29 Apr 2023 | Works
A little garden in the sky
You have probably seen images of Taipei that look like this one. Beautiful, right?
Well, this crazy skyline here is the real Taipei.
It’s the view that we had on our most recent trip, from our hotel room on the 12th floor of a modern skyscraper in Zhongshan.
Take a closer look. You’ll see little houses built on top of high-rises, metal roofs and aged concrete.
And in the middle of it all, a crazy little rooftop garden. A plant lover was taken over the space and filled every available square inch of the roof with potted plants. They have created a little oasis in the sky.
It’s not a beautiful skyline, not as polished as you’d expect a capital city to look like. Taipei is in an in-between state. Modern skyscrapers next to concrete blocks from 40 years ago, next to small houses that are even older. Every time I go back, it has changed a little. Something new has replaced something old.
One day, the city will look like what a big, beautiful capital city is supposed to look like, but I worry that it may also lose its authenticity and Taiwanese spirit.
There’s a famous song from the 1970s, Taipei Sky.
The lyrics go like this:
The sky of Taipei has my young smile And the corner where we rest and share The sky of Taipei is always in our hearts How many years of wind and rain I only wish to spend with you
When I see this messiness, I know: this is the city where I grew up.
Just like this song: the city has my smile from my youth. It has carried me through for decades.
I feel very touched when I look at this view.
The metal roofs, dirty tiles, water tanks on the buildings, crazy rooftop gardens. Not a lot of people would call this beautiful. But what I see is a strong spirit. You see a real city which strives, struggles, doesn’t give up, just goes on.
It doesn’t matter if you think it’s ugly or beautiful. Taipei City stays in your heart.