It’s a little late in the day, but it’s still Tuesday which means that I’m still on time with this blog. I like to give myself the whole day to get these done since sometimes I haven’t actually written anything when I wake up on Tuesday morning. This weekend I was so far up North that I didn’t even cell phone reception or an internet connection. You can forgive me if I was more concerned with lounging on a dock in the sun and drinking bourbon lemonade than I was with writing an blog for a few dozen people to read.

Please forgive me.

I beg of you.

Alright, we’re back to things about Taiwan that I wish I knew before getting there. The last time we discussed bringing water with you everywhere, not being afraid to sleep in sex hotels and also that fried chicken in Taiwan is amazing. What further adventures will we have this week?

20150729_124806Taiwan Has Some Cinematic History You’ve Never Heard About

While we were in the Beitou and Xinbeitou to enjoy the hotsprings, we found out about the fact that as Beitou grew in popularity (in large part due to the Japanese interest in the area due to its natural hotsprings, duh) it also became the backdrop for a number of films set in Taiwan. Even a bunch of popular songs in the past hundred years are basically just about how awesome Beitou is. Much like a lot of foreign market cinema with local appeal it seemed that a lot of these movies went for mass appeal and combined genres. So it wasn’t uncommon to have action and romance cross over (and maybe even comedy, without speaking the language it was hard to get a bead on if there was much comedy).

I tried really hard to remember some of the common traits that these movies shared, but I remember that they almost always had a protagonist who left his hometown, was reunited with a long-lost family member (often by discovering that they had matching birthmarks) and a scene where the love interest would pursue the protagonist (even if it meant ignoring all possible logic, like, being able to catch up to a train or something).

I can get behind basically any birthmark related storytelling. That’s really the one that stuck out for me. How common was birthmark related plot development that the people that put together a little display on the history of Taiwanese cinema felt the need to highlight it as an underlying trait of the entire country’s film output? Were audiences just like “oh man, I hope this movie has the old ‘birthmark twist’ in it, we love that one”.

Why don’t more American movies have matching birthmark story-lines?

20150731_163827The Core Pacific Living Mall Is A Piece of Garbage

So this great big mall is a thing that kept popping up on various lists of “things to do” in Taipei. It’s this 10+ story ball surrounded by a more traditional mall. Sounds great, right? A great big ball mall! What kind of amazing wonders will be inside?

Now here’s where it gets weird. If you’re expecting to find all sorts of entertainment and diversions, then you will be satisfied. There’s laser tag, big bubble soccer, a movie theater, like a full level of arcade machines and an indoor hockey rink (off the top of my head). There’s also a pretty big food court.

There’s also nobody there.

The entire place is more or less deserted, making it probably the biggest dirt mall in history. The big ball part is still open, but the rest of the mall is lined with closed up shops. I asked some locals about what the hell happened and basically the way they tell it is that when the CPC Living Mall opened in 2001 it was a a really big deal. Open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. And nobody cared. Eastern shopping culture likes small shops apparently, and going to a dozen or more locations to go shopping is just part of that culture. One stop shopping in giant mall is just not a thing that they’re used to. Core Pacific thought that if they built a cool enough mall they could bring about a more Westernized shift in shopping habits. They were pretty much wrong.

Every single night market we went to was absolutely overflowing with people. This mall? Ghost town.

So I mean, I guess you can go. I’m glad I saw it. And it was interesting to see something that would probably be a major draw here in North America fail spectacularly elsewhere in the world.

IMG_20150803_213400Always Pay Attention to Everything

You know what happens when you don’t? You miss this guy.

It would be an easy mistake to make, you’re in this crowded night market, you’re looking at hilariously poorly translated merchandise, you’re trying to figure out if the stinky tofu smell is actually IN the clothing you might be buying or just in the air around you or maybe you’re just trying to figure out how much wear and tear a pair of shoes that costs 8$ can endure. Then this guy rolls by and everyone is like “wow” and you missed it.

I don’t really have anything more to say about this modern day folk hero. Just that we saw him cruising around Kenting and that his gloves had the glowing circles of Iron Man’s repulsor blaster thing. Also, look at that horned helmet on the back, it’s just there, calling to you. You could ride with him. You could ride with him into history.

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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