Enter the Dragon, Exit the Tiger

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

December 26, 2019

Entering a dragon’s throat and coming out of a tiger’s mouth symbolizes turning bad luck into good fortune.

The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas at the southern shore of man-made Lotus Lake in Kaohsiung came with that written instruction. It was simple enough yet so fierce: Enter the Dragon and exit just below the Eye of the Tiger. I carbon-dated myself with those retro references, but I couldn’t help it. As products of their time, the pair of pagodas evoked the technicolor 1970s when they were built.

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Dome of Light

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

December 24 – 28, 2019

Was it an art museum? A grand cathedral? An alien starship? Ki and I collected our jaws off the floor when we emerged from the subway platform. A dome of stained glass backlit to dramatic effect encompassed the lobby of Formosa Boulevard Station. Kaohsiung supposedly had nothing going for it if I were to go by my former students’ opinion of their hometown, but the city went all out to impress us in our first hour upon arrival. And we had yet to step out of the train station.

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Formosa Boulevard Station @ Kaohsiung

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Home for Christmas @ Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

December 24 – 25, 2019

I wasn’t home for Christmas – for the first time in my life. Of all holidays, Christmas had exclusively been a family affair. In my 50 years, I celebrated 45 Christmases with my parents. Becoming an orphan four years before was a game changer. What could be the loneliest holiday proved to be less so with fellow orphan Ki. We had already decided to ring in the new year at Taipei 101; I figured we might as well leave earlier to spend Christmas at our port of entry, Kaohsiung.

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Christmas Eve @ Holy Rosary Cathedral, Kaohsiung

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