Holy noise pollution, Batman!

[This was written a couple weeks ago. Since we’ve been too busy to do anything worth writing about, I’m posting it now.]

Are there noise laws here? I have my doubts.

All cities are noisy. Pretty much all urban dwellers hear the rumble of traffic seeping through their doors and windows on a consistent basis. It’s background noise that you just tune out. But I think Yonghe – our city in Taipei district – takes it to a new level. Population density + lack of noise laws = Holy noise pollution, Batman!

We were deceived by Chinese New Years, during which time the city empties out with everyone traveling. It didn’t look that way at the time… seemed like a healthy population level was still here to us! We just figured lots of shops were closed and everyone was taking it easy, and didn’t expect it would be much different after New Years (aside from dumplings and intestine soup being offered in more locations). But I noticed something was different when, for couple mornings in a row, I woke up to see Jessica trying to sleep with her pillow wrapped around her head. What, is it too noisy?

Now all the commuters are commuting and all the trucks are back running their routes. Between the big trucks, the legions of motor scooters (one night at a red light Mingdaw called them a “scooter army”), the garbage trucks’ Fur Elise, the bell-ringers on scooters preceding the musical garbage trucks to let you know the icecream garbage is on its way, the loudspeakers (a popular advertising tool, often mounted on truck tops), and everyone’s new pet dogs wang-wanging, some days there’s little point in trying to sleep past 7am.

… which is good in a way, because right now can’t afford to sleep in.

4 thoughts on “Holy noise pollution, Batman!”

  1. Sounds like time to invest in some earplugs. Would you like us to mail some? What? Living in Surrey didn’t prepare you for this? :)
    Sorry you’re not here right now to enjoy the peaceful sounds of our spring break snowfall–snowing like crazy–coming down as I write. This is the one we were waiting for at Christmas time :(. love you

  2. When we get back to Surrey, I’ll probably wonder if I’m deaf because of the absence of noise. :) Really. It is SO quiet there.

    I think of it as the “Wall of Sound.” It starts every morning at 6:45 am, when some old guy out on the street (4 floors below us, mind you) makes a terrible hacking, phlegm expectorating kind of coughing noise (nearly every day!). We also live like one apartment building away from the local elementary school, which means that we get extra traffic noise during the pickup/dropoff times. So, from 7-7:30 we hear more and more scooters and more kids walking and yelling at each other on the way to school…but it really peaks from 7:30-8:00 when everyone is rushing so that they won’t be late. That’s when the honking gets added into the mix, and the sounds of the kids crying because they don’t want to go to school.

    From 8 onward, it’s much quieter…though not Surrey quiet for sure. Despite the perturbed tone of my comment, I’m actually kind of getting used to it. Especially now that we’re too busy to sleep in past 7 or so. And those mornings that I try, the pillow actually works pretty well!!!

    I’d love to hear (not hear??? :) ) the peaceful sounds of your snowfall…those were nice pictures. It’s been 80 degrees here for the last few days!!!

  3. O how I remember the days. It is not so bad to hear the traffic in the morning. You eventually won’t even notice it. What is bad is the motor scooter races and after midnight.

    How is the noise level from your neighbors? Did you know that every person in Taiwan was born with a hammer in their hands? This is very useful when you want to hammer nails in the wall at 2 am in the morning.

    Enjoy your noise and your great Chinese food.


  4. Ha! No kidding about the hammers. Our first two weeks (in a temporary apartment) we couldn’t figure out where the construction was, since it looked to us like our building had been finished a long time ago. Then we moved into our current apartment, which came equipped with a hammer, and hung some pictures by hammering nails into the concrete walls at 10pm. Ha! Revenge!

    I only notice the noise now if we leave the bedroom window open all night. I guess it’s something that you sort of adjust to without even realizing it.

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