road rules in Taipei

If there are any, no one really cares.

One Taiwanese phrase I would love to learn before I leave: "The sign says STOP you asshole!" I don't think the Mandarin phrase carries as big of a wallop -- not that I even know what the phrase is in Mandarin. Everyone who knows a Chinese swear word can only give me a Cantonese example. Mandarin-speakers just don't swear. They might spit on your shoes.

The drivers here aren't bad. They know how to anticipate other drivers' moves. No one ever slams on the brakes. Buses, cabs, cars, scooters, bicycles -- they all manage to maneuver around each other with only a couple of inches to spare. There is no alley too narrow for a scooter. There also doesn't seem to be a maximum seating capacity for a scooter. I've even seen scooter-trained dogs. You can buy a safety helmet (thickness of a salad bowl) for ten dollars at the drugstore.

Went cruising in a shiny red car my cousin is thinking of buying off his friend. He's going to have to convince his Dad to let him get one, since the brothers bought a silver one for my uncle Michael a few years ago.

"There's no point having two cars sitting idly in our garage!" Michael will say.

"How are you going to convince your Dad?"
"It's the company car. It will look good."
"So if it's the company car, will you slap some magnetic signage on the side? Great way to promote the business. Real classy."
"We can't promote the company that way. Signage would draw too much unwanted attention. We're taking a much more low-key approach."
"Porsche 993. A low-key vehicle. I see your point."

"Can you HEAR that?"
"Smells nice in here."
"How beautiful does that engine sound? Smooth ride huh? We'll speed up outside the city!"
"Automatic transmission? Wouldn't you rather drive standard?"
"All cars in Taiwan are automatic."
"Even the fast-looking ones?"
"Correct. You've got to custom-order stickshift."
"Don't tell me your Ferrari wasn't stick..."
Thought that might get a chuckle out of you, Ted.

I'm sure Lawrence will make good use of it (though he's told me they won't be installing car seats in the back). He's told me that if it weren't for the money, he'd be happy working in an auto body shop, tinkering all day.


Post a Comment

<< Home