In north-east Taiwan there’s former mining town called Jiufen. Perched on the side of a hill overlooking hills and ocean, it’d be a gorgeous spot regardless of what else was placed there.
Today, the town is known for two main things: Old Street and teahouses.
Old Street barely a street. Really a narrow alley lined with shops of all kinds, weaving up, down, and along, packed with people. It’s quite an experience. The multiple teahouses along the way are notable for their view of course, but one in particular is known for something else. For many years people suspected it was the inspiration for the teahouse in Spirited Away. While there’s certainly a resemblance, Miyazaki himself has denied the rumor. However, it’s a gorgeous building in its own right, and eminently Instagrammable.
People move like a fluid. A slow, viscous fluid. There’s no order to the flow. At one moment the right half moves in the direction I’m going, the a few steps later, it’s the left half. Occasionally, like oblivious rocks in a stream, knots of people stop in place to gawk at something, and the whole works grinds to a halt. It’s traffic, pre-automobile style.