It's five o'clock in the morning - but Taipei has already started to wake up.?
It's five o'clock in the morning - but Taipei has already started to wake up. The Republic of China's island province of Taiwan has a subtropical climate. Long summer days are warm and the people like to get up while the coolness of night lingers on. At the northern edge of the city are the Grand Hotel and Chungshan Bridge. Not so far away in the heart of downtown Taipei is New Park. Many people stop here in the course of early morning walks. Their favourite exercises are variants of famed Chinese shadow boxing, a fine way to tone up muscle control for another day.
These students of the Taipei First Girl's Middle School go to their campus early for extra hours of study. Boys earn pocket money by delivering morning newspapers. Dawn is the time for milkmen, too. Home delivery of dairy products reflects the growing prosperity of Taipei's one million two hundred thousand people.
Now it is nearly six o'clock. You can set your watch by the march of this honour guard to the Presidential Building to raise China's national flag. When the emblem of the white sun in blue sky on crimson ground reaches the top of the staff it is exactly 6 a.m. (Followed by sound effect)
Trains bring high school and college students into Taipei from the suburbs. Then they must take buses to campus. Some spend two or three hours a day on transportation. But the Chinese emphasis on education is so strong that they would never think of objecting. Schooling is a privilege worth almost any sacrifice by parents.
Little people go to school early, too -- even those attending nursery schools and kindergartens. Many mothers work. Besides, the pick-up buses have long routes. It takes a long time to get everybody to school. However, the ride is interesting and there is plenty of company.
People and the city's food cross the Taipei Bridge to bustling markets. The sea is not far away and Taipei eats lots of fish. Fishermen's associations send their catches to this wholesale market for auction to retailers. Vegetables and flowers are other morning commodities -- at their freshest for the early shopper?
Who's for breakfast? Food stalls serve the typical Chinese morning meal -- twist crullers, soybean milk and tortilla-like bread. Crullers are made of flour, milk and egg, and are fried in hot oil. They are good with eggs, too. This girl has wrapped bread around her cruller. A tasty nutritious breakfast costs only four New Taiwan dollars, or 10 U.S. cents. Another favourite breakfast is of meat-filled dumplings and noodles -- more expensive, though, perhaps 20 or 30 cents, depending on how hungry you are. Western-style breakfasts are preferred by some. This cafeteria serves a cup of coffee, a glass of juice, an egg and a doughnut for only twelve and half U.S. cents.
By 7:30 kindergartens are in full uproar. Jungle gyms and other playground facilities help work off some of that morning energy before classes begin. At primary schools the day starts with some brisk calisthenics. Taiwan is a land of the young. One out of every four persons is a student. Half of the teachers are women.(Followed by music and sound effect)
Factory wheels are beginning to turn. Workers punch their time cards before taking up their duties.
By eight o'clock traffic is heavy. Office workers and business people have joined the throngs. Shoppers will be right behind. The day is in full swing for the people of free China's provisional capital of Taipei.