Just got back from a few days on the west coast. The longer I live in Taitung 台東, the more difficult it is to imagine life on the other side of Taiwan. The traffic in Taichung 台中 was HORRIFYING.
It's hard to imagine living in a place with so many people, all wanting the same things and trying to squeeze into the same places. It would be so difficult to save money in Taichung. There would always be another cool restaurant to visit, or a new pub, or a department store. You'd always hear people talking about the newest hot spot, and it would be hard not to care. Before you knew it, you'd be fighting the crowd with the rest.
Saw a couple Taiwanese friends in Taichung on Sunday. They seemed very happy, and were talking about getting married next year. They took us to a pizza restaurant, and I had a great time. I just wonder about how they see the world. Always competing, always arguing, always fighting against the crowd. It would be a hard way to live - at least in the beginning. I used to thrive on that sense of competition. Maybe I am getting old now. Or maybe it's just Taitung.
But it's not that the west coast is all bad. Yunlin 雲林 was the same as ever, and I was grateful to see that there are still pockets of tranquility in even the noisiest city. I could see myself living somewhere like Douliou 斗六. It's big enough to be convenient, but not so big that the more countrified elements have been displaced.
One thing about the big city - women there are very forward. I was waiting to go to the bathroom in a pub, and this woman ran her hand over my stomach as she walked past. When I looked up she was looking right back into my eyes, and it was very difficult to look away. Being a good husband would be harder over there, I think.
I look forward to going back to the west coast, but I am always happy to come back east. The west coast definitely has its good points, but I'll take visiting the west coast over living there. I think this is one of the great advantages to living where I do: I can enjoy the best of both worlds.