Saturday, May 27, 2006

More thoughts about space

No, not out there! Around here! I stopped by the TaiwanMex yesterday and met a retired gentleman from Kansas City, Missouri. The university took the house where he had been living for 10 years, so he decided to try his luck in Taipei. He's 70 years old and originally from Brooklyn.

He is just fascinated by this city. He said: "This place is just really cutting edge!" One aspect he likened to New York when he was growing up. He said every block had all of the necessary stores, so a person never had to leave their block. People spent their lives in a much smaller area and didn't tend to travel far.

"That's like Taipei now. You have your convenience stores and banks and post offices and pharmacies and restaurants all on one block. And then, if that wasn't enough, there is all of that at the underground mall as well."

I can't comment on New York in the forties, but I partly agree with his comments about Taipei. A person doesn't need to travel far. There are Seven-Elevens on practically every block, as there are noodle shops, etc. Indeed, the people running the breakfast shop and the laundrymat and the other stores near where I live, as in every other part of the city, are likely fixtures of the neighborhood. They are there everyday like clockwork.

However, there is another side to the city, perhaps any modern city. There are the cars and motorcycles zipping about. Every morning and every evening there are countless people commuting on the metro and various buses from their homes in one part of the city to another to go to work. On the weekend, they could stay put, they could stay where they are, but instead, many get on the metro and head to places like Danshui, or they go on outings outside of the city.

Just different ways of experiencing space.


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