Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Getting Around In Taipei (Updated)

Dennis came back with more information on each of his photos and I'm adding those in brackets after my previous remarks.

Dennis McNelis was assigned to ASA in the TDC building during 1973-1974. Unlike some of us, Dennis took quite a few pictures during his tour and I've posted a number of them previously. He just sent me a few more, showing how most folks traveled around in those days, and I'll be posting the rest in the days ahead.

Next to walking, taxis were the main mode of transportation for some of us. They were inexpensive and available most anywhere in town. I may be wrong, but I believe that just to the right is the bridge that crossed the river on the way to the Grand Hotel and the China Seas enlisted club (Club 63).

[This pic should be known by all of us. It is right across from the Zoo on Zhong Shan N Rd heading north from the Compounds just before the bridge that crosses the river toward the Grand Hotel and 63 Club (China Seas). To the left would be the road that led to the entrance of the TDC and to the right would be heading north. This is looking West.]

More taxis here, along with motorcycles and bicycles. Dennis mentioned that he owned a motorcycle that he drove all around the city. (Yikes!) I wonder if bicycles still venture out onto the streets of Taipei?

[This is on Min Quan Road East on The East side of Zhong Shan Road N.]

Another cab here. I think this is in Tien Mou where many military families resided.

[This is in the Shih-Lin area just west of the Grand Hotel. It might be at the intersection of Hougang St, 5th Ave and Chengde Sec 4 Rd 80 Ln or 58 Ln. The area is so built up it is hard to tell (I am using MSN Maps for street names and Google Earth for locations then crossing referencing both. Google Earth road names are in Chinese).]


Anonymous said...

Those old Taxis only had three forward gears if I remember correctly. They'd really struggle if you took one up Grass Mountain and would cause the old soldier driving it to curse and spit betel nut juice everywhere.

They also had doors that opened only when the driver decided you'd paid up (like Japan) where the driver would swing it open on a hinge. If you were unlucky the door would also open of it's own accord, especially on a sharp bend. It was not unknown that someone fell out.

Back in the '70s most people drove low powered motorcycles and scooters. Families would squeeze three generations onto a scooter. For sure there are no less scooters on the road today and more worryingly there are now motocycles greater than the 150cc (?) limit that was imposed for so long. And actually, even some of the little bikes can really accelerate fast. You don't want to knock one down in a car either as Taiwan law tends to be sympathetic to the motocyclist.

Also, motorcylces now have to park in dedicated areas, so no more maze of scooters to work your way through as you wander down the pavement. It has certainly made the city look more orderly but makes finding a motocycle parking bay a real challenge.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention the following about taxis: White wollen gloves, fragrant gardenia bulbs, religious icons hanging from the rear view mirror, doors opening at the traffic lights to expel betel nut juice, beaded seat covers and finally "deep freeze air conditioning" which was the last thing you needed as you got off the streets dripping in sweat.

Sarj Bloom said...

Comments about traffic. 1960 thru '63 we didn't have a lot of taxis but a lot of peddy cabs and bicycles. Both sides of my car were scratched up from bikes rubbing against the car on the small streets.
I don't know if any of you remember but the cabs and city buses would run at night without lights. I was told they did so to save gas. Really!
Taxi drivers that ran lights etc. were usually taken from the car and beat by the police. I actually saw this happen.
I had a friend who was on SP shore patrol and he was had a FAP foreign affairs police , partner. His name was Tim and he was a tall very hanssome chinese man. One day outside Club Linkou I had a dsbute with a peddy cab man and Tim intervened and stuck a gun to his head. WOW I thought they take things too serious over her.