16 May 2007

Snaps and Snippets of Miaoli City and Hsinchu...and some notes about things various and sundry

The above sign is from a gated entrance to a school (an elementary school, I think it was). The image and words speak for themselves. But man, oh man, can you imagine? What could it mean? What would a person who was transported from late 1920s to early 1930s speakeasy days in America to the current time in Miaoli City where this photo was taken, make of it?

This is the Chinese Petroleum Corporation offices in Miaoi City, if I remember correctly. I think that this is that company's building, I mean.

A wonderful view of the "sidewalks," overhangs, or whatever you call them. This is the closest thing in Taiwan to a sidewalk. Unfortunately, most of them, most of the time are too crowded with scooters, so one has to walk and share space with insane scooter drivers who think nothing of driving three centimetres away from you even when it is completely unnecessary.

Another like shot. By the way, car-drivers here seem to think that people who walk are foolish, even though they, yes even they, do it for at least a couple of minutes a day. A foreign walker? That person just wants to get killed! "Watch out!" "Be careful" is what you will hear if you walk or ride an ordinary bicycle a short distance of two minutes. What would people think of me, who ride my bicycle for 45 m. up to 1 hr. all the way from Fengyuan to Taichung City? I belong in a lunatic asylum! Sick!

Above is an alley in Miaoli city. Not the Japanese-style house in the left-foreground of the picture. All the photos below until the rest of the post are from Hsinchu. It is an aesthetically pleasing city, until you get out of the centre district. All of Hsinchu smells bad most of the time.
People go on and on about how bad the air in Taipei smells and how bad the air is there, period. I really, really differ. There are more trees in Taipei. The rest of Taiwan, as far as the people, the voters, the administrations are concerned seem to be allergic to trees or to any beautification (excepting freaks of nature or artifice, like downtown Hsinchu). I find Taichung City's automobile (including scooters, AND NEVER WOULD I SAY PEOPLE SHOULD BAN SCOOTERS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT WHICH IS WHAT ONE CITY IN MAINLAND CHINA DID) exhaust fumes border on instantaneously poisonous. Taipei, on the other hand, has never had such an effect on my olfactory senses. I find Taipei cleaner. Taipei is an incredibly efficient city, too. If I come back to Taiwan (as most of my regular readers know, I am going back to Canada at the end of June to finish my Film Studies M.A.), I would probably want to live in Taipei. It is the most multicultural of Taiwan's cities. There's even a Travel/Living Channel show hosted by a Taiwanese guy whose name escapes me, but who is quite a character. His show highlights this quite well, usually with food.


Geosomin said...

"The prohibition pet enters"

I love that...

Thoth Harris said...

I love it, too. That's why I took the picture.

You know, Geosomin, there are some pretty insane Chinese to English translations that make it into official discourse and daily life here in Taiwan.

You should see some of the earlier posts I had (somewhere in the archives) when I took pictures of some warning signs from the train station. I found it. My memory for the month I took the earlier, archived photo is not so inaccurate!: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger2/1779/2466/1600/DSCN3073.jpg

Maybe you'll find it funny. All I know is that I find it quite strange and absurd, and my mom couldn't help laughing.

But yeah, "The prohibition pet enters" is perhaps the best of 'em all!

Someday, you and Jay should come to Taiwan. It is a pretty fascinating and insane place. People talk about the United States and that other democratic North American nation, Canada, being the free world. Nobody mentions Taiwan. Perhaps that is for the best. Let's keep things free from prudery, authoritarianism (and that bugbear of all hardened rightwingers and liberterians: nannystateism, although I hate this term, for the very reason, along with Chicoms, it is used by these same clowns).

But things are too free here. However, come here before China invades, or before a U.S. China war, or before Taiwan becomes over-sensible (bleccchhh) like Canada and does things like banning smoking in public places. Come here when there are still nice beaches on Kenting, when the treasures are still in the National Palace Museum in Taipei, etc. If you do come, tell me, even if I'm not in Taiwan. I can direct you (with extra help from Sharon, too, of course) to all the useful resources, the best and most interesting places, etc.