Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Aug 02 2007

CKS Hall Station antics

“Dumbledore never told you what happened to your father,” Voldemort hissed in his high, clear voice, reaching out to Harry, who clung to the high castle railing, his severed wrist throbbing in pain. Anger flashed through him at the thought of his old mentor.

“He told me enough!” He shouted above the storm. “He told me you killed him!”

For a moment Voldemort seemed lost in thought as lightning flickered through the shadows of his face. Then his slitted gaze fixed itself upon Harry once again. “No, Harry. I…”*

Entranced as I am with the finale to the Harry Potter series, I have to put the book down, as the subway train is pulling into CKS Hall Station.

CKS MRTOf all the stations on the MRT, CKS Hall is my favorite, and no, it’s not just because it’s named after one of the last centuries’ more inept military figures. Mainly it’s because the high ceilings and multiple levels make it feel more like a genuine train station than any other stop, more even than the real train station platforms at Taipei Main Station. The lack of an upper balcony over the trains makes a huge difference, as do the shiny gold station name plaques set at intervals along the tracks. It’s the kind of station where a huge chandelier wouldn’t go amiss, nor a portly uniformed man with a pocket watch dodging the steam blasts of a locomotive.

Another source of endless entertainment at CKS Hall Station is the chaotic race across the platform you can witness if you’re lucky enough to stop just as the train from West Gate Station is pulling in. You can see the anticipation in the faces of the people in the other train as it draws to an excruciatingly slow stop. Will the train wait? How long will I have to make it? Oh, what will I ever do if I have to wait another five minutes for the next one!

After a maddening wait the doors slide open, and students, businessmen and office ladies are thrown aside as the champions of muscling through Taiwanese crowds, i.e. short, squat, middle-aged women with frizzy hair and Mister Donut bags stuffed with market vegetables, charge headlong across the platform to the waiting train, their feet barely touching the ground. Occasionally I’ve seen people in their way actually become airborne as a result of the ensuing collisions.

Breathless, the previous occupants of the other train rush into ours. But the show’s not over yet. At the sound of the door-closing signal, everyone begins making mental bets on who will make it and who won’t, wondering if they’ll get to see that rare and hilarious sight of someone stuck in the door. Those champions who rush through just as the doors are snapping at their heels are greeted as minor heroes, while a slight contempt is held for those who draw up short.

Alas, nobody gets stuck in the doors this time, though there are some satisfying thumps as would-be passengers fail to stop in time and hit the closed doors. Their disappointed faces slide backwards as the train leaves. The show is over, and I return to my book.

“No!” Harry cried, incredulous. “That’s impossible…”

*Please don’t take this seriously, Harry Potter fans.

posted by Poagao at 3:08 am  

5 Comments

  1. And of course, occasionally there are people who make a mad dash into the train only to run into the vertical handrail after they’ve successfully made it in.

    CKS Station is definitely my favorite underground MRT station, my favorite aboveground MRT station is Beitou Station.

    Comment by Todd — August 2, 2007 @ 11:04 pm

  2. Yes, Todd, that’s true, and a special bonus it is. I like Beitou Station as well, but CKS still feels the most like a real train station to me.

    Comment by Poagao — August 2, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

  3. I don’t get the whole point of that whole CKS-Ximen line. Everytime I’ve tried taking it to go to Ximen from Guting, I swear I end up waiting longer than if I had just stayed on the line to Taipei Main Station and popping on the blue line.

    Comment by wayne — August 2, 2007 @ 11:48 pm

  4. Wayne, it’s going to be part of the green line from Xindian that ends up going out to Nanjing East Road when the second stage of the MRT system comes online in a few years. CKS Hall will become more central then, like Taipei Main Station is now, so the show will be even more fun to watch every day as people transfer from the green line to the red line that goes from Danshui out to the WTC.

    Comment by Poagao — August 3, 2007 @ 12:17 am

  5. […] Poagao with another story about life in Taiwan, this time about the CKS subway stop. […]

    Pingback by Daily Links - August 4th, 2007 | bent — August 4, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

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