And Hsintien just has to be better, if only for its close proximity to Wulai. Lotus Hill sounds rather like New Garden City used to be 15~20 years ago, but with more and higher buildings.
New garden city? Where is that? If I later move to Taipei, I would go for something roughly like the place I have now, which is a house w garden in the suburbs. Wonder how many places like that there’s around.
New Garden City (Hua Yuan Xin Cheng) could be just the place for you, Mr. He. It’s out of the city up the hill on the road to Wulai, about ten minutes from Hsintien MRT station by car, motorbike or scooter. There are detached houses with gardens available, as well as terraced apartments with small gardens. It used to be very popular with foreigners, as it’s quite an easy journey from there to NTU. I lived there for 14 or so years, and was very fond of the place. It has fresh air, lots of greenery, good views of Taipei, and is well located for heading up to Wulai. The main problem is that it’s rather run-down now. The buildings are mostly pretty old – even the second wave of construction during the bubble economy years is now getting rather dilapidated, and many of the detached houses that were built then were never occupied or even completed – some are available very cheaply now, and if you’re a good hand at home decoration, could present very interesting possibilities. Its other main problem is the water supply: although it is very close to Feitsui Reservoir, it does not receive any water from it, but has to depend on a tiny creek that flows through the community. Even in normal summers, it often all but dries up, necessitating severe water rationing (sometimes the water gets cut off for all but a couple of hours a day). With the extremely dry weather of the last year or two, that problem has been especially bad. It is one of the reasons why they closed down the swimming-pool, which used to be a major attraction in the summer, and now that has become derelict and seems unlikely to ever be put to use again. When I was looking to buy a place of my own last year, I thought long and hard about staying there despite the water problem, but in the end decided that it was best to buy something brand new, so I very reluctantly moved away. I still miss it.
Did you ever know Peter, a Belgian guy and Christine, his Taiwanese wife? They also lived there for a long time. I used to go up there and shoot wedding photos…
Did you ever know Peter, a Belgian guy and Christine, his Taiwanese wife? They also lived there for a long time. I used to go up there and shoot wedding photos…[/quote]
That half rings a bell, so he might have been someone I occasionally talked to on the bus before I took to using a motorbike. Was he a tall guy who looked like a body-builder and was fond of jogging?
Yes, it was always a popular place for wedding photos – but I don’t recall ever seeing any being shot by a foreigner (which would have been sure to catch my attention). No wonder you have such a rich store of photographs, Blueface!
Not Peter. Fond of beer, Yes!
Ah, the mods have given New Garden City a thread of its own – the very least it deserves, I’m sure!
Are any other Forumosans current or erstwhile residents of that delightful little hillside community? Or sometime visitors, à la Blueface?
[quote=“Blueface”]Did you ever know Peter, a Belgian guy and Christine, his Taiwanese wife? They also lived there for a long time. I used to go up there and shoot wedding photos…
Peter and Christine went back to Belgium a couple of years ago. Apparently he’s doing OK there, but I sure miss the … er… extensive herbology he grew on his balcony.
I miss the place occupied variously by Jaques-Ives Gigarol, Scott Pando and George Soler up there, too – the only Scandinavian wood-burning stove I’ve seen in Taiwan used to make visiting their place in winter a real pleasure.
Peter and Christine went back to Belgium a couple of years ago. Apparently he’s doing OK there, but I sure miss the … er… extensive herbology he grew on his balcony. [/quote]
Yeah…I was in Holland I talked them on the phone a couple of times…they were living in Antwerp. Met Peter when we were living off JinMen St back…'87? I met Christine when she was working as the barmaid in the Post Home.
And Peter still has my complete Pogues collection on CD!!!
I miss the place occupied variously by Jaques-Ives Gigarol, Scott Pando and George Soler up there, too – the only Scandinavian wood-burning stove I’ve seen in Taiwan used to make visiting their place in winter a real pleasure.[/quote]
A wood-burning fireplace? Tell me more!!!
If I didn’t hate moving (I’m determined not to move out of my place before I leave Taiwan) and it wasn’t that far away from the MRT, I’d move to Huayuan Xinsheng rather today than tomorrow. A friend of mine lives there, on 11th floor of that one tall building from which half of the apartments overlook Taipei (without the noise and the pollution) and the other half have about the greatest view I’ve ever seen that close to a big city: right into the mountains. I’ve only been there twice, but I enjoyed every moment of it: the silence, the clean air, the fact that you can step out of the door and actually go for a walk, and it’s green around you. My friend actually tried to talk me into renting one of the smaller apartments in her building which is empty right now. But as she’ll leave next year and I as non-motorized single feel more comfortable closer to the MRT, it doesn’t really make sense for me to move . If only I could talk my boyfriend into living in Taiwan with me
Yeah, lots of waigwos have lived there over the years. Quite damp and mildewy pressed against that hill though. They have loads of problems with that.
When I was looking for a place to buy, I gave some consideration to a couple of flats in that building. In the end, I decided that I’d be better off with something brand new (and, in particular, built with a steel structure that’s likely to provide better earthquake resistance), otherwise I might well have bought there. You’re absolutely right about the view, fresh air and lovely surroundings there, and it’s as good a place to keep a dog or dogs as anywhere so close to the city. There are several foreigners living in that building – but apparently no fellow Forumosans.
Yes, New Garden City is much less attractive if you don’t have your own transport. The bus service is very poor: it’s a vicious circle – there are too few buses, so most people use their own transport rather than taking the buses, so the bus company is losing money and reduces the service, prompting more people give up on the buses. They pared the service to an unacceptable minimum just before I left there. Although I generally rode my motorbike or scooter down to the Hsintien MRT station, which has a large underground car park that is free of charge for two-wheelers, I liked to be able to take the bus when the weather was lousy or when I just felt like sitting and reading the paper on the journey. Going down was okay, because they stuck to the schedule quite closely, but coming back was the real problem. You couldn’t be sure what time the bus would come by, and if you just missed one (so often it was disappearing into the distance just as I came out of the MRT), you’d have to wait 30 or 40 minutes for the next one. There are no nice shops or other places to hang out in there, so it was really unpleasant to stand at the roadside for all that time breathing in the choking pollution and sweating buckets in sultry weather.
But I sure miss all the trees, those lovely hills, and the many good places for walking around there.
It is very, very damp indeed. That is a huge drawback. But I imagine it wouldn’t be so bad living on one of the higher floors of the big building that Iris mentioned. When I lived in a ground-floor flat for a couple of years, the damp was appalling. The landlord provided a couple of large industrial dehumidifiers, which I needed to keep on most of the time. I’d empty the water from them before I went out for the day, and they’d be full to the top by the time I got back. When I went away for a couple of weeks, I returned to find the wooden floor and my bedding, among other things, covered in thick black mould. For a while (after I moved out of that place), every single ground floor apartment in that section of road was empty, presumably because no one could bear to put up with such dampness. But at least it was nowhere near as bad as that above ground.