Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Living in Taipei

Taipei (台北市) had been a megacity even forty years ago. Recreation, cinemas, sightseeing weren’t my initial concerns. I needed a place to stay, which was near enough to two universities, where I took courses. The ideal place had been the TIYAC (台北国青年活) or Taipei International Youth Activity Center, which had opened recently. Most students there were overseas Chinese, but there were also some Koreans and a handful of Western foreigners. Forty years ago this suburb (大安区) of Taipei had seen hardly any Western foreigner. In the beginning we were really stared at, but this dwindled.

The surroundings were green and the air was as fresh as it could be. Taipei sits in a pan. Busses were belching out thick smoke. Sometimes returning from the city center meant taking a shower immediately as arms and face were black. Even on Hoping Dong Road (和平东路) there were days, when you could look only 100 meters because of the air pollution. Zhong Hua Road (中华路) always had been worse, because quite a lot of busses stopped there. During the rush hour, 50 meters sight at best.

My window had been in the back overlooking Taida (台大). Here are a few photographs. I must warn you, the quality is really bad. I didn’t have a good camera, the picture have been scanned from prints, I had been inexperienced, the rolls waited about a year in a hot climate before being developed, and the prints changed color during the years that have gone by.

 This is the TIYAC - please note the V-shape, which 
has advantages, if it comes to earthquakes

The small raod to Taida - the technic comes close 
to the style of French impressionalists

Even a better look at the small road to Taida - 
along the wall in the middle

That looks definitely different from today

This was the best I could make out of a 
faded picture, as my window had been to the west, 
I had lots of nice sunsets

In front of the TIYAC - I had been slimmer and 
my hair had been longer



  1. I stayed at TIYAC 35 years ago. While it was quite polluted (both sir and noise) due to horrendous traffic, the visibility was never as bad as you said (in my experience). I still hope to return to Taiwan one day. I doubt I will recognize much.

  2. Maybe the busses already had changed. In the inner city on Zhong hua lu (中华路) in between Kaifeng jie (开封街) and Wuchang jie (武昌街) it had been as discriebd, but not in the vicinity of the TIYAC.