February 7, 2011

Monday. The last day of Chinese New Year, or at least the holidays of Chinese New Year. This year, as most of you know, is the year of the rabbit.

From a website, http://www.theholidayspot.com, is a short synopsis of The Year of the Rabbit:

A placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances.

So, back to yesterday’s discourse regarding my wallet. As I said, I looked over the house, from top to bottom (literally), and still couldn’t find it. I looked through the scooter again, but to no avail. Since today is the last day of the holidays, I may still have to wait until Tuesday before I can do anything, such as replace cards. Just hope no one uses any of my cards.

I always wonder about driving in this city. I wonder how people get their licenses. I wonder how they learn to drive.

My father has a blog, which, by the way, he hasn’t written in for a while, about drivers in Ontario. I realize that discussing or commenting on idiots on the road can become monotonous or repetitive after a while, but sometimes…

I suppose that others may think I’m just as much of an idiot, as I find some people. When I first moved to Taiwan, and watched people driving around, I wondered, as I still do today, why there are so many people on this island nation. There are approximately 23,000,000 people in Taiwan, but the way people drive, there should only be about 23,000!

A few things I have noticed over the years. Lines and lights are mere suggestions. Even though a scooter realistically accommodates 2 people (max), the more you can load onto these riding lawn mowers, the better. When driving, believe it or not, YOU are the only person on the road. Everyone else either a) is invisible, or b) will look out for you! There is no need for children to wear helmets, since their heads will bounce on the pavement, right?

The speed limit on city streets is 40 km/hr, as it is in most cities. However, there are people who are definitely going a lot faster than that. On certain stretches of roadways, I have pumped the scooter up to 60 or 70, and yet, it doesn’t matter how fast I go, there is always someone whizzing past me!

I also think there is something wrong with my speedometer anyway. Between Gangshan and Tainan, there is a school of some sort. They have installed a radar that will clock your speed and display it on a board. The speed limit along this section is 70km/hr. Through that section, I will ALWAYS follow the limit. I get he scooter up to 70, and yet the display always flashes and indicates that I am only going 55 or 56. I suppose I should get it checked out sometime.

The other day, crossing Jiankang Road on Nanmen Road, one of the busier intersections around me, an idiot decided that he wanted to pass the people he was following. Now, you must understand that people like to park on the shoulder of the road. That narrows a two-lane roadway, into one lane. This idiot was in the oncoming traffic. He passed into MY lane, lights flashing at me, honking his horn, because he was in too much of a hurry, or a VIP (very ignorant person).

I know that Taiwan is not the only country in the world with stupid drivers. The more people crammed into an area, the more cars and other vehicles on the road, the more (sorry) elderly people wanting to putter along at 20km/hr in a 40 zone during rush hour, does get people a bit pissed.

I’ve been in Taiwan for 10 years, and have been in 3 accidents, all of which were (honestly), the other person’s fault. The first was when I was on a bicycle and someone clipped my wheel, the second was someone going through a red light and slamming into me, and the third was a similar situation last summer.

You know, I think if people just left a couple of minutes earlier, exercised a bit of self-control on the road, and showed a little respect for the other people sharing the roadways, driving wouldn’t be as much of a headache.

If my mother can write a book about the trials and tribulations of managing apartment buildings, I should be able to write one about the realities of driving in today’s world. Granted, I’m not a world traveler by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems that bad driving has no boundaries!

That’s it, that’s all.


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