A Little Port Town Comes Of Age...

The southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung is used to playing second fiddle to Taipei. Whereas Taipei has become a high-flying center for multinationals and Taiwanese corporate giants, Kaohsiung is stuck with a reputation as a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else. Unlike Taipei--with its drab architecture, grassless parks, and endless swarm of autos--Kaohsiung's wide, palm-lined streets have an easygoing feel more characteristic of Southeast Asia. A sleepy town of just 60,000 in the early 1920s, Kaohsiung has since grown into a metropolitan area of 2.5 million--while so far avoiding the pitfalls that have turned Taipei and many other Asian cities into urban hells.

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