January 31st, 2009

Under the Expressway

Posted in Asia Pacific, Transportation by Christopher DeWolf

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Huanhe Road next to one of Taipei’s riverside expressways

January 18th, 2009

Taipei Street Food

Posted in Asia Pacific, Food, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf

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Lime juice on sale in Shida

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Deep-fried chicken in Ximending

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Brochettes, squid and other treats in Shilin

December 17th, 2008

Nice Bollards

Posted in Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf

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Taipei is a surprising city. There’s a fine line between ugly haphazardness and charming idiosyncrasy; for the most part, the Taiwanese capital seems to land on the latter side. Its broad boulevards would be bland and overwhelming if it weren’t for the arcaded sidewalks filled with parked scooters. The rambling lanes that run between those boulevards are lined for the most part with architecturally uninspiring apartment buildings, but the abundance of potted plants, hidden café terraces and dilapidated wooden bungalows more than make up for that. In theory, Taipei has everything going against it, but it gets so many small things right that it’s actually a pretty remarkable place.

These bollards are just one example of what I mean. Many people have a love-hate relationship with bollards: on one hand, they’re often ugly and overzealously implemented, but on the other, they keep cars out of pedestrian space. (In any case, they’re a lot nicer than the hideous grey fences that Hong Kong uses to segregate pedestrian and vehicular traffic.) Only rarely do they exceed their immediate purpose, which is why I like the bollards just outside Ximen metro station, in which images of historical streetscenes are embedded. Over on busy Yongkang Street, meanwhile, chubby concrete bollards add to the street both a place to sit and something a bit more unexpected.

December 12th, 2008

Taipei Nights

Posted in Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf

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December 11th, 2008

Mirrors

Posted in Asia Pacific by Christopher DeWolf

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Mirrors on Yongkang Street, near Shida, Taipei