July 30, 2010

Take me home, country roads…

If you don’t know that one, no need to explain.

You know, the closer it gets to my holiday time, the longer the days seem to go. I’ve been counting down the weeks until I finally have a long vacation. I’m just afraid that it STILL won’t be long enough!

Here we are, the end of July already. If you haven’t figured it out yet, that means that summer holidays (for kids in North America) is half over. The year is now in decline… there are only five months left before Christmas and New Year’s again. Another month or so, and Ottawa will be knee-deep in snow drifts.

Back in February, Giraffe started the story-telling competition. The kids were practicing. We’ve now had our school competition, the practices for the regional competition, now we’re in full swing for the final competition in August in a couple of weeks! Then, I go on holidays for 3 weeks!

If those three weeks go by as quickly as quickly as the past three months have, then it will only seem like 3 days! There are just so many things I want to do during this time, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get everything done. I haven’t exactly drawn a schedule of what I want to accomplish, but a few have already been or are being planned. The first of course, is the Family Reunion on September 11. There’s a short trip out east. I want to grab my little brother for a day trip. He doesn’t know about this yet, but hopefully he’ll agree to my whim.

There are so many family and friends that I want to see, I just don’t know if I’ll get to see everyone! I’m just worried that there won’t be enough time to do everything. I’m also a bit concerned that my iPhone won’t be able to hold all the pictures I want to take! Hah. I read somewhere that, if the maximum amount of space is available on the iPhone (32Gb), that I should be able to capture over 42,000 pictures! Seems like a lot. However, since September 2009, I’ve taken over 6,500 pictures already! Good thing they’re all saved on the computer right now.


You know, it doesn’t matter how many times I read about or even see drivers, I’m always at amazed at what people do on (collective) our highways and roads.

I’ve said before that if you can drive in Tainan city, you can drive anywhere in Taiwan. Well let me just add this codicil… if you can drive in Tainan city, you can drive ANYWHERE – period.

I thought that after 30-some years or more of traveling on highways and roadways and lanes and well, just about anywhere, that I’d seen everything possible. And yet this country, or rather this city, still amazes me every day.

If you haven’t had a chance, look through some of the videos I have posted to Facebook called, “Let’s Go To…” These are videos of my travels to various classes around the Tainan city area. Sure, I was probably not intelligent holding my iPhone recording my driving in the city, but I did keep an eye out on what I was doing.

There are just so many different things I see every day, it’s hard to keep track of them all. I always wish that the video was recording each and every time I go out, but that would be almost ridiculous.

It’s bad enough that scooter drivers do stupid things. Driving on the wrong side of the road TOWARDS oncoming scooters. No helmets. Driving through red lights. Zipping along at speeds in excess of the legal 40km/hr. 4 or 5 people on a scooter. Talking on their cellphones instead of using a headset. Driving along as if every day were a Sunday afternoon. Puttering along at 10 or 15km. Window shopping while driving.

The amazing thing is when I see those in cars doing the stupid stunts. The other day, I guess someone was driving too slow down Nanmen Road. So what happens? Several cars decide to pass this putt-putt person. Only problem – they passed and drove down the road towards the oncoming traffic, causing those drivers to swerve off road into the scooter lane.

People love to park in the scooter lanes along the street. All along the roadways in this city, you will see various paint markings on the road. There are the usual white blocked areas for parking. Fair enough. Everyone needs a car, right? So you need a place to park the thing.

Along other sections, you will see yellow painted lines. This is apparently supposed to be for short stops, such as running in to the store. However, people will more often than not, turn on their 4-way blinkers, and this is their parking space! Then the red painted lines. This is strictly no parking – at least that’s what I’ve been told. However, these become permanent parking areas for owners of businesses that have those lines in front of their shops.

Personally, I don’t really care whether the line is white, yellow, or red. What I do get upset about is that people can’t park properly. A road like Nanmen is supposed to be 2 lanes of cars going in each direction, as well as a scooter lane. What ends up happening is that there are so many vehicles parked along the side, blocking off the scooter lanes. Then, others will park beside that vehicle, thus blocking off the second lane.

The other thing that kills me is the use of lights. I’ve mentioned this before. People just hate or don’t care about using their lights. I’ve seen that, unless it is absolutely 100% sundown, people just don’t want to use their lights. Even when it is raining heavily, and the skies are dark, lights are still not used.

It will be very interesting to see what driving (or being a passenger) is like in Canada again. It has been a long time. I’ve kind of forgotten what driving is like. After rereading some of my fathers blog entries, it seems that I may not see a difference between Taiwan or Canada.

It will be fun to get home though. I haven’t started to get anything ready yet, because, well, it’s still a bit early. However, I’ll have to think about that shortly. I have to get money switched over. I don’t know how many Canadian business in southern Ontario will accept Taiwan money. And at some point, I’ll have to find some time to pick up a bunch of little ‘chachkas’. That is, some Taiwan souvenirs.

Then there’s the clothes! What is the weather going to be like? I have a feeling that I many find it just a little bit chillier than I’ve gotten used to in Taiwan. And I also need a new piece of luggage. So many things to do, and for now, enough time. But knowing me, I’ll procrastinate until the last minute.

If anyone in Canada has any particular thing that they would like from Taiwan, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do for you. However, I’m not, under any circumstances, bringing back any durian or ‘cho dofu’ (stinky tofu)!



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2 responses to “July 30, 2010

  1. The boys and I have been talking about what to get you when you come for a visit (they are really excited to meet ‘Uncle William’! We thought about putting pics and videos on a CD for you, so it won’t take up very much room on the way home.

    As for weather…today is going to be 30 degrees C. with humidity to make it feel like 37! But I’m sure it will get cooler in the next month or so.

    As for souvenirs from Taiwan… I know the boys would love to see real money! lol They always like money, even if they can’t spend it, it’s always interesting to them!

    Counting down the days…

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