This afternoon I snapped this photograph of the seemingly crazy plumbing job beneath a sink in the bathroom of a breakfast shop in Keelung 基隆. It was a hit on Facebook with many people sharing the photo to their own feeds. Some compared it to the work of M.C. Escher, others suggested this shop is stealing water, and one friend weighed in to say it’s an unsightly yet sensible design. Many foreigners in Taiwan 台灣 have a sardonic catch phrase for this kind of half-assed job: chabuduo 差不多, which translates to “almost” or “nearly”. (Apparently Taiwanese people don’t use this phrase in a negative context. Perhaps it is only laowai slang?) Maybe this crazy system of pumps and pipes serves its purpose—but it certainly looks like madness to the inexpert eye!
Taiwan 台灣 is absolutely mad for scooters, a consequence of high population density, tightly cramped streets, and the expense and inconvenience of driving a car. Everywhere you go you’ll find streets lined with parked scooters and filled with scooterists going about their business. In can all seem like absolute chaos to outsiders—but there is a method to the madness, and the convenience factor regularly seduces skeptical westerners into the scooter lifestyle, particularly when living outside of Taipei 台北.
One unusual feature of Taiwanese scooters are the cheeky stickers commonly found on the body. These stickers typically feature the make and model of the scooter—but for reasons unknown to me, poorly translated slogans full of Chinglish are also common, particularly on older scooters. About a year ago I chanced upon a link to a collection of scooter stickers published by Jonathan Biddle way back in 2005. Shortly thereafter I began documenting some of the more intriguing examples of scooter stickers I found in my travels, mostly around Changhua 彰化. This post contains 17 of the more interesting examples I have collected in this time.