Hello Taipei, Part 1

The streets were damp with rain the evening I arrived in Taipei.
Early April, the temperature not much different from Japan.
The uncertain warmth of spring.
A fine rain was falling.

Taipei, it seems, has more rainy or cloudy days year-round than the rest of Taiwan.
Apparently, if you head south on the island, it turns into the kind of tropical climate, with bright, clear days and sudden downpours in the evenings. But in Taipei, it’s always murky and overcast.

From my impressions of the photos on Wretch that come filtering down Tumblr now and then, I’d just imagined it to have a kind of urban coldness, like a mid-size Japanese city, but with the big, tropical-seeming trees (banyans?) here and there, I found the town to have more of a feeling of southernness than I’d expected.

Oversized scooter-things zooming around all over the place.
Unlike the mopeds in Japan, here it’s okay to ride double.
I guess the exhaust fumes are bad, because there are people wearing masks in various colors and patterns.

A lot of the office buildings are aging and getting dilapidated.
There are awnings jutting out over the sidewalks, and if you walk under them you can go pretty much anywhere without getting wet.
The entrance doors of the first floor residences on the streets behind the office buildings are all shiny steel and look like oversized refrigerator doors.

Besides the touristy night markets, on the back streets, all kinds of stalls start popping here and there from the evening onwards, selling food supplies and other goods. It’s bustling with activity. There are food stands too, of course.
In front of the shops and on the streets, dogs lay about idly. I guess no one ever shoos them away.

There are tables in front of the shops and food stands, and it just feels nice to eat outside.

Translated by Seth Yarden

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