The Bent Postboxes of Taipei – A Sobering Reminder to Nature’s Sheer Force

Taipei’s leaning mailboxes

photography by: Omri Westmark

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There are a whopping 11,000 mailboxes across Taipei, and while nearly all of them bear the same shape and colors, a lone pair in Zhongshan District is conspicuous by its crooked stature. The odd sight is apparently the vestige of a massive storm that ravaged the island in 2015, leaving a path of destruction which is forever memorialized in this quirky tourist attraction.

During the summer of 2015, Typhoon Soudelor left a trail of death and destruction as it swept throughout East and Southeast Asia. One of the storm’s worst-hit places was Taiwan, where it caused 8 fatalities and millions of US dollars worth of damage.

 

But as it turned out, this disastrous gale also had a rather bizarre silver lining. On August 8th, the day when the typhoon reached the Taiwanese capital, winds of 200 km/h ripped off a signboard and then slammed it into a pair of roadside postboxes. In the aftermath of the storm, the boxes were still standing, yet with their once upright position becoming whimsically askew.

 

In the following weeks and months, the leaning mailboxes unexpectedly turned into a popular tourist site as curious gawkers from all over Taiwan flocked in masses to take all sorts of amusing photos in front of the typhoon-sculpted attraction. With so much reverence, the Chunghwa Post Service had no choice but to rescind its original decision to replace the boxes with brand-new ones.

 

Nestled along the Long Jiang Rd in Zhongshan District, Xiao Lu (little green) and Xiao Hong (little red), as they are popularly known, still accept letters despite of their angled shape. In fact, the post office has a bespoke stamp for any piece of mail that finds itself on its way to the bent postboxes, whose current fame is light years away from their pre-typhoon anonymity.