Taipei is notorious for its lack of city planning, that is not to say the streets are all messed up or anything, but there are always sections under construction, whether it be pipe lines, wires or whatever. Usually it's really annoying to have a construction site near your place, because it's horribly noisy, and the roads might be blocked off, which will cause a lot of people to grunt and growl. I don't love construction sites either, but when I saw the scene above, I thought it was just adorable how these grown men huddled together by the roadside.
This last weekend wasn't the best weekend for me, I woke up afternoon feeling intense abdominal pain, at first I thought it is just a cramp from my period, but I was sweating bullets and vomiting, so I went to the Emergency room just in case. The ER wasn't crowded like I expected, it must have been a stay-healthy day for the rest of the humankind. I was attended to pretty quickly, the doctor asking all sorts of questions. Apparently my symptoms did not fit any particular illness, so they hooked me on a IV drip and made me lay there to wait and see if there is any change. After a couple hours, two X-rays and some random test later, the doctor still didn't know what's wrong with me, so he wanted me admitted, but I was feeling much better and tired of lying there doing nothing, so I decided to be a bad patient and went home against his instructions. Basically, I went to the ER to lie down and take in some sugar liquid , which is what happens most in ERs, believe it or not. This little trip cost me a mere NTD 380, about USD12. I am eligible for such affordable health care because in Taiwan there is mandatory National Health Insurace policy for everyone. This policy is much like the Obamacare people in te states are debating about, and we have had it here for decades. There are downsides to enforcing such policy on the citizens, of course, but I'm all for it, because even though I am a relatively healthy young person (compared to the old and obese anyway) I would like to have access to reasonably priced health care when I need it. For instance, if a visit to the ER will cost me USD 120, I am not sure I'll make the same decision last weekend, and I just might miss the prime time for treating some serious condition.
Right now, I am just grateful that I only have a needle mark on my hand to show for my ER visit and no other symptoms, and I will be utilizing my health care resources by paying the hospital another visit.
This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan.