March 14, 2011

Well, this has been quite the past week.

Not really a lot, but enough to almost wonder what the hell is going on lately.

First, on March 11, 2011, the tsunami in Japan. That even woke up, not only Japan, but the rest of the world. It shows us, and forgive my language, that when Mother Nature is having a pissy day, nothing is going to stop her! If you prefer that I say Father Nature, whatever…

Now people are getting paranoid. There are news articles about Canadians stockpiling iodine, Taiwan residents are encouraged to wear face masks… I guess no one really understands weather patterns, or don’t realize that Japan is just a little far away from either of these places to have a significant effect.

As I told a few people here, I’d be more concerned about the shit that comes out of cars, buses, and scooters when I’m driving, than the chance that the weather patterns are suddenly going to change, or the earth is suddenly going to revolve in a different way and the radiation from NORTHERN Japan will hit SOUTHERN Taiwan.

Yesterday, my second class in Kaohsiung. Now, I’ve opted to drive the scooter to Kaohsiung for a number of reasons. The distance from my home to the Kaohsiung location, door-to-door, on scooter, takes approximately 55 minutes – depending on traffic lights.

The time it takes me to drive to the train station here in Tainan, find a parking spot, walk to the station, stand in line to get a ticket, wait for the train, and have to stand ALL the way to Kaohsiung, then walk to the location, takes almost 1.5 hours. At least on the scooter I can sit!

So, as I said, second class. I get there about 6:55 or so, and park the scooter in the usual place. Next to the building, on a little alley. There are already 500 scooters, bicyles, trucks, taxis, and various other non-vehicular crap sitting along both sides of this alley.

A few minutes later, someone asks me where I parked. I showed them. Lo and behold, the scooter is not there! All the other crap is still there though!

Apparently, unlike Tainan police, the Kaohsiung police don’t like it when you park your scooter in a red zone. That is, the lined area, usually rounding a corner, that there is a painted red line. If you so much as park your tire on it, it is hauled away! Great. Well, no need to worry about it right now. Whether I get it now or later, it will still cost me to get it out of hawk!

Okay, class finishes, a couple of the people offer to take me to the yard where naughty scooters are put in jail. It ends up costing me 825nt and about an hour of time wasted getting it. Apparently, many other scooters were naughty tonight as well. Or maybe Kaohsiung was a little short of cash tonight. Again, whatever.

Off I go home. Now, most of the highway driving I do to get home, the speed limit is 70km/hr. Since the road is fairly busy, most of the time, scooterists are aware of what’s going on – at least I THINK they are…

On the way back, I pass through a few small towns/villages along the way. Between Chiaotou and Gangshan, the road splits just before Gangshan. At this point, you can opt to go toward the Gangshan rail station, or through town. I usually take the rail station route, as it is quicker, and fewer lights.

Just after passing through Chiaotou, these idiots, and quite frankly, there is no other word for these assholes – OH, there’s another word! Hahaha… Nonetheless, these stupid little boys, who have nothing better to do on a Sunday evening, than see what kind of problems they can cause, come up from behind.

Now, realize, that there is a lot of traffic along this roadway on a Sunday night. People are returning home after a day or weekend away, most are definitely going over the speed limit, however, if everyone is doing the same, there is no problem.

These dickheads decide to play leapfrog with the traffic. They weave in and out of the scooter lane, as well as the traffic lanes. They consist of two low-life, idiotic, scum-of-the-scum, teenage (and I can only assume that!!) boys. There are two per scooter, no helmets, no lights. The scooters look practically brand new (for argument sake, let’s just say they are probably NOT theirs, since it would be HIGHLY unlikely that amoeba of this level could possibly be the owners of these souped-up vehicles), and generally, are behaving as if they are the only neanderthals on the roadway at 10:30 at night. No one else exists but them.

After weaving their way, recklessly ahead of the other scooterists, slow down to a snail’s pace of about 40km/hr. This on a roadway where the limit is 70km/hr, and most people are pushing 100km/hr.

They begin to chat with each other until there is a group of scooterists behind them. We all start to make our pass around them. When everyone seems to have passed, they decide to leapfrog again, getting in front of everyone, and slowing down traffic again.

At one point, there is a cement barrier which divides the scooter lane from the vehicular lanes. Well, lo and beheld, these doughboys decide that they will form a line, side-by-side across the roadway, and begin chatting with each other. Of course, they need to slow again, because, hell, you can’t talk and watch where you’re going, if you’re zipping along at 100km/hr!

Suddenly, the most intelligent of the pack, who happens to be on the far left of this line, realizes that the scooter lane is coming up!

Now, from a distance, all I can see of these intelligent earthworms, is the taillights from their scooters. The most intelligent one, I assume, being the farthest away, in the inside of the highway, decides to cut across all his boyfriends, and doesn’t quite make it into the scooter lane. The others start to weave back and forth, trying to save their scooters I guess, and the next thing – KABOOM! All of them end up in a big pile in front of the barrier.

Well, I have never, in all my 31 years of driving, EVER seen an accident like this. All the other scooterists around me, as well as car, trucks, buses, start to slow down… all you can really hear is the crunching of metal and squealing of brakes!

As I drive pass this carnage at about 20km/hr, I look over at what appears to be, a crumpled up piece of tin foil! Nothing else can describe this!

There are scooters all piled on each other, and bodies. I was thinking about stopping to take a picture, but then again, with all the traffic slowing down, and the shear numbers of other vehicles, it would have seem unwise to even try.

I’ll tell you one thing… the traffic was a LOT slower after that! I don’t think anyone was speeding!

Someone asked if I had called the police. I figured, since there were SO many other people, and the fact that everyone in Taiwan has at LEAST one cellphone, chances are the police had already received enough phone calls. There was no sense, in someone who doesn’t speak English, try to call the police and try, in broken Chinese, explain what I just witnessed.

I have seen many accidents, and I mean MANY accidents in Taiwan. I, personally, have been involved in more accidents and witnessed more than I have EVER been part of, either as a witness or party to, in Canada! However, this pales in comparison to anything I have seen in Canada!

I am always amazed at the fact that there are over 23,000,000 people on this island, which is half the size of Vancouver Island. With an accident like this, and that accidents are a daily occurrence in this country, there should only be about 200,000 people!

This may be crass, but I hope to whatever deity you believe in, every single one of these idiots are off this planet! They were not only a nuisance on the road, they were rude to other drivers, they didn’t care about anyone but themselves, they were a danger to everyone on the highway.

My only blessing is that, no matter what may have happened to them, either dead or paralyzed or otherwise injured beyond repair, they are now OFF THE ROAD! I was asked if I feel sorry for what happened to them. My flat out answer – “NO!” I thought that perhaps I would feel sorry for their families, but then again, who raised these idiots? Kids only grow up to be the people their parents raise them to be! I’m sorry. So, do I feel sorry for the families of these kids? Again, “NO!” Live with it. Realize that you did a piss poor job of teaching your brainless idiots to be brainless people!

What happened to them, could have easily been me or countless other innocent people!

I don’t know what is in the male mentality that requires them to act this way. I don’t know who they are trying to impress. I am only thankful, and again, this being a blessing in disguise, that my parents were a bit more tough when I was growing up.

They did not budge one iota on getting me a car when I wanted. Sure, I was pissed off at the time, but in hindsight, I’m sort of glad they didn’t budge on this issue.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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