Travel / pandemic

upon completion of 3+4 quarantine

July 12, 20222 min read
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function
F. Scott Fitzgerald

observations after exiting 3+4 quarantine July 2022

Taipei: 998 out of 1000 people wear masks outside. Tightly, not only fully covering noses but without any gaps whatsoever. More like surgeons entering a clean room, than urban scooter riders or construction workers toiling in 95-degree heat. One must be some kind of sociopath to consider showing one's mouth to strangers. Sure, mandatory temperature checks and hand sprays are important before entering an enclosed space, and registering your contact details is useful for test-and-trace.

New York: masks are obviously "hygiene theater" especially outside, where UV light, fresh air, and distance mean that coronavirus becomes difficult to spread. One must be some kind of freak to keep a mask on while talking to other parents in the schoolyard. (Or maybe you're just an immigrant bike delivery guy, who can't afford to miss work if sick, and then it's okay to keep the cloth mask tight.) Your phone has privacy-preserving exposure notifications turned on, and it's rational to ignore them as they're not actionable.


I walked around Taipei after dark last night. The bus didn't come as scheduled per Google, and I chose to walk 8 minutes rather than wait 30 minutes for the next bus. I felt zero physical menace on city streets after dark, mainly because I saw lots of adult females out and about. Maybe they were getting fast food, or waiting for the bus, or checking out a bicycle.

In New York, you almost never see Asian women walking around, alone and after dark. Spotting a lone Asian woman after dark would be as notable as spotting an owl.


Taiwan legalized gay marriage less than 10 years ago. There was much Sturm und Drang then, with the fall of civilization imminent. ICYMI—society did not fall apart. People are free to pursue their lives: eat good food, go hiking, marry same-sex partners, get manly haircuts and wear boxy clothing.


Bookstores are still common. Flashback to the 90s.

TaipeiJuly 2022competing thoughtsowl spottingfreedom with Taiwanese characteristics
長話短說 (short + sweet):
Thanks for reading, anon!