Taipei, Taipei, Taipei
It is definitely an urban area. The city pulses with well-dressed young professionals buzzing around on scooters. If the traffic pace doesn't agree with them, they don't seem to hesitate to take the sidewalk. I had the pleasure of almost getting my toes taken off by two just walking the 4 blocks to work this morning. The American movie watcher in me expects them to run into a vegetable stand or into two men who just happen to be carrying a window pane across the sidewalk at that exact moment. I cannot help but be disappointed when this doesn't happen.
Everything is slightly gray here due the lovely combination of humidity and pollution. Despite lacking very much visual aesthetic, it feels good here. Upon first impression, the stress and tension that I find in most major American cities doesn't seem to be intertwined with the chaos of Taipei. I will keep in mind that I have walked around about 4 square blocks total so far, so at the moment, this is an absurd generalization.
The western influence has definitely taken hold in Taipei as well. There is a 7-11 on every corner. I have also seen a Starbucks and 2 McDonalds. I am sitting in a cafe called Corner. From the looks of it, it was inspired by Starbucks. It has air conditioning, and the coffee was more expensive than my breakfast. Breakfast was 25 NTD, roughly 80 cents, while the cup o' joe was 45 NTD, roughly $1.50. I'm not sure if that is overpriced, but if they were really following Starbucks' lead, I'm sure it is.
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