Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer Night Exploring

Summer nights in Taichung are much cooler than the blazing hot daytime humidity. Plus, because of jet lag, I wasn't going to bed anytime soon. So this evening after a quick dinner catching up with a friend, I decided to ride my scooter around town to see what changes I'd see in a year's time.

In Taichung it's not uncommon to see small mom-and-pop family businesses open and close within a matter of months. So I wasn't too surprised to see that the scooter shop where I bought my scooter 5 years ago (and swapped owners 3 times while I was here)  is now closed with the space being absorbed by a electronic appliances chain store.

The large Wellcome grocery store near my old apartment has now leased part of their building to a pharmacy.

A huge new park has opened.. never too many of these in a city of over 1 million.

Near the neighborhood where I use to live stands a giant new Carrefour (Taiwan's French equivalent of "Super Walmart"). It lies not even a quarter mile away from where the old one continues to do a brisk business.

I observed at least THREE new Starbucks in a city that already had no lack of them. So I guess the coffee craze that hit the island around 8 years ago certainly isn't just a passing fad!

In light of all these changes, it was nice to bump into a few stall-keepers and store workers that remembered me. I'm looking forward to opportunities for follow-up conversations these next 4 weeks.

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