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Posts Tagged ‘scooter’

Comedy of errors

Sundays are usually straightforward, but yesterday was the most complicated day I’ve had in a long while.  It started off well: I met my private 1-on-1 student on time and had a very informative conversation about civil law systems and common law systems, then went home to hang out for a bit.

Everything started to go wrong when I began to study my planned route to the hash in Sanxia.  My co-worker was resolved to go, and since he intends to buy my scooter and I wanted practice before I make my way to Jiufen by scooter, I thought we’d scooter there together, especially since I feel much more settled and comfortable on a scooter when I have someone on the back.  It seemed the national freeways didn’t allow scooters, but I wasn’t quite sure, so after consulting with him, we set off on the scooter.  We made it to Banqiao without problem, but then I asked a person beside us at a stoplight if we could go on the 3.  It was good I did, because my suspicions from earlier were true!

Sorry I have no pictures from this fiasco, but please enjoy this adorable bread from October.

After getting some ridiculously complicated–or just in Chinese too advanced for me–directions at a 7-11, I decided we should just go to Banqiao Station and take the train like the run’s organizers suggested.  At this point, we would have been only a little bit late, and my hopes were still high, but once we got off the train in Yingge, we couldn’t find a single taxi.  We walked down toward the center of the town, and when we finally found a taxi and hopped in, he kicked us out because he didn’t go where we were heading.  A gas station attendant recommended a bus, which we caught pretty quickly, but it was after 3pm by this point.  We quickly got a taxi, but we were supposed to follow flour from the freeway exit, and I couldn’t make that clear to the driver.  After trying to call a few people, we just had him take us back to Yingge, where we walked the pottery street and took a much needed break at a restaurant.

A bus brought us back to the MRT, and we parted ways as I went to pick up the scooter.  I thought I was safe, but no.  It had started raining while we were on the bus chatting about politics and such, so I got on my scooter a soggy mess.  I set off and had a strange problem with the engine just sputtering out.  Throttling up seemed to help, and so I proceeded until I mistakenly believed myself to be at the Sanchong bridge which would have taken me home the easy way.  I had missed the turn, so I started a long loop through some side streets and alleys where my scooter died for real.  An old man in front of a grocery store couldn’t really help, so he directed me to a scooter repair shop, which, it being Sunday, was closed.  I left it in a parking spot and trudged off to a bus stop.

The bright side?  The bus home went by Longshan Temple and I got a lead on a Christmas gift for one of my brothers.  Also, I saw a little bit of a traditional puppet show that was just puppets fighting each other to the clamor of cymbals and possibly live music.  It was part of a festival, and I’m totally going back before it ends.

And that was Sunday.

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Standing invitation

On Sunday, I intend to ride my scooter to Sanxia with my 9-foot-tall coworker riding pillion, and since I haven’t run that little machine in a good six months, I took it in for a check-up.  Since I wasn’t able to start it, I wasn’t surprised to find it needed a new battery, but I took care of that and got it washed and pumped up, all for just $850.

Since the washing took a bit of time, I was able to chat with the two mechanics, and as usual, answered a lot of questions about myself, especially since they see me basically every night as I walk home.  At one point, they broke into Taiwanese and I understood a bit.  When it became obvious I was sort of following, the conversation turned to speaking Taiwanese, whereupon I began bitching about the crazy difficulties.  The mechanic washing my scooter promptly shut me down by telling me that I just need to practice more.  As we finished the transaction, he invited me to stop by and practice any time.  How can I resist?

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Just before Halloween, someone gave my head teacher a pitchfork for her desk.  It struck me as so appropriate, especially since it’s such a small and silly thing, suitable for a bureaucrat who can’t manage.

 

 

 

 

 

Here you can see my scooter flirtatiously glancing at another scooter.  I’ve decided she’s a girl, but I haven’t settled on a name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some elevators are very advanced here; so much so that it’s possible to strike against the Rebellion from inside of one.

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My scooter

Do you know how hard it is to get this thing on its stand?

It’s red and it’s fast (probably) and it’s super super terrifying!  And cute.  Mostly cute, since it’s not the scooter itself that’s scary, but rather the other people on the road.  However, I took a ride to the bank last week and that was no problem, even the driving up on the curb to park bit.

And since I know my dad is curious, it’s a KYMCO 100cc Idol.

And Kelly, the picture’s for you!  You can see my helmet isn’t red, but it looks pretty badass and intense, right?!

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Downs and ups

Today I rode my scooter alone and unsupervised for the first time, and right off the bat I crashed as I tried to brake but instead accelerated right into two ladies and their minivan.  I went down onto my side, so I didn’t hit either of them, but I scraped a little paint off their car and scuffed my foot.  They were very kind to me, and kept telling me how lucky I was and to be careful.

Then the scooter wouldn’t start, probably because I knocked the oil line loose, but I took care of that, the loose throttle, the faulty speedometer, and what was probably a smog check all for the low, low price of $10.35.  My mood was good again!

I slowly rode out to the empty streets north of my place, and practiced driving for a little.  My confidence is now higher, but I still had to turn back at the main road and forgo the bank for today.  It’s a one lane road for about a block, and it’s an access road to the freeway… I didn’t feel like dealing with that after my earlier experience!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get a picture of my scooter soon.  It’s red and adorable and I have a repair shop for it right across the street.  What more could I ask?

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Busy day!

For a day that was supposed to be a break day, I sure got a lot done yesterday!

I had arranged a few days before to go out to Xinzhuang and meet my head teacher and look for apartments, so I started my day a little later than normal with a taxi ride over the river and into Xinzhuang with my new boss André.  My first impression of the city was very favorable, since it was a beautiful day and I rode on the back of a hot guy’s scooter all day.  I hadn’t intended to get a scooter, but I think one will be up for sale soon at my branch, and I’ll probably buy it, especially since it’ll only be about $300 dollars.  SCOOTER!

So then we looked at places, and options are not amazing so far, which I will get to in another entry.  I saw my future workplaces and watched a class of 7-year-olds, which was both reassuring and terrifying.  Then I took a bus to Taipei Main Station (took about 20 minutes during rush hour) and rode the MRT up to hang with Rebecca.  She helped me buy a phone (it’s pretty nice!) and get everything activated, and then we walked around and eventually wound up at her place.  It was great to just hang out in someone’s house instead of being in training or being in a hotel; almost as good as having my own place.

Eventually, I had to head back because of training in the morning and the fact that the last subway runs at midnight.  There are many wonderful things about the MRT, but that is not one of them.  Another thing that sucks about the MRT and Taipei maps in general is that they do not always orient north, which means a lot of mental rotation and reading in Chinese, two things I am not good at.  Nevertheless, I made it back to the hotel safe and sound, despite the fact that it was about midnight.  What a chill city!

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