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:
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!