Taipei in four acts: Scene IV

by on Thursday, 22 April 2010 7030 hits Comments
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IV - Leave

And then one day, early Morning, you find yourself in a taxi, crossing bridges above rivers you know by heart now – the city that once appeared so big, you now know every corner of it – eyes wide open you keep watching the long thin smoky river flow all around the city; you lift the window and smell the air, the sun has lit the surrounding mountains already and the tallest buildings drain the lights from the top, draw the vertical energy from the sun into the plain grid of the same tortuous streets you’ve been through the first day, it’s all the same story, you think, some people currently land at the airport, they’re gonna live here, they come back home after a trip, it all starts again, here, among men heading for the same normal day they’ve lived so many times, slowly moving under the warm energy from the sky, you know it and there’s no way you will settle down, that’s why you see it, the poetry of this world is not yours, made of customs and habits to whom its people are blind, of places they love and places they have to go to, of their moan and laughter; you will leave soon, you wish you could grab it whole forever.

Soon, at the airport, the flavor of the place will start fading, some foreign elements appear that hurt your sight every time, the foreigners like you, the uniforms that you will see in other places too, Cathay Pacific and Hong-Kong invite themselves in your memory, another city, another life, another poetry, even the traditional characters seem to have started travelling to Hong-Kong, a city maybe more obvious in its arrogant rhythm, you are almost not there anymore, you wish you would call home the other cities as well; you know you can’t; one city took your heart, strangely enough, without any reason, you wonder what you would write if you had to talk about the poetry of it in particular; the only thing that comes to your mind is that it’s not poetry, it’s magic, the raw feeling of a place that can both welcome you and keep you at a distance behind its smiles, the magic that starts with concrete and ugly buildings, that runs along the streets, that goes deep into the heart of everyone, that hides beneath the exotic trees and irrigates a multicultural life; the power of a place you can compare to many others, where you also see how it could be, what people decided to build and what ideas are at work, and that very power turns it into a dream a close world open to the outside though still dreaming on its own, suspended in time and history as few others, offering you the face of a fallen dream if you can grab it, a bitter feeling indeed, it was once lively and it froze, it disappeared over time and opportunities, and now, the blank future of all possible opens its face as your plane takes off already, so small, so decided, straight ahead against the wind, it’s not over yet, one last time you fly over it, above the clouds this time you see it diminish in the air, you see the path to the sea and you see the grid, it’s an old painting from the ancient culture that spreads before your eyes one last time, an old forgotten lavish of ink and paper, bitten by time and dust it is a picture but you understand you’ve been living in it, day after day, for some time, you’ve embraced its sharp reality and now it’s gone, time to take the road again, and the memories will follow.

(Photo: B. Girardot

For readers in mainland China:

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:34
Benoît Girardot

I'm Benoit, a French guy, arrived in Taiwan around 5 years ago, and it's already hard to remember what I did in my old life! Maybe I lived in Germany? I used to have a weird job, selling breast implants all around Asia, but I quit and am now learning Chinese. I love Taiwan, and I don't really have any words to describe why Taipei is such a cool city... so I'm taking pictures instead.

I have a blog about Taiwan, the idea is to get a deeper understanding of Taiwan-as a foreigner, with language barrier and all kinds of pre-conceived ideas, it is not always an easy task! I post a mic of pictures, videos, articles about the cool people and things I meet on the island! You're welcome to come have a look by yourself!


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