(view of Taipei from NCCU)
Taipei is this bustling city of crowded night markets, college campuses, food stalls and impromptu store fronts, an efficient metro rail transportation (MRT) system, children taking the frequent buses tearing through the city to get themselves to school or back home, & cram schools for every kind of test and academic subject you can think of, and after spending most of my time in the city, I get used to thinking of Taiwan as Taipei. Perhaps that’s why other Taiwanese friends from Taizhong, Kaohsiung, Tainan say that Taipei residents tend to think of themselves almost as their own entity…
I had the chance earlier in August to see Taiwan outside of Taipei, seeing glimpses of the tropical and semi-tropical beauty, the mountains (that would later inspire artists immigrated from China to begin painting the mountains of their new home), the sea, and the smaller towns. Even the Muzha district where my host university National Chengchi University is located is surprisingly peaceful, quiet, and has the feel of being nestled in a valley. I didn’t expect to be close to so much natural beauty on a daily basis when I decided to come to Taiwan, thinking only of the beautifully hectic and exciting big cities. I’m amazed at how so many wildly divergent kinds of beauty are crammed and juxtaposed onto this tiny island.
(JingMei creek and park, near NCCU)