July 27, 2010

You ever get to the point where you say, “Enough is enough?”

That’s where I am with the rain. If you happen to be looking at my “View From The Roof” photo album on Facebook, you will see that we’ve had cloudy skies for what, 3 weeks now? Sure, there are a few pictures missing, but believe, you ain’t missin’ much!

I could just take a few extra pictures each day, tag them as the missing days, and who would be the wiser, right? Well, for one, me! I wouldn’t do that. So, the point is, we’ve had rain for a long time now. Every day without fail, at some point through the day. Sure, the sun tries to squeeze its way between the cloud cover, but whatever is happening out there, it doesn’t like the sun.

It’s like the sun. Sure, we went through almost 4 months of no rain! This is crazy. Taiwan is the tropical zone of this planet. To me, tropical means rain and sun and warm to hot weather. Not scorching sunlight for days on end, and then rain for that much longer. Kind of reminds me of the weather in Ottawa. We used to say there were only two seasons in Ottawa – winter and summer. Summer was the normal 3 months, and winter was 9 months! Anyone who’s ever lived there, can probably agree!

I don’t mind the rain and thunder and lightening, but enough is enough. It gets to the point where everything always feels wet or damp. I have to turn the air conditioner on, not because I’m hot, but to get rid of the moisture in the air. It’s set on low, so as not to turn the office into a freezer. But when there’s so much moisture in the air, the printer doesn’t want to work right. It can’t pull the paper from the feeder, because the paper has absorbed the moisture. Clothes feel damp and chilly when you put them on. Nothing seems to ever dry out.

Also, people start getting stupid when they’re driving. I’ve mentioned many times over and over how crazy driving in Tainan can be. Again, like Canada in the winter, once the rain starts, people FORGET how to drive.

Driving on a scooter tends to be a bit more treacherous. Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s my inability to see properly. Maybe it’s my cautious driving skills. Maybe it’s because I was in an accident a couple of months ago. I don’t know exactly what it is, but when the rain begins and it falls as heavily as it tends to do, I slow down. I know that the rain can make the roadways a bit slippery. I know that the manhole covers (made of some sort of metal) act like ice under the tires. I slow down!

I’m not one for taking chances when I’m driving either. As with any weather other than bright, sunny skies, I leave a bit earlier to get to my destinations. I never run red lights on good days, and I certainly don’t do it during crappy days. I don’t try to drive 150 down a 40 zone, just because I want to avoid all raindrops! People take way too many chances with their lives – and of those around them!

The other thing that still makes me laugh, is the notion that using one’s headlights uses up the gas in the vehicle. Okay, so bright, sunny days, perhaps it is unnecessary to use your lights. However, people here will not use their headlights unless the sky is absolutely black. Considering that nightfall arrives around 7pm, that means that most people don’t switch on their lights (if they even do it all anyway), until way after 8pm. The other night, someone in a big honker of a truck shut off it’s lights while coming to a stop in the middle of a roadway. Good thing I saw it! Then, while the idiot was making the turn across 4 lanes of traffic, suddenly decided to turn on their signal to indicate their desire to turn. Well, why shut off the headlights? They must have been a VIP or something. Didn’t want anyone to know where they were turning!

I find that a lot here. If (and I really mean, IF) people decide to use their turn signals to indicate they want to turn, then they turn it on either JUST as they’re making the turn, or once they’re actually into the turn. You can be waiting at a red light. The person on the opposite side of the road is waiting for the red as well. Light turns green. Suddenly, without any warning at all, just as you are crossing the intersection, this nut has decided that, “OMG, this is where I need to cut across all this traffic to go somewhere.” Then, they inch through the traffic, not caring about who he OR she is blocking, and basically slowing down traffic in 4 lanes. Then, they crawl through the intersection, just to make sure that EVERYONE is stopped for them!

Don’t people realize that those going straight through an intersection have right of way over those wanting to turn? I guess once you purchase a LEXUS, a MERCEDES, or a TAXI, you are entitled to do whatever, whenever, wherever you want. Perhaps it’s the hugeness of the vehicle – people can’t see over the steering wheel. Maybe it’s the tinted windows? Everyone on the road must bow to your asinine driving skills. I’ve seen people race through lights before the light is in their favour. Like this will be the only time this year they will be able to get through the intersection. I’ve seen people straddling a two-lane roadway, almost daring others to pass them. Just when you start to go pass, they swerve into your right of way. Try to go around the left side, and same thing.

On bright, sunny days, this isn’t too much of a problem, as your tires have some grip on the roadway. But add a torrential downpour, and this begins a danger, as well as a pain in the ‘posterior major’!

Since I haven’t seen a box of CRACKER JACKS in Taiwan, I want to know what ‘claw machine’ these people get their driver’s licences from!

I’ve watched everyone who uses the roadways for whatever purpose. People walk on the road. People bicycle on the road. People drive on the road. There are no road rules in Taiwan. It’s everyone for themselves. Careless walkers become careless cyclists. Careless cyclists become careless scooterists. Careless scooterists become careless drivers.

I always say, Taiwan people are the nicest, most generous, most hospitable people I have ever met – when you visit their homes. These same people get on the road, and the attitude changes to, “Get out of my way, I’m on the road!”

Does anyone have a bunch of 10nt coins? There’s a claw machine around the corner from me. I wanna win me a license!


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