Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I am a huge fan of this blog post.

I'm not exactly an off-road cyclist, or even a long-distance cyclist. I have a little city girl bike that I take on the back lanes of southern Taipei (I think once or twice I've gone north of Ba-de Road, but I do cycle in Wanhua occasionally and that takes parts. I think I deserve some cred for that). Usually I ride it down to Jingmei Riverside Park and get some exercise biking up to Machangding Park and back, stopping to pet the occasional tiny dog on the way. The only danger on that bike lane is the occasional ojisan walking down the lane slapping his hands together to facilitate the flow of qi, turtles that come out after dark, and renegade tiny dogs.

(I love the tiny dogs. So?)

It's safe enough that I've even been known to listen to my MP3 player while riding it, as cars aren't allowed.

Anyway, regardless of this, the post above is a hilarious roll-call of bad driving in Taiwan, and the cars that bad drivers use to endanger us all. Ah, the blue trucks. Taxis, yes. I agree about the Cefire but I think Benzes and Beamers are just as dangerous.

And, y'know, taxis are fun. They can do anything. 6pm, in Xinzhu Science Park, need to make it back to the High Speed Rail station in 25 minutes? (This is doable at 10pm, but 6pm? You'd have to be suicidal *and* on drugs to attempt it in rush hour traffic) - tell the driver. He'll say "可能來不及喔!" (Oh, you probably won't make it!) But you know what, 9 times out of 10 he'll get you there. (The 10th time, you end up at a strange tunnel of light).

Plus, bonus! Get 'em talking about politics. They love to talk about that. I have heard so many amazing opinions on things from taxi drivers. It's like pulling political opinions out of a hat. It's like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.


Kathmeista said...

That's a brilliant link! Love it! I totally agree with the Altis one - I'm constantly swearing at Altis drivers. Admittedly, my profanity comes from the passengers seat, I haven't quite managed to convince myself that driving here is a wise decision ;)

Thoth Harris said...

You know, I think you are being rather unfair to the Hsinchu taxi drivers here. I live in Hsinchu, and I actually find they are, by far, the best drivers. I've noticed this, both as a passenger, and as as scooter driver, because I never have any taxis pull any dangerous maneuvers near me, and they always let me pass - or are considerate enough to drive fast, so I don't have to drive my scooter at an insanely inhuman pace. You might think I am one of those crazy scooter drivers who zip by at 100 kph. Not at all. Anyway, taxi drivers in Hsinchu (not really Taipei - yes, they're not great there) seem to have a remarkable awareness of what's behind, next to, or in front of them, or even for that matter, what's around the corner. They might be absurdly fast and run red lights, but they're skillful and very careful while doing it. I've never even had a close brush with taxis as I have with other drivers (mostly other scooter drivers who just don't look!).
I find that most of the problems with driving, riding a bicyle, or being a pedestrian here, or even trying to get around a supermarket arise from people's selfish denial of awareness of anything around them. There is just something that is not bred in them, to look around, to move to the left or right for the greatest ease of movement of others AND oneself. This is the way I've been bred, but not the way people here have been, which certainly is frustrating.

Jenna said...

Fair enough. But...

Note that I said that they always, always get you there on time. I've found Xinzhu drivers to be good (they'll get you there, and I haven't died yet) but...let's just say I've been in the backseat while they've pulled across double yellow lines to pass two (or even three!) cars at insane speeds. I had one pull over the lines, pass one car, and then pull back into his lane so as to pass ANOTHER taxi who'd also gone over the double lines to pass the line of cars, then get back across to the illegal lane to pass the last car. Fer serious.

Jenna said...

But hey.

I almost always make my HSR back to Taipei (I work in the Science Park once or twice a week).