Kaohsiung Stories and Tips

2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

I always said after taking 18-hour bus from Ankara to Trabzon in Turkey, 2006, I could always travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung since it's only around 5 hours drive.

Yet, I had never done the traveling once.

Tuesday, my screen popped up a MSN message from a Journalist friend who was covering World Games in Kaohsiung, saying "You should really come down to feel World Games!

That was the first impulse for the past two years telling me: I had to travel south to Kaohsiung.

The idea was completely impulsive and the travel was not planned at all. I decided to take a night train Friday night from Chungli, Taoyuan to Kaohsiung, not knowing what to expect the next day after waking up in Kaohsiung.

5:31 am, I woke up, finding out I arrived at Kaohsiung Train Station. Being that early, I idled around the station before going to the Kaohsiung MRT, it was my first time as the system was not running when I served in the military early 2008. I felt the stations were more artistic compared to those in Taipei. But the gap between the trains were too long as averagely it took 8-9 minutes for a train to come. Not as convenient as the Taipei MRT's.

I arrived at Formosa Boulevard Station at 7 am in the morning to see the Doom of Light, a fantastic public artwork invented by Maestro Narcissus Quagliata from Rome. Seeing the blue, red, green and other colors of lights formed the huge doom, I could not help but feel amazed by this public artwork.

Later in the morning, I set out to watch inline hockey at the gymnasium in Yi-Saw University. Taking the shuttle bus was such a convenient way to get around the World Games venues, not to mention they were all free during the World Games period.

Upon entering the venue, Czech and Italia were playing on the field. They were at the same level so the atmosphere of the game became a bit tense as I saw one Italian player kept trifling with the helmet of the defending Czech player. That was not what I would called the spirit of sportsmen.

Then, finally, long awaited time was worthywhile as the next game was Taiwan versus Switzerland. You couldn't imagine how I'd like to watch this game because it would be something to brag about to Matthias, and other Swiss friends.

Within the first ten minutes of the first half, the Taiwanese team managed to hold back the violent offense of Swiss players. Our goalkeeper kept saving some dangerous ball minutes by minutes, keeping all the audience breathless and applauding. The roof of the stadium were almost got off because of the overwhelming rooting for the home team. Nevertheless, once the Swiss scored the first goal, the whole situation slided to Switzerland as the gap between the two teams were still enormous.

Nevertheless, at 10'10'' in the second half, Kai-Hsiang Chang of Taiwan still managed to score the first goal on a beautiful assist for team Taiwan in this game, and in Taiwan World Games Inline Hockey History. Whole Taiwanese players hugged each other, shouting with audience applauding crazily as if we won the Championship. Later team Taiwan were able to form several offence yet failed to score anymore against Swiss goalkeeper, Mile Daniel Schmocker.

1:9 was the final score.

After the inline hockey, I decided to go to the main stadium to watch Rugby. I had never watched rugby live and I don't quite really understand the rules. However it might sounded boring to watch a boring game alone, I still went to the stadium for it's a must for me to sit laid-back in the world-class stadium, watching world-class competition.

Team Taiwan and team United States were fighting for the 5th place. Although with the supports of 15,000 local fans, team Taiwan still failed to beat team U.S.A. two games in a row, losing the game with a margin of two points, ranked 6th of all 8 teams. But still we ranked best in Asia.

After the game, team Taiwan walked around the stadium, responding to the ovation from the crowds. They even came closer to the seats to high five with local fans. Team America did not hesitate their love, also high five with the crowds as a way to thank the supports from Taiwanese fans.

Then, it was the bronze medal competition between South Africa and Argentina. At last South Africa shut out Argentina to win the bronze medal. At the gold medal game between Fiji and Portugal, no one can ignore the the impressive touchdowns performed by no.8 Roko of Fiji. Eventually, Fiji had the tri-peat in World Games Rugby history as they played with no sweat a sliding victory over Portugal. By the end of the game came with the biggest surprise as a foreign fan ran naked through the field with the screams and shouts from the onlookers. The players seemed pretty used to this kind of situation but it was definitely a headliner for the breaking news and a memory for local fans to keep.

Huge thunder storm drew the rugby series to an abrupt end as whole audience were running trying to get some shelter from the heavy sudden rain.

Later, at night, I was trying to get the tickets for Aerobatic Gymnastics or Tchoukball but both sports were sold out. Outside the stadium of Tchoukball, I met the korfball coach of Team Netherlands, who just finished the World Games with 7-time Championship. What an impressive accomplishment. I walked with him back to the MRT Station while asking how he felt about the people, the city and of course the games. He's such a nice gentleman by praising the Taiwan team, nice citizen, Kaohsiung city and the whole organization. Although I'd love to accompany him to the night market, I only showed him the directions, leaving him with the friendly image of Taiwanese people.

I feel so glad that I did come down to Kaohsiung to participate in the world-class event. As the slogan goes, may this change could lead more positive changes in Taiwan. And I am looking forward to Deaflympics in September in Taipei.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip