The other day, I looked out our living room window — and saw Spiderman here installing window boxes in our neighbors’ stairwell (they of the mysterious, mostly empty apartment building). There was nothing between him and a five-story plummet to the ground besides the window box he was caulking (I guess he felt pretty confident about his own work!).

Taroko George spies on our neighbors

One thing that constantly surprises me about living in Taiwan is how lax safety regulations are across the board. Opened potholes are marked with a couple orange cones; other than that, pedestrians are allowed to walk right next to them. People load so much stuff onto their scooters that I wonder how they don’t topple over into oncoming traffic. Food court restaurants hand customers hot pots over an open flame or bibimbap in sizzling bowls to carry through crowded seating areas.

This was all very new to me because I come from a fairly litigious culture where a favorite retort is “so sue me!” When I first got here and people said good-bye by telling me to “慢慢走,” I didn’t think they were saying “take your time.” I thought they were literally saying “walk slowly”… as in “walk slowly, the sidewalks here are very uneven and we don’t want you to slip and sue us.”

Anyway, Spiderman caught Taroko George’s attention.

Taroko George spies on our neighbors

Taroko George spies on our neighbors

Taroko George spies on our neighbors

I bet you are wondering why anyone needs window boxes in their stairwell. Behold!

Neighbor cat enjoys new window box

Our neighbors wanted to give their cat, who has the run of the place, a couple of nice perches to people watch. I wish this photo wasn’t so grainy, but if someone living across the street caught me pointing a telephoto lens in their general direction, things might get a little complicated.

Here is a short video of our own little fur beast, chasing his tail, bouncing around and trying to destroy my camera:

Taroko George punched me in the head today. No window box for you, you little psycho!