Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 09 2002

Last night, for lack of anything better to do, I l…

Last night, for lack of anything better to do, I let my curiosity get the better of me and finally went to check out the new Core Pacific Center on Civic Blvd. From its reputation and all of the news stories concerning frenzied mobs of deranged shoppers agog of the idea of a real mall in Taiwan, I knew it would be at least interesting. All the more so as it’s located in the middle of a rather squalid section of town, sandwiched in between Ba-de Rd section 4 or so and the old Railway administration grounds.

In fact, it was quite impressive. Dean calls it the “Droid Control Ship” because that’s what it really does look like, and the huge shape seems all the more incongruous situated next to the decrepit old two-story combination motorcycle repair shops/hovels. I parked my motorcycle in an alley off of Ba-de Rd. and walked in the northeast entrance, through a bit of hallway, and found myself confronted with the Giant Ball, which contains an entire department store and is over ten stories high, resting inside the even larger atrium at the center of the mall. From the ground floor I could see a huge wall of shops along the side of the atrium, and down three more stories to the food court underneath the Giant Ball, which made the entire structure appear to be suspended in mid-air.

Unlike the Breeze Mall, there’s more at the Core (Hey! Nifty ad slogan!) than just women’s stuff. They actually have a wide range of stores and restaurants. The decor is just tacky enough to let you know you’re still in Taiwan, even though the scale is larger than anything else I’ve seen here. I didn’t go into the movie theaters downstairs as there wasn’t anything on at the time, but they look to be pretty high-quality.

Each level has a strange name, like “Grimm Street” for the children’s level and one inexplicably named “Sharron Stone Street”, whose Chinese name is “Chang Man-yu Street”. An overwhelming number of the shops sell extremely expensive things that only insane rich people with little or no judgement would ever consider buying. This doesn’t seem to bode well, but you never know. Taiwanese people in general have equated “Mall” with such concepts as “Western”, “Fancy”, “High-class” and “Better than anything Chinese culture could come up with” in general, so there’s bound to be a good amount of fantasyland-type thinking going on. But that’s just the kind of surreal atmosphere that pervades the portion of Taiwanese society that comes into contact with what it thinks is quintessential Western culture.

I went into one store to look at those sunglasses that are attached to a frame that fits over your head. They looked really cool, if a bit bizarre, but they also cost a whopping NT$9,000. The “normal” sunglasses were only a couple of thousand less, so I gave up any hope of maintaining the illusion that I actually needed them and left.

At the top of the giant ball is an Eslite Bookstore. The dome above is transparent, although I couldn’t really see out at night. I bought a hat at an aboriginal stand and then took one of the glass elevators. On the way down a couple of extremely fashion-conscious girls complained to their skater-type boyfriends that the elevator’s motion made them want to throw up. I imagine they thought this made them seem vulnerable and sexy, and their sickly-sweet dia-dia voices almost caused me to share their nausea.

To think I used to work across the street from the Core Center, which is open 24-hours. The times we copyeditors could have had carrousing drunkenly along Sharron Stone Street at 2 in the morning after a long day at the paper!

Whiny Woman has a cold and has become Whiny Sniffly Woman. We are moving to our new offices on the weekend of the 26th/27th. I tried to find out where my new seat will be, but apparently they haven’t nailed down that particular detail just yet. I should go over there and sneak in to see if I can’t snag myself a corner or window seat as far away as possible from any potentially whiny individuals.

posted by Poagao at 7:49 am  

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