How Deep Can You Bleep?

Beneath the streets of Zhonghe
Beneath the streets of Zhonghe.

It was another drizzly, downcast morning in New Taipei 新北. I went and had breakfast at a small shop fronting onto 823 Memorial Park 八二三紀念公園 (Chinese Wikipedia), a rare scrap of green space sandwiched between Yǒnghé 永和 and Zhōnghé 中和. Named to commemorate the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, the park is pleasant enough, but I was soon back on the streets in search of answers.

For whatever reason I keep taking note of construction sites in the area. This is something I often do wherever I go—but I am particularly fascinated by how much is accomplished in so little room here in one of the most crowded parts of Taiwan. This particular hole appeared on a side street just outside Yongan Market Station 永安市場站. The workers were idling nearby, breaking for lunch, wryly amused at my curiosity. Despite there being hardly any room to turn around there were scooters whizzing by, almost oblivious to this gaping hole in the street.

Taking advantage of a momentary break in traffic I leaned over to capture a quick photo to memorialize the occasion. Something about the scene really captured my mood, strange as that sounds. I am still transitioning from suburban North America to the crushing confines of this endless city. Every day feels more meaningful than it really is—probably because I haven’t settled down and established a new routine. In this liminal space even ordinary sights like this hole in the ground seem somehow significant and pregnant with meaning.