March 16, 2011

The other day I was talking about how this had been a crazy week. Yesterday, just seemed to add to the week. And in reality, it’s only been about 5 days!

First, I get pulled over by the police because I had my lights on. Apparently, since very few people use their lights during the daytime, it tends to annoy people when others keep them on. Or maybe, they still have that idiotic belief that the electrical system and the fuel system are somehow connected. You keep your lights on, you use more fuel.

I’ve tried to explain a few times that if that were the case, every vehicle in the country would explode the very second it was turned on! There is no possible way that the electricity run your lights is in any way connected to the fuel system. For this, the police made note, checked to see if there were any ‘priors’ on the plate, and basically, made me late for my class.

Meanwhile, other scooterists are zipping past us at speeds WAY in excess of the 50km/hr limit, scooterists without the required safety helmet, running red lights, and making illegal turns. A couple of times, I mentioned to the other officer and pointed it out, but he said that they can only do one scooter at a time.


Then, my scooter is towed away from a ‘red zone’ in Kao-hsiung. Cost to retrieve – 825nt and an hour waiting.

On the way home that same evening, Sunday, witnessing the most horrific scooter mishap (and hopefully death of each and every one of the idiots), ever, in all my life on this planet.

And now we get to Tuesday.

In recent weeks, Giraffe has asked if I could help out with the students’ telephone testing. Basically, the teachers provide me with material for the students to read, questions to ask, and of course, I always add in my own ‘ad hoc’ questions. I realize this is not necessary, but for some students, they are only willing to do what is absolutely necessary for these phone calls – read the required text, and answer the questions that, in some cases, has already been provided to them.

On Tuesdays, I have two classes from 5:30-6:30. I head out for a couple of minutes break, and because of some small-minded neighbours, have now resorted to standing about half a block away, at a small intersection.

The things that I’ve seen at this intersection are, to say the least, incredible. I guess it doesn’t really matter what the rules of the road are. It doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone is the only one on the road. Lights and lines are mere suggestions.

Okay… so here goes. I’m watching the corner. I see this black-tinted windowed black car, suddenly decide to turn left on the green light. In the process, he cuts in front of a BUS, and not just a little city bus, but one of those BIG highway-type buses. The bus screeches to a halt just inches from the front of the car. Now, the car cannot see the oncoming traffic because of this dinosaur bus in front of him, but that doesn’t stop him.

He continues driving. Just as the corner of his car inches past the bus, KABOOM! Two girls on a scooter connect with the car.

I think that most car drivers either can’t see, or don’t car about scooters and cyclists. I don’t think most of them even care about anyone else but themselves.

Nonetheless, the scooter’s front end cracks, and pieces fall off. The girls are lying on the road, and slowly get up and pick up the scooter. Meanwhile, other people are still trying to drive around this little mishap as if nothing is happening. No stops to offer an assistance. I go over, and snap a couple of pictures. The driver of the car, once the scooter was off to the side of the road, continues on his merry little way.

I guess he must have seen me snapping photos, because he eventually stopped, with his car still running, walks down to the corner, and starts yelling at the girls!

I asked the girls if they had email. I had a couple of pictures, one showing the mishap, and another showing the license plate of the car. They didn’t know what to do with it. I ‘suggested’ to them, that if it were me, I would be printing off the photos, and heading over to the police station.

I couldn’t actually believe that the guy in the car, would have the audacity to come over and start yelling at the girls, saying that it was their fault for not watching where they were going. Apparently, he turning LEFT at an intersection, thus crossing over 3 lanes of traffic, he had the right-of-way.

Here are the photos. You be the judge.


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