I don’t find Taipei to be an especially attractive city.

Severe tower blocks stand too close to each other, coated in chipped, dirtied tiles, and narrow strips of crowded pavement are lined with scooters and food stalls. Windows are barred, and air conditioning units protrude intermittently from the façade of every flat surface. Everything is grey, steel and sticky.

But by night, the concrete slabs are coloured pink, green, blue and yellow, and overbearing hanging hoardings glow brightly, with shops blaring pop music, while scooters and taxis honk repeatedly as they weave through the crowds, their headlights sending long shadows flying along the road. The throngs slide in and out of each other, and as you look in each direction along the grid, the colours mingle and bounce as you walk.

As the madness flows around you, small tableaux play out; conversations, confrontations, exchanges and smiles, set against the thriving backdrop of the city and the blue and purple skies, and the high rises, bikes and heat don't matter.


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