A Rusty Old Mailbox in Jingmei

Mailbox on the mountainside next to Jingmei
A mailbox on the mountainside in Jingmei, Taipei.

I’ve always been a fan of gritty textures, peeling paint, rusting metal, and the like. Taiwan is a kind of twisted paradise in this regard—there’s so much rundown stuff to explore and capture on film. Case in point: what we have here is an old mailbox emblazoned with the Chinese word for the same: xìnxiāng 信箱. You may notice, however, that the text reads right-to-left, the more traditional way. It isn’t at all uncommon to walk down a street and see layouts that go in either direction—but you can bet that anything written right-to-left is old (or seeking to evoke a sense of age). I’ve asked many Taiwanese people how they know which direction to read text in and have only heard, at best, vague answers—you’ll just know.

I chanced upon this mailbox near the bottom of Xiānjīyán Hiking Trail 仙跡岩親山步道 in Jǐngměi 景美, one of the nicest small hikes in southern Taipei 台北. At the western terminus of the trail network there are a number of old homes perched on the mountainside that are accessible only by climbing a long flight of stairs. It is here, on one of these old homes, that I found this mailbox.