8/15/2009

Fishing in Storm Drains




I noticed this guy fishing in downtown Taipei the other day as I was walking to the bank on my lunch hour. He was scooping minnow-sized fish out of a storm drain on Bade Road (八德路) and putting them into a shallow red bucket (see pic). I asked him if all of the storm drains had fish in them and he replied "no". When I asked how he knew this one had fish, he shrugged and replied: "I've just known for a long time."

It didn't occur to me to ask what he's going to do with the fish. They're way too small to eat. I should have asked him what "a long time" is too. I wonder if he means since he was a little boy. I'm sure the area (this was around section three) would have looked drastically different then. But Bade (八德) itself has been around in road form for centuries. I've been been told it's the original north-south highway of Taiwan.

7 comments:

Matt D said...

Here in the U.S. they are insisting that Americans eat fish no more than two times per week because of the high level of mercury. They are even saying, "Do NOT eat canned fish of any kind." Is this an issue in Taiwan? Do you think the guy fishing from the storm drain gives a shit about mercury?

Patrick Cowsill said...

Or how about guys fishing from the Danshui River? My friend's dad, a microbiologist from Canada, tested the Danshui when he visited Taiwan. He advised going to the hospital for shots were we to get the water on our skin.

Anonymous said...

Sea food eating should be encouraged since it contains a lot of omega 3. Only the old and fast swimming fish consume a lot of other fish and the mercury gradually acuminated in the body that should be avoided. No reason to afraid all canned fish. Are you current pregnant? If not go and enjoy the Sushi.
The river Tamsui was my swimming pool half a century ago. It has gone with my old memory; changed from a beautiful river to a polluted sewer, unfortunately.
Cho-San

Patrick Cowsill said...

"The river Tamsui was my swimming pool half a century ago. It has gone with my old memory; changed from a beautiful river to a polluted sewer, unfortunately."

Yes, I've heard people paint a nice picture of it. I remember when Ma was the mayor. He took a boat load of people out to show them how clean it was getting. Then a corpse floated by.

It's still beautiful, especially at night.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I'm not suprised to learn that 八德路 is one of the oldest thoroughfares on the west side of town, because it's one of the very few streets in that whole section of town (and the only big street) that appears diagonal on the map-- especially sections 1 and 2.

I'm assuming that up until the 1930s and 40s that area was mostly farms, with a few scattered areas of settlements. On my 1944 map, 松江路/新生南路 is the western-most north-south road (and also it appears to be a canal or drainage bayou), and 信義 仁愛 安定忠孝 roads all stop there.

When the city was developed in the 1910s and 1920s, I'm sure they were doing their best to re-route as many of the streets as possible into a modern grid pattern. In that western part of town, the most established businesses and temples, etc. would likely have been on 八德路 (or whatever they called it then), and so perhaps it was deemed unworth the effort to re-route that particular road into the grid pattern. I suppose that's the same reason 迪化街 also runs crooked and diagonally, in contrast to the 90-degree-angled streets that now surround it.

--scott

Anonymous said...

my typo:

should read: 信義, 仁愛, and 忠孝 roads all stop there.

--scott

Patrick Cowsill said...

A taxi driver told me it ran down Taiwan. I didn't have much time to talk to him; it was a short ride. I'm sure a lot of the freeways in Taiwan, like in the States, are set down on Aboriginal thoroughfares. I'll look into it more.