President Chen's new apartment
I went to visit my friends Celia and Jacquelyn yesterday. When I arrived at the building door, I noticed in the glass a security guard from across the street approaching. I'd seen him a few moments earlier and had guessed he was working for the mob. There's a new beautiful apartment across from Celia's in the Taipei Hsin-yi (信義路) area (above) and the mob is often connected to construction. But this guy looked different: he wasn't slouching around, he wasn't wearing a sloppy rayon shirt, he wasn't sporting a diamond-studded Rolex and he wasn't chewing betel nut. He had a neat crew cut, dark shades and a no-nonsense air about him. After checking me out, he went over and, shading his eyes, poked inside the window of a SUV, parked out front of Celia's. I thought: "This guy takes his job seriously."
When I mentioned it to Celia, she explained that former President Chen Shui-bien had just moved into the building across the street, on the 14th floor she figured.
"Well, that's going to take care of your security problem," I quipped. Residents in her building are robbed on a regular basis. Celia just had to have the lock on her Mercedes-Benz fixed after it was jammed up with a screwdriver. And her neighbor, a month back, had his own Benz stolen and held ransom.
"Maybe, but it creeps me out having them 24/7," she answered.
"Have you seen him?" I asked.
"No, but I've seen his car driving in there. You can't see him because the windows are tinted. But it's pretty obvious whose car it is," she said, pointing at the garage entrance (see top pic, with security guard wandering around) from her balcony.
I remember eating at an expensive seafood restaurant on Minsheng East Road, a favorite of Chen's wife, an abalone connoisseur. The boss told me the Chens lived in the vicinity. According to Celia, the Chen's are now collecting expensive homes. This one is really nice and costs a lot of dough. I've often fantasized about having the cash to move in. Celia figures it cost 1.3 NT million per ping.