Just at dinner tonight, I said to friends, “Now that I’m back in Taipei, I don’t ever want to leave!”
My declaration was met with overwhelming enthusiasm from the dinner party. Naturally, because everyone’s living here by choice. It’s the small things here that make life easier. If i have to choose one thing that I love the most about living in Taipei, it has to be the convenience of the life style. And what’s so convenient about living here? Everything!
Case in point – Saturdays are usually quiet busy for us with kids activities. We’re shuffling kids from basketball, to dance to music lessons. Mid-day, I remembered that getting a hair cut was on my to-do list for the weekend. I had about a 2 hour gap between the activities. Called up my hair stylist and asked her if she can squeeze me in.
“Sure! What time would you like to come in?” she asked?
“How about in an hour?”
Done! I dropped the kids off at activities, cabbed there and arrived within 10 minutes. Saturday afternoons are usually pretty packed for her but it was empty today.
“How is it that I was able to get an appointment on a Saturday afternoon? ” I asked her.
“Oh because the weather is so cold, people canceled.”
Cold? It was like 15C outside. I mean, sure it was a bit windy and chilly but not enough to stop me from leaving the house. But hey! That’s fine by me! Thank you for canceling. I was able to get an appointment within 1 hour of calling, get back to kids activities in no time.
When it was time to go their music lessons. The kids and I got on ubikes and rode our bicycle there. The docking station is located conveniently outside the music class room building. We each paid $5 NT for the one way ride.
Last week at work, I needed to send a package to a customer but the courier guy had just left. “Just let the package take the taxi!” A girl on my team said.
“Wait, what? You mean, just hail a cab, put the package in the taxi and send the package on its way?” What if it gets lost? ” I asked very suspiciously.
“Oh come on, this is Taiwan! Taxi driver won’t take your stuff. Just write down their registration number in case anything goes wrong. I’ve never had a problem.” She assured me.
Okay, not only is it convenient here, people seem to have a blind trust that everyone is so nice and kind. Are they? Well, for my colleague at least that seems to be the case. We sent the package on its way in a taxi, with the customer waiting for the package at its destination and fare for the taxi driver.
If you ask me, what is the reason that the city is so convenient? I would say that the convenience is a product of Taiwan’s democracy. Take Taipei for an example, Taipei City Mayor position is coveted by politicians for obvious reasons. As mayor of the capital, you get a lot of national attendance, and also a high chances of getting into the presidential race. I was living in Taipei prior to MRT time. I remembered taking the bus to work every morning, and it would take me sometimes up to 1.5 hours in commute. After the MRT began running, it would cut travel time down to half. From Chen Shui Bian, to Ma Ying Jeou, Hou Long Bing, to current mayor Ko Wen Jer. Regardles of the political party you support, it’s undeniable that they all contributed immensely to the advancement of the city. In the last 15 years, I can see how Taipei progressed to serve the people.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still aspects of the Taipei lifestyle that I think needs improvement. The garbage disposal system, for example, I just don’t get. It’s so inconvenient and annoying if you have to take out trash every night to the sound of the garbage truck. Or plastic bags – how is it that they are still very prevalent here. However, when it’s all said and done, all my complaints for Taipei goes away when I get to ride on the ubike to run my errands, or gets home on the MRT in 10 minutes.
Just like what I said to friends at dinner tonight, “Taipei is like the best kept secret of Asia…… shhhhh let’s not tell other people, just keep it between ourselves”
Taipei listed as a Best Asian City for Expats –