The 85th floor of the Taipei 101. Looking out the window, it doesn’t seem so tall. A blanket of smoky grey clouds rest just above a clear view of the city below. Veins of golden light cut through its black, pulsating urban heart. Someone at the table tonight said that the lights below shimmered like diamonds. I can see that.
It looks cold outside, but there’s really no way to tell. I heard there were a lot of trees in Taiwan; there are. The scenery in the distance is beautiful. Misty green mountains straight from those old Chinese paintings meditate in the distance.
Of course, looking down at anything from a great height adds an element of beauty to it. But, when the initial moments of awe pass, I find myself standing there alone in silence with my hands shoved deep in my pockets, and I start to notice the buildings here are stained with soot. Boxy AC units hang precariously from great heights. Rows of white undershirts dry on balconies. Maybe this is the real Taiwan. At least the people here are nice, nicer than the people in Hanoi. I don’t know. After I travel to Tainan tomorrow, I’ll understand more.
I feel so far removed from reality, standing on one side of a pane of industrial strength glass, looking out onto an entire city. I ask myself if this was intended to make a person feel privelaged, or to make them feel even more isolated from the rest of the world.
I go to the bathroom to take a piss and collect my thoughts. The wall behind the urinal is a floor-to-ceiling glass window. It was the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen while taking a piss. I was almost grateful.