Saturday, April 14, 2018

Walking in Taipei can be an annoyance

If you have ever been to Taipei you know it can be busy, but not as busy as other Asian metropolises. Therefore it becomes a frustrating annoyance when trying to walk anywhere in the city because people often get in your way regardless if you're walking fast, slow or make an attempt to circumnavigate them.

Smart phones and scooters have a large part to play in this issue, people are addicted to using their smart phones in Taiwan and when you walk past people on the street a large percentage of them are still playing their phone games even as they're walking while at the same time not paying attention to their surroundings. If the phone zombies walk into you because they're unaware of paying attention, then they'll give you a look as if to say, "why the hell didn't you move?!?!"

The worst incident I have seen of this lately was upon trying to exit a lift, someone steps out before but only takes one step; after that one step they just stand directly in front of the exit from the lift. No one could get past the guy, and no one trying to get out of the lift wanted to tell him to move or barge through him. The lift people tried to politely squeeze past without causing any kind of scene, or fuss but under their breath they were surely wondering why the guy decided to just stand in front of the exit from the lift and not move.

Now there is nothing wrong with the guy stepping out the lift and playing phone games that is not really an issue normally, but for this guy to either have no awareness or just not care that no one could get out of the lift because of him all to enable him to continue his phone game is a sad reflection of the selfish way the world is headed. All he needed to do was take one or two steps more then he wouldn't be blocking the exit from the lift.

And this kind of action is replicated all over the city when you're trying to go for a walk, people block the way a lot of the time and seem to either lack simple basic awareness of their surroundings or not care that they persistently block the way. If you charge right, somehow they'll amble right, if you charge left, they'll amble left. It often feels intentional but I don't believe it is.

The other problem is the parked scooters, as a scooter owner I likely add to this problem from time to time too. Scooters in Taipei are parked everywhere, and it could easily be said that people getting in the way of each other is linked to the parked scooters. The scooters bump up onto the path and therefore suddenly the space on the path becomes more limited, which is a bit tragic because a lot of the shops have already built out claiming part of the path belongs to their shop and built on it. This leaves people about 3-5 feet of path to share so it's no coincidence that people often block each others way.

A lot cannot be done about the lack of space or how many people there are in Taipei, however people's lack of awareness in regards to their surroundings and what is going on is causing the walking issues. The thing that baffles me is this - are phone games that important in life that they have to be played even when walking? Just knock the game off, plop the phone in your pocket and look where you are walking. Then you might realise people are nearly walking into you, your're blocking exits or escalators or just being a general nuisance.

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