After a week in Kaohsiung, Steve and I concluded that it was impossible to go into any store or down any street without catching glimpses of these rubber yellow ducks that were for sale seemingly everywhere. What was it all about? Was that a Taiwanese passion that no one told us about? A little rooting around online helped clarify things: it turns out that the little duck was really a HUGE duck. This 40 foot tall inflatable rubber duck is the work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and had already been the focus of intense attention in Hong Kong for two months this spring. A version of it has entertained the world since 2007. And now it was in Kaohsiung.
The amount of media attention on the rubber duck has been a little incredible. Everyone from CNN and the China Post to finance blogs and the Denver Post (not to mention every single outlet in Taiwan) have all weighed in on Kaohsiung’s newest visitor, and duck fever effectively gripped the nation. You could buy duck t-shirts, stuffed animals, backpacks, flip-flops, hats, iPhone covers, earbuds, you name it. So, naturally, we had to go see too; Steve and I caught the duck on Sunday, the last day of its scheduled appearance in Glory Harbor. We walked to the nearby Central Park MRT stop, where free shuttle buses departing every five minutes shepherded visitors to the nearby harbor.
I have to say, the duck is quite adorable. There’s something very cheerful and funny about a gigantic inflatable duck moored in the harbor. Steve and I joked a little bit about darker possibilities (was it a Trojan duck?) before walking to the edge of the harbor to get some good pictures of the duck, sans the crowd. However, I found myself taking many more photos of the people around me. Taiwanese people have completely gone crazy for this duck, as I’ve reiterated, and each visitor was intent on getting their own pictures and selfies with the duck, with particularly funny and innovative poses. Enjoy!