The last thing you will ever see in Taipei is David Carradine in a leather mask, accelerating towards you.
I've been in Taiwan for almost a week now, and it's been fun. I meant to take a camera out with me on the streets of Taipei last night while out for dinner with my host (until recently resident in Edinburgh herself), but forgot, a slip that can probably be put down to a general state of jetlag and fatigue. Two quick observations: Taiwan is the Land that Building Regulations Forgot, and crossing the road feels a bit like taking part in a spontaneous, nationally-networked Flashmob re-enactment of key scenes from Death Race 2000. People here don't see stop lights so much as regulations, more as laughable impositions on their personal liberty.
I brought my laptop with me in case I got a chance to write. Surprise surprise, this blog entry is the first time I've managed it. Under the circumstances, expect entries to be sporadic until early November, by which time I'll have returned.
Yesterday involved a couple of hours trawling around a district almost entirely dedicated to the selling of computer components, followed by dinner near the riverside. I'm keeping my eyes out for the Asus EEEpc, a commercially available alternative to the 'One Laptop Per Child' machine, although according to at least one guy we spoke to the other night, when it's released here in Taipei in a couple of days it'll be going for twice the originally announced price of about two hundred US dollars, making it rather less appealing than it had been.
The view from the previous entry, by the way, is out of the living room of the flat I'm staying in, and into an alleyway. I'm in an area more or less equidistant between two universities, and a lot of students live around here, apparently. I'm somewhere off the Shui-Yuan Road, which I think is the name of a behemoth raised motorway like something off of a Halo 2 level I played a while back.
More later. In the meantime, it's time I got round to recommending an online radio station I've been listening to a lot while writing, called Soma FM. Yes, I know I said I find music too interfering for me to write, but the 'groove salad' playlist on the aforementioned site consists entirely of that very Nineties, very 'chilled' kind of stuff, all echoey keyboards, flutes and so on, that keeps my ears entertained without distracting me from the stuff I'm trying to write. And, I've found, has the added bonus of cutting down on extraneous distractions and allowing me to focus entirely on the fiction. At some point I'll have to start writing about WriteRoom and Q10 (for Mac and PC respectively), being full-screen text editors that blank out the screen, leaving nothing but the words to concentrate on; particularly effective if you're writing at night, in the dark. It's just you and the words.