Taipei Traffic

Back in the early 2000s I worked for a Taiwanese company (Acer) and travelled reasonably frequently to Taiwan. At the time I blogged a little on a site called H2G2 – the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition – inspired by the late, great Douglas Adams. The following is a post I made about my experiences in Taipei – specifically with the chaotic traffic in Taipei[1].

As I work for a Taiwanese company (Acer Computer), I have the pleasure of visiting Taipei once or twice a year. Each time I go there I have to remind myself of some of the subtle differences between Eastern and Western cultures – such as the traffic. It constantly amazes me that in all the visits I have made to Taiwan, I have only seen a small number of minor traffic accidents.

This amazes me simply because the traffic there can only be described as chaotic.

An interesting phenomenon is that most intersections have a series of white lines painted on the road, parallel to the kerb, and extending from one side of the road to the other. They look suspiciously like the lines we’d call a pedestrian crossing, only they must mean something else. Probably something like “objects bigger and made of larger quantities of metal have right of way”.

Line markings on the roads themselves are also unique. In Australia, we generally separate lanes using lines to mark out the lanes. In Taiwan its just a little different. The road between the lines is certainly considered a lane, but the lines themselves also appear to be a lane. Magically, the Taiwanese seem to get 5 traffic lanes into a space we would get three.

The centre lines between traffic can be interesting too. Traffic from both directions seem equally able to take advantage of this zone.

Changing lanes can be an adventure in itself, especially if you are in the middle and need to turn a corner.

Learner-drivers in the west are generally advised to leave at least 2–3 car lengths from the car in front. Few of us are perfect in sticking strictly to this rule, but in Taiwan leaving such space would cause only a moments confusion. Then, 2–3 cars from the next lane would quickly fill the space, as well as 2–3 of the cars riding in between lanes.

This is bad enough, but if you happen to be in the middle lane of three, this would mean that 8–12 cars would be jostling into the spots.

And then there’s the scooters……

The scooters seem to have the right to fill in any space that the driver of another vehicle seems to have left unused. Somehow the earlier rule of right of way does not seem to apply.

I have worked out the traffic out system in Taipei. Its actually really quite simple – the laws of physics have been waived so that the laws of traffic can be waived accordingly. This means that when 9–12 cars, plus a couple of dozen scooters converge on a single lane, they get away with it because there is an anomaly that allows multiple material objects to occupy the same point in the space/time continuum.

There is simply no other explanation.

Taipei traffic

Image by Flickr user chialinshih Taipei traffic | chialinshih | Flickr


  1. The original post was made on 17 Nov 1999, making it a pretty darn early blog-post.  ↩
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The Flyer and the Flower

The Flyer and the Flower

The Flyer and the Flower by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Made during our recent trip to Singapore, this image shows two of the iconic sights around the Downtown Core of this beautiful city.

On the left is the Singapore Flyer, the second largest ferris wheel in the world.

On the right is the fabulous ArtScience Museum, which was built to resemble the shape of a lotus flower. While we were there we particularly enjoyed the ‘NASA: A Human Journey’ exhibition.

The ArtScience Museum is part of the beautiful Marina Bay Sands area. In many ways the ArtScience Museum visually and functionally represents Singapore itself – a unique blend of modern science and traditional culture.

This image was made in the mid-afternoon, and a circular polariser was a key part of creating it.

View this image on 500px or Flickr

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night

Downtown Core by Night by Des Paroz on 500px.com

 

 

Singapore’s Downtown Core is the CBD of the city, built around the visually spectacular Marine Bay.

The Bay is a freshwater reservoir, ensuring generally smooth surfaces for reflections from the picturesque city at night.

As usual, blue hour is very much my favourite time to shoot, and this image was created from a single RAW file, and processed using a couple of quick steps in Luminar.

Singapore is certainly one of the most spectacular destinations for cityscape photography.

Triple Sands and Double Helix

Triple Sands and Double Helix by Des Paroz on 500px.com

 

 

Singapore is an incredibly photogenic city, with so many interesting sites to see and capture.

One great area to spend time is around the Marina Bay area. The architecture here is spectacular, with some of the more interesting examples including the Marina Bay Sands complex (the three buildings ‘connected’ by a ‘ship’ on the roof, and the famous Double Helix pedestrian bridge, seen in this image.

Marina Bay itself is fascinating, with the entire bay having been dammed and converted into a freshwater reservoir, providing an important alternative freshwater source for the city-state.

As a key part of the Singapore ‘downtown core’ area, Marina Bay is an area worth exploring for the travelling photographer.

This image was created in the late afternoon, as I was scouting around for angles for sunset/golden hour/blue hour imagery. With the use of a polariser and ND filters, and some minor post processing in Luminar, I am very happy with the image.

Cooking in Seminyak

Balinese Cooking Class at The Amala

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Bali 2016 432

 

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Afterwards we returned to the Amala, to an open air under-cover kitchen by the pool that had been carefully prepared with a stunning array of fresh spices and other ingredients. Our selected fish was taken away for cleaning and cutting. After a welcome drink, we were then guided through the preparation and cooking of ingredients, starting with the ‘Base Gede’ (spicy chilli paste), and continuing with Lawar Salad (green bean and chicken), Tum Ikan (main course steamed fish in banana leaf) and ‘Dadar Gulung’ (coconut pancake dessert).

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At the end we received a certificate, the recipes of the dishes prepared, and were able to keep our aprons. Of course, the real reward was the wonderful experience we enjoyed.

This half day experience was a superb opportunity to be guided through the preparation of what was a 5 star, 3 course meal by a master chef in a spectacular location.

We would go back to Seminyak just to do another cooking class with Wayan.