One day while in Taiwan, Iris and I saw this robot re-directing traffic. Powered by a car battery, it waved its arms constantly and neither pissed in the street nor made lewd suggestions to my girlfriend.
We had gone to visit her aunt and uncle who live just outside Taipei proper. After stuffing ourselves on a Taiwan feast of stinky tufo, shrimp, greens, and tropical fruit, they invited us for a walk outside.
There is a kind of middle-aged Asian attitude towards the outdoors that reminds me of Victorian England: strolls out somewhere with a view of green are a favored pastime. We walked down along path above a river but below the flood dykes. All along there were courts and sports fields. The path itself was forbidden to motor vehicles, but as it was a weekday there were few bicycles to be seen (or anyone else, for that matter).
In the distant haze of the city, we could just make out the form of Taipei 101. Three small boys rode training wheeled, tiny, Giant bicycles in an enclose concrete circle, alternately racing and ramming each other as their parents watched.
Several individuals and groups rode by on rental bikes painted pale blue.…