Taipei Travel Blog

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Midnight is the best time to ride Taipei's streets. Just you on your bicycle, a few cabbies pulling all-nighters, and couples racing home after an evening together. Even the bus lanes are clear. The moon has brought a nice breeze with it. Shops are closed, their metal security doors pulled down garage-style.  Traffic lights reflecting off darkened windows.  Fruit vendors have driven their stalls away, leaving only the occasional rind. Stinky tofu smells have almost disolved into the night.  No need to stop at the lights, the cameras can't peg you on the bike, but careful of the taxis.  Those drivers, they get bored and turn on their DVD players, waiting for drunk girls in miniskirts, or men on the way home from Barber Shop and KTV. 

Daytime is stifling, take precautions. You'll want one of those funny cloth masks everyone is wearing even after you assert that you've lived in big cities and can handle the smog. When you're sandwiched between a city bus and half a dozen scooters at a three minute light, you'll want a mask and debate whether to get it in plain or in Burberry plaid.  In daytime, you'll wait ten meters from the intersection just to sit in shade until the light goes green.  The traffic may be thick, but don't bother trying to ride the sidewalks. There you'll dodge vendors selling cheap summer skirts and tops and umbrellas carried for both rain and sun, dogs laying under trees, snack carts pulled to a halt at busy intersections.  You'll want to let your eyes drift to the shop windows, their metal doors pulled up, revealing the latest fashion, Hello Kitty merchandise, tradional tea, and your favorite- bubble tea.  But don't look.  Those cabbies have a foot ready to brake at the first sight of a hand, and scooters are zig-zagging between you and fellow motorists, cutting you off to evade an accident.  So in the daytime, just hook your mask under your helmet, keep your eyes scanning, and ride fast. Then take a midnight ride tonight.
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photo by: Deats