1. Yes, as a Westerner who’s lived here decades, I do love Taipei, and Taiwan in general. But of course there are some things that irk. That’s how it is with any place. And I have some suggestions. Today I’ve been jotting them down.
2. That smoking is not allowed on the Taipei MRT is reasonable. I get it. But I think there should be one day every year when smoking is allowed. In fact, on that day, smoking should be required on the MRT, just to balance things out.
3. This rule would be universally applicable. Which means: On that day children--yes, even babies--would be required to smoke on the MRT.
4. Those smoking Cuban cigars would ride free.
5. You see how interesting things would be if I were in charge?
6. Louis Vuitton bags are ugly and crass. There are too many in Taipei. I know it’s worse in other Asian cities, but still. I myself do not speak to women carrying LV bags. I will not give such women the time of day. The larger the LV bag, the more this rule applies.
7. Hermès, Michael Kors, Fendi--all these bags are acceptable. But dump the LV bags. What were you even thinking?
8. Since your garbage trucks here already have music, why not have some garbage trucks with live music? There could be a little stage on top of the truck. The band would crank out tunes as the garbage collectors made their way from neighborhood to neighborhood.
9. A new local musical genre might arise.
10. Taipei traffic isn’t great, but it’s not horrendous. The worst drivers in Taipei are men. No surprise there. But in Taipei, I’ve discovered, the very worst drivers are situated at opposite ends of the class spectrum. In Taipei, taking the cake as very worst drivers, there are the men who drive the black Mercedes, and the men who drive those little blue pick-up trucks.
11. The assholes in the black Mercedes clearly think they’re too important to follow traffic rules. As for the blue pick-up drivers, they seemingly don’t know the city even has traffic rules.
12. These two classes of drivers, to be identified by vehicle, should be compelled by law to gather once a year in some central public square, dressed only in their underwear, for a ritual public beating.
13. The beatings must be televised.
14. Sogo elevators are hellishly slow. When they have the elevator girls working them, they’re even slower. Dump the elevator girls already.
15. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that the old guy who pulls himself along on a cart on Roosevelt Rd. selling washcloths has not changed one tiny bit in twenty years. Which is impossible. I'm starting to suspect he is an alien sent here to spy on us.
16. Oddly, this morning I saw him on his cart on Guangfu S. Rd. Are there maybe more than one?
17. Today on the MRT I saw a sad, frightened-looking woman about 22 who was cradling a baby in a blue blanket, occasionally rocking the baby back and forth. The woman was well dressed, and seemed normal, except for the sad look.
18. When I got closer, I realized it wasn’t actually a baby she held, but a perfectly realistic life-sized artificial baby. It was plastic of some kind. We made eye contact for a few seconds, and I was tempted to ask her what was up, but because of her serious look I decided not to.
19. Now I can’t stop thinking about her. The odd aura of dejection that emanated from her as she rocked that baby stuck in my mind. Was it some kind of therapy she was doing?
20. To contemplate the girl cradling the fake baby is far sadder than to contemplate the disabled man on his cart selling washcloths.
21. I’ve written elsewhere on the utter evil of house cats, an unfortunately popular thing in Taiwan, so I will add nothing on that subject here. Of course, in general, cats should be outlawed.
22. As I traveled north, the weather became colder. The rivers were covered with ice, and I could get no fish. The monster was happy when I suffered. In one message he wrote: “This is just the beginning! You will suffer much more than this!”
23. Oh, for the frozen north!
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