Saturday, May 25, 2013

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Rooftop laundry drying in Taipei

5/25/2013 Taiwan Explorer
A view over Western Taipei from my apartment.

It's been a long wet winter and even a longer wetter spring, but today the sun came out and made Taipei look like a beautiful Mediterranean resort. Sure you can dispute "beautiful", but the Mediterranean part sounds about right. The fact that today is Saturday makes it that much better. So what are Taiwanese doing on such a beautiful day? Going to the beach? No. Going to the park or out of the city? Some. But most are doing something very ordinary: They dry their laundry on their rooftops. After so many months of rain and predominantly gloomy weather Taipeiers can finally wash and dry those huge bed cushions under the scorching sun, that seems to be priority today. Taiwanese are very practical people, that's one of the reasons that you'll see this phenomenon so widespread today. Another one is the fact that most Taipeiers live in relatively small apartments. Hanging clothes, let alone bed sheets, is always a big challenge due to lack of space or air flow.

Some people like me and my wife are lucky. We live in a new condo, and we have a huge communal area on top of the building, that's full with metal pillars and clotheslines where tenants hang their laundry. Here's a view on the neighboring apartment block, where it's less organized, but people find a way to make it work:

You can see how they use wooden ladders for support. Or just put stuff on the ground.

This looks pretty random, but it's still as functional as our area.

This is some heavy stuff. Let's hope we won't have one of those unexpected downpours.

Some Taipeiers don't have the luxury of a spacious rooftop, so they do it this way.

Some others, usually of older generation, are much bolder. They go out and find something in the public space that can be used for drying their clothes.

Public space is often used as an extension of one's typically small private space. This is very common in suburbs of bigger cities, less so in the commercial centers. Since almost everybody's doing it, it's part of the way of life in Taipei. Alright, I will stop here, I have to go out, I have some clothes to hang.