I have some catching up to do so I think I'll begin with a note that I received from Sarj Bloom recently. He was on one of those mental strolls down memory lane that we all make from time to time and he describes what he saw:
OK, here's a trip down Chung Shan Pae Lu that I have been taking in my mind. I'm headed south past the compound where the PX is located. On the left, the next place I see is the Linkou Club. As usual, there is a line of pedicabs waiting for GIs to transport.
I go on farther down the street and now on the left is a Tailor Shop. this is where I got a sports jacket made and a dozen white shirts. I was still into Ivy League stuff and still prefer short sleeve white shirts with button down collars. Now these shirts, if you remember, had a button in the back also. I think the shirts cost like $2 each? Maybe it was less; I just know it was cheap.
OK, now past the tailor shop and down the street some and there on the right is the Datsun "Blue Bird" factory. It was sort of a secret that Datsun was the company, maybe because it was still too soon after WWll. Now these cars were the number one choice for taxis and I tell you they drove those things like kamikazes flying up and down the streets. At night, like the city buses, they drove without their lights. I was told they did so to save electricity. I only rode in one taxi while I was there. I had a car and if I didn't want to drive I took a pedicab. I never did have enough nerve to take a city bus. I wonder if anyone reading this ever took a city bus in those days?
OK, now we are at the alley on the right side of the street again that goes back to the Navy Club and across the street on the left I see the bake shop where I used to buy cakes. This bakery had sacks of flour on the with a picture of two hands shaking and the words, "From the people of the
I'm not certain that this is geographically correct but that is how I remember it and I believe it was all within a mile of two at the most. I wonder if anyone agrees with this.
I believe the street is called Sung Shan North Road today. But I know for sure that back in the 70s I could tell any taxi driver in the city to take me to "Shung Shan Pae Lu," as you said, and he'd take me straight to the compound area. Of course the fact that I was an American, and obviously military, probably helped him figure out where I wanted to go. If I'd told him to take me to San Francisco, he'd probably have nodded his head and gone straight to the compound.
I don't think there were any pedicabs still around when I was there. Taxis were the primary mode of travel, though several of my friends took buses from time to time. As inexpensive as taxis were (to us) the buses were far cheaper -- just a few NT, as I recall.
I remember taxi drivers turning off their headlights (and sometimes their engines) whenever they had to stop at an intersection. I figured it was to extend the life of the headlights but always wondered if turning them on and off all the time didn't actually reduce it.
I sure remember the ivy league style shirts, and many of my shirts still have buttons on the tabs. I don't think any of them still have the button in the back though. We used to call them "Dobie Gillis shirts" when I was a teenager.
I was never at the Navy Club, nor do I recall any of the navy guys mentioning it when I was in Taipei. The R&R flights had ended by 1973 so local military guys would probably have been about their only customers, assuming they were still in business at that location. Does anyone have a photo of the exterior of the Navy Club? If so, send it to me and I'll be happy to post it.