February 11, 2011

The first (partial) week back to work after the holidays, and the week is now finished.

My Saturday and Sunday classes have already cancelled, so, after already having had 6 days holidays, I have another weekend free. What to do, what to do?

It suddenly dawned on me that my life is somewhat boring. The more I discuss (at times) with others about what my week consists of, the more it’s hitting me that I really do have a boring life. That is to say, that the events during my week are redundant, but the actual work, I, personally, still find very interesting, fun, satisfying, and yes, at times, frustrating. But all that together, keeps me going.

When I talk about what I used to do in Canada – get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, and of course, the few things in between like eat, and drink coffee, basically, I do the same thing here. Get up, prepare for work, do my classes, catch up on Facebook stuff and this blog, do my afternoon/evening classes, come home, eat, and go to bed, only to wake up and start all over again.

Even though to others, it may sound boring and routine, all in all, I actually don’t mind it. Living in a country like Taiwan, and teaching the numbers of classes and students that I teach, having to drive from place to place and shake my head or use the ‘sign language’ for “VIP” to the idiots, having this ‘down time’ at home, by myself and having the babies around me all the time, is quite nice.

OH, I have to tell you again about some of the more stupid drivers I’ve seen in and about Tainan.

Now, I realize that for most of my readers, the streets that I’m about to relate here, won’t make a lot of sense to you. To others, it will.

Over the past couple of years, as you are aware, I teach at Chong-rong Junior High School. Now, a bit of Taiwan driving [loosely] rules.

At most intersections, scooters (a.k.a. 2-wheeled lawn mowers with sewing machine engines (hahah)), must cross the intersection, and wait to cross again. This is more so at what are supposed to be 4-lane roadways. Scooters are not permitted to make left-hand turns on green lights. At times, I question the sanity of this street rule, since scooterists tend to drive faster than vehiclists, and can actually get through intersections quicker. This is the sign that is posted above the intersections where this rule is required:

ANYWAY, you scooter across the green light, then wait in the lined area and await for the next light to turn green, and proceed through. I would estimate that perhaps 10% of all the scooters during ANY given time of day, actually follow this sign. Is it that the sign is too high in the sky, and people can’t see it? Is it that perhaps most of the population has no understanding of what this sign means? Is that perhaps most of the population are Buddhists and are hoping to achieve the next plane of existence??

Whatever the reason, I follow this sign all the time. Like most of the driving rules and regulations in Taiwan, many times, friends have told me that I drive crazy, and that it doesn’t matter. Hell, when you hear this statement from people who regularly drive through red lights because there is no one coming in the wrong direction…

There is one crossroad where I must do this every morning. Now, I’m heading to school at 8:00ish in the morning, and like anywhere else, this is still considered ‘rush hour’ in my language. There are way too many people on the roads. People heading off to offices, schools, children being driven to school by their parents, grandparents, or in some cases, and I swear to God, GREAT grandparents, usually with one or two or sometimes three kids on the scooters, none of which are wearing helmets, trying to get the kids to school where they SHOULD have been a half hour earlier!

Nonetheless, Jian-kang Road and Chong-de Road (I believe). Coincidentally, this is also the corner where the office is to obtain your driver’s license. Hahhah. While waiting at the light, there is always this one person, wearing dark clothes (ALWAYS), a facemask (ALWAYS), a dark blue helmet with tinted visor (ALWAYS), driving a dark blue scooter (ALWAYS). Now, I don’t know who this idiot thinks he is. Over the years, I’ve imagined who he must be. He is obviously an older man, who figures he’s paid his dues in taxes, and thus, owns the roads on which travels. He must be a Buddhist, because if he ever gets killed, he will go on to the next plane of existence… in his case, cockroach! He must be wearing incredible padding and is obviously impervious to harm.

Anyway, and I’ve watched him approach in my rear-view mirror so many times, I’ve lost count. He comes barreling down Chong-de without a care in the world. He is actually in the inside lane of the oncoming (to him) traffic. He revs up as he approaches Jian-kang, and then, against the red light, just zips and speeds through the intersection not caring that there are six lanes of traffic coming at him -3 lanes one direction, and then 3 the other – as if there was no one else on the road.

Well, today was another eye-opener. Not only did this idiot speed through the intersection, but it was just about 2 seconds before the light actually turned green. At the next intersection, there is usually a ‘true’ police officer watching the traffic flow. Not that that really means anything to anyone anyway, but he is there. Well, I watched him, the scooter maniac, do exactly the same thing, right in front of the police officer… run the red light as fast as he could, weaving in an around the oncoming traffic. As I approached the intersection, again, I could see down to the next set of lights.

Well hell, if this idiot didn’t turn LEFT, against a red light AGAIN, onto Dong-men Road.

My question is… how does someone a) get their license to drive like this, and b) with all the f****** traffic cameras in this city, why has this guy never been caught. I have tried to get my camera out and photo this character. I know… you’d think that after two or three years, I should have been able to by now!! I’m just going to have to get with it, and have the camera ready BEFORE I get to the first intersection (Chong-de and Jian-kang). I have tried several times, but those times are the days he’s not on the road, or at least, not when I’m there.

If, and when, I ever get a movie of this nutcase, you can be sure, I’ll post it here. It may not get thousands of hits, but for those that do read my blog, it will be interesting viewing.

That’s it, that’s all… for now.


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