Taipei: a place of romance and nostalgia
May 18, 2012, 11:46 am TWN
Before I actually arrived in Taiwan, my imagination was running wild. It was a place that you always saw on TV but you needed to go through a complicated process to enter. At that point, Taiwan was a strange, distant place in the world to me.
However, on the evening when I arrived at Taipei, it felt surprisingly like home. For me, the expected culture shock never came at all. I loved the food and the night markets. Nothing you wanted was too expensive to afford. Walking around Grandee Night Market (士林夜市), it felt like I had lived here for my whole life, people smiling and talking to you with the language you were already so familiar with.
The favorite thing about Taipei was the pace along Tamsui River. I can still recall that it was a hot and humid evening. The river was golden as the sun went down. A bunch of teenage boys and girls were standing by their motorcycles along the river. My friend, who grew up here, told me they were playing a game, which she used to play at their age. Each boy would randomly pick a girl to take on his motorcycle. She said she always enjoyed the little bit of excitement that came if she happened to ride with the boy she fancied, and even missed the little disappointment when the wish didn't come true.
Her tale totally got me. How I wish I could go back to that age and join the bunch of teenagers and ride along the river on such an evening. It was this romantic kind of life that I find to be one of Taipei's most enticing gifts.
That's what I think is the most amazing part of Taipei. Modernization hasn't sabotaged its character. In the city, life can be slowed down easily by cycling along the river or walking down the street with a bottle of mike tea, enjoying the romance of Taipei.