Lysis blog

23rd January 2012

2012 Year of the dragon

Happy new Chinese year!

I'm recently back from Taiwan, and here's something I'd like to share with you.

Moving around in small-town Taiwan reminds me of super-Mario.
First of all there are no pavements as such, and the traffic has a high proportion of mopeds, which whizz around like Bullet Bills. The density of living-space is very high so there are many people around. Multi-storey apartment buildings on the main streets have a shop on the ground floor - the front of each is inset into the building, and in this space there is often a stall, with a passageway in-between. In any significant gap, people park their mopeds, creating interesting obstructions. Each building is built to its own level, with steps or a ramp put in on an ad-hoc basis. Admittedly the steps usually arn't high enough to require a bouncing jump, but some are significant.
Travelling along a street is therefore not a predictable linear affair. Lateral movement is held within constant bounds, yet sensible positions within that rapidly change. Progression requires a constant assessing of the route, manoeuvering through passageways and around obstacles - many of which are moving - in and out and up and down.

Getting clear pictures of this is difficult because of the clutter, but here are a few:

A busy Taiwanese road Shop-frontage structure A cafe stall in front of a shop Steps between shop-fronts along the passageway


Absence of the appropriate sound-effects is of course a disappointment. I'm pleased to report that I refrained from jumping on anyone's head.

Xin nian kuai le!


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