Tag Archives: scooter

Scooter moment: Ximending & TiT

2 Aug

Corner of "Movie Street" in Ximending

Okay, so I live in Ximending, and find myself at this intersection just about every day, but I still like the bright lights and variety of people, as long as those people aren’t getting in my way. The darkness you see on the left is the looming structure of  TiT (yeah, try Googling that!), which has been under construction for a couple of years now, and will consist of expensive apartments that run about 60-110 ping, last I heard. TiT, which is short for “Town in Town,” is being built by Aman Corporation, which seemingly should have at least one English-speaker on staff who might have advised against making the TiT acronym so prominent on all of the advertising. At one point two summers ago, they even had large metal lettering on the sidewalk in front of the site, proclaiming “AMAN TiT” to all who passed by. Yup, “a man tit” has come to my crowded little space in Taipei.

I have to wonder what this tower is going to do to the neighborhood when it finally opens, and if the developers have succeeded in filling it yet. Check out this advertisement, which shows the tower design for about 2 seconds in the midst of making Ximending look quiet and romantic:

If they succeed with this development, it will signal a huge victory in changing people’s opinions of the neighborhood. Pretty much every single Taiwanese friend I have thinks I’m crazy for wanting to live in Ximending, with the exception of a handful of bohemians who live and work nearby. The thing is, the people who actually like Ximending enough to perhaps want to live here (teenagers, artists, tourists) are not the people who will be able to afford to live in TiT. I would imagine that the people who do have enough money to live there are not the sort of people who want to deal with the crowds, traffic, and general mayhem of Ximending on a typical weekend. So if people are actually buying up these apartments, does that mean a new kind of 西門町人 is on its way? There are a few other large buildings going up in the neighborhood, so perhaps that’s exactly what developers are hoping for.

Incidentally, though it’s not visible in the photo, the tower has had a crane perched atop it for months now, which terrifies me every time I pass by. After last year’s crane accident near Taipei 101 in which a crane fell from a building and crushed a bus carrying Chinese tourists, I’m paranoid about cranes in general, and don’t like the fact that I have to pass this one regularly.

Anyway, if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to check out this monster of a construction project. Perhaps you can get your photo with a TiT sign!

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Scooter moment: Bible speed-read?

14 Jun

Searching for something?

This woman was searching furiously through a book, which I was surprised to discover was actually a Bible. I thought for a moment that she was searching for wisdom, until she turned the book upside and shook it, apparently trying to dislodge an important scrap of paper or a business card. I hope she found what she was looking for.

The church behind her is on Chang An Road, by the way.

Scooter moment: Visual overload

9 Jun

If this photo were any more "Taipei," it might explode

How much Taipei life can you spot here? Here’s my list:

  • Hello Kitty
  • vertical signage
  • heavy traffic
  • relative calm despite heavy traffic
  • blue trucks and buses
  • as many taxis as there are regular cars
  • scooters
  • unhelmeted child (center of scooter bunch)
  • man picking nose (scooter dad)
  • 4 people on a scooter (scooter dad has 2 more passengers! [sorry if not zoomable])
  • illegal rooftop additions
  • fairly clean-looking streets
  • Western holiday symbols
  • barred-in window boxes
  • an Easy Shop (horribly-named women’s underwear store) next door to a toy store
  • construction (in the distance)

Did I miss anything? What’s missing from this photo? Did you notice there’s not a single 7-11 visible?

Scooter moment: Umbrella

27 May

You can stand under my umbrella-ella-ella

Taipei Thing #1: Drive a scooter

23 May

This idea comes from Jonas, who got to drive a scooter on his last trip to Taipei. For folks who don’t live in scooter-filled cities, driving a scooter (or a moped, as some say) is a cool experience usually only done while on vacation. For people who live in Taipei, however, scooters are a part of everyday life (and sometimes death, unfortunately).

Completing this task was relatively easy, since I already own a scooter (the very photographic Yamaha Vino, which will probably appear again in future posts) and have a few years of experience driving in Taipei. I don’t, however, drive my scooter very often, since I prefer the clean & calm of the MRT (or a taxi) to the choking fumes of sitting at a stop light among 50 other scooters. Still, I decided to make this my first task, since driving a scooter is so very Taipei, and I also needed it to get to my main destination of the evening…

Note to Taipei visitors: Though a scooter is a great way to get around once you know the city and its ways, I wouldn’t actually recommend driving a scooter on your trip to Taipei. Taipei traffic is dangerous, not only to scooter drivers, but also to cyclists and pedestrians. It’s certainly more regulated than, say, China or the Philippines, but Taipei traffic is still rather chaotic compared to western traffic. I see scooter accidents at least a few times a week, and am lucky to be one of the few scooter drivers in my social circle to have so far avoided getting hit by a taxi or another scooter. If you do decide to drive a scooter in Taipei, don’t do it as soon as you arrive. Take a day or two to observe how the city traffic operates, know the laws (such as where it is illegal to drive a scooter), and avoid driving during rush hours. Otherwise, the MRT & buses will get you nearly anywhere you want to go, and taxis are relatively cheap (about $2 USD for a short ride, up to $6-8 USD for longer trips).