhood such a popular tourist destination? The area is planted with lots of fukugi trees (garcinia trees), and the roads are unpaved, sand paths. It's very beautiful, and very practical as well. The neighborhood is on the coast, and fukugi trees act as natural buffers to the wind. Additionally, they provide a lot of shade, and it was noticeably cooler walking the paths in the area than it was when walking around in other areas. (It was probably in the 90's with high humidity on this day.)
I'm not sure what "NA" means, but I saw it on a couple houses in the area.
On the edge of the neighborhood, I came out from the tree tunnel and found myself facing a field where they were growing sugar cane.
This appears to be some sort of local temple, or public-use space. I'm not clear on what it is.
This is possibly the best photo I have taken all year. Thank you, bug, for not moving.
And now we come out from the tree-lined paths and find ourselves at a beach! And facing our old friend, Ie Island, once again!
At this point, I've returned to that building that I thought might be a temple. This is what it looks like from the front.
After leaving Bise, it was time to head south to Naha to return the rental car.
But first, a stop in Kin Town! Like Ginoza, which it is next to, Kin is a small town with a large US military base. The downtown area we went to looked like some small, old-school US resort town. It was already evening and getting dark at this point, so unfortunately, I couldn't take that many good photos.
Almost all of the stores here had signs with English as well as Japanese. The reason I came here was to eat "taco rice" at the store that claims to be the first to serve it. Taco rice is an Okinawan invention. American-style fast food tacos were introduced to the island by US soldiers, and because they sold well, lots of Okinawan restaurants started making them. However, tortillas are much harder to come by in Japan than rice is, so one guy deiced to put the taco mix on a bed of rice so that he could serve a large volume of food at a lower price. It was a hit, and taco rice is now a standard menu item all over Okinawa.
On a side note, another effect of the US bases in Okinawa is that, often when restaurants have water coolers for self-service like this one does, the water cooler is an Igloo brand. I rarely see this American brand in the rest of Japan, but it seems to be very common in Okinawa.
Here's the entrance to this shopping area, and if you go out of the gate and across the street, that's the base.
You can see taxis like this a lot when you're driving around Okinawa, especially in the middle of the island where a lot of bases are concentrated. There's apparently some sort of application taxi drivers can make to be allowed to drive right into the US bases.
沖縄中部辺りでよくこういうタクシーを見掛ける。基地内に入る許可証がある様だ。「Authorized On Off Base」は「基地内外利用可能」みたいな意味だ。「On All Base」は全ての基地に入れるという意味だ。（もしかして基地毎に許可を別々に申請する必要があるかもしれない。面倒くさそう。）
常常在沖繩中部看到這樣的「Authorized On Off Base」的計程車。好像他們受到了許可，可以進基地去。
And here I am returning the rental car. I've used this company a bunch of times, and at some point they opened a very small branch office in a second location. It's pretty funny where it is though. This is literally the little elevator alcove in the parking lot of a shopping mall. It's an odd arrangement, but not impractical. The shopping mall has a monorail stop right outside of it, so you can easily move about on your own after you've returned the car.