Posts Tagged ‘Scooters’

Right on cue for jumping the queue

01/01/2015

I know I keep banging on about this kind of stuff, but someone (preferably a Taiwanese local), please please tell me what the fook is going on in the minds of these selfish, ignorant bellends who keep ignoring the majority?  There we are, sat waiting patiently at the lights and, as sure as eggs is eggs, some clown or three will slide up the inside/outside/down the middle of the queue so they don’t have to wait so long at the next set of lights.

I know it’s a different culture, and nobody seems to give a toss about anyone else, but why do they think we are all sat there waiting?  Frankly, I take it as a personal insult, as the only explanation I can think of is that they think I’m an idiot.  Perhaps I am, but why is it that none of the local drivers seem to give a damn either?  They hate their time being wasted, and here are all these arseholes wasting this precious commodity by the bucket-load.

To add insult to injury, on the road this evening there was a police car slowly drifting down the hard shoulder while numerous cars and trucks undertook two lanes of traffic by using the scooter lane.  Of course, the police did absolutely nothing.  Why are the police so impotent, so uninterested, so blind to such selfish, dangerous road behaviour?  The net result is that the scooterists end up buzzing cyclists in the cycle lane.  Brilliant.  Thanks a lot car drivers.

As an addendum, we just witnessed a very lucky escape for a scooter rider.  He was cutting across in front of us through a junction (risky) while the car behind me was overtaking me (yes, through the junction) and clearly didn’t see the scooter until the last moment.  Cue tyres screeching.  Cue scooter rider hardly batting an eyelid.  He was 70 years old if he was a day.  How the hell he’s survived that long is beyond me… he was not looking at the oncoming traffic.  Must have burnt a hell of a lot of paper money at the temple last night.  Lucky bastard.

Lucky bastard indeed, and there was me thinking I would have my moment in court as a witness.

Oh, and a typical taxi incident for your perusal.

Taiwanese authorities…  what is your plan to deal with this kind of stupidity?!?

There’s Simply Not Enough Room

17/11/2014

Here’s a picture of a fairly typical road around here.  At least, it’s typical of the roads outside of the city.  You’ll note that it’s wide and it’s empty.  Surprisingly empty!  Perhaps that’s what you are thinking, but this is effectively out in the sticks and there really isn’t a high volume of traffic, which is why we choose to cycle out on such roads, even after dark.  It’s flat, it’s fast (wind permitting) and the road surface is generally pretty good.  There are a few dogs lurking here and there, but most don’t bat an eyelid as we pass.

Road

So far so good.  I’m not complaining.

However, and it’s a rather specific however… Why is it that so many scooter riders want to pass within a few inches of my left elbow?  Look at the road layout: there are two lanes for cars, vans and lorries, and two lanes for scooters and bicycles, and there’s even a generous shoulder on the right.  Bear in mind that this is looking north.  It’s the same heading south on the other side of the central reservation.  There is plenty of room.  Ooodles of room, in fact.

Dear Scooter Riders

Why, when you have all that road to play with, do you need to pass me within a matter of inches of my left elbow?  What exactly are you thinking when you see all that empty road and a cyclist ahead?  I’m genuinely curious.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Lots of love

Colin

In case you think I’m deranged, here’s another example.

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This is a slightly busier road, and the eagle-eyed among you will note that, in addition to the car and scooter lanes, there’s even a cycle lane to the right.  You’ll also note that it’s being used by scooterists.  Perhaps they should be allowed some slack.  Why?  Well, because dozens of impatient drivers will generally be using the scooter lanes because they simply have to be undertaking all those slower vehicles using the correct lanes to ensure that they get to the next red light just a few seconds sooner.  What is the point of all that paint, when absolutely nobody gives a flying fook about lane discipline?  Seriously, highway authorities if you’re reading this, what exactly is the point?

Here’s a lucky chap:

It’s a Scandal

12/11/2014

Recently, there have been scandals about contaminated cooking oil in Taiwan.  The people of this country seem to have been really excited about this.  I’m guessing here, but I’d be willing to bet huge sums of money that the actual damage caused to the health of the people of Taiwan by this dodgy oil has been negligible compared to the damage being done to their lungs by filthy air.

Now, just imagine for a moment that some boffin at NCKU measured the exhaust emissions from a scooter ‘reversing’ out of a parking space (I wrote about the phenomenon the other day here: http://fiftyyearsandcounting.wordpress. … n-reverse/ ) and then calculated the amount of such additional and entirely unnecessary emissions for a day/month/year. Imagine this then made the news as a scandal because it could be affecting everyone’s health, (with relevant comparisons to the recent oil crisis). This is the kind of joined-up thinking that is lacking, as far as I can see. Get this kind of information out there to start a shift in the mindset of Joe Public. I’d be willing to bet large sums of money (again) that not one of these scooter riders who reverses with the motor running has given the slightest thought to such a minor action. Why would they? Put it to them as a national scandal and they might, just might, begin to make some progress towards thinking about change for the better.

Okay, it’s a pretty odd example, but it is precisely the kind of thing that makes no sense. Absolutely none.

In a similar vein, I often wonder about the almost pathological reliance on the scooter and the corresponding failure (of vast swathes of the population) to walk or cycle anywhere.  Ever.  Allow me to elaborate.  Our neighbour takes her daughter to some kind of class after dinner every evening.  They go on the scooter, wrapped in face masks, of course.  Mum and daughter leave together and mum is back within approximately two minutes, so I figure they go about one block away at most.  They could walk it within five minutes each way, I reckon.  Similarly, my in-laws head out every morning to buy breakfast.  I can’t be sure, but as far as I can tell they go approximately a quarter of a mile to the market.  Again, it would take them about five minutes to walk there.  Let’s face it, it’s entirely unlikely that these are the only two cases of such minor scooter journeys on the island.  Indeed, I’d suggest that this is happening in every town and city on a colossal scale.  Just imagine the difference in the air quality if such journeys were eradicated and people took to their feet or used a bicycle rather than burning more fuel.

Where are the movers and shakers of Taiwan brainstorming this kind of thing and mobilising some kind of publicity campaign? Think of the long-term savings to the health service. Think of the children. For God’s sake, think of the children!

I’ll end with another film clip.  Even by Taiwanese standards, this one takes some believing:

 

Using your head

06/11/2014

Take a look again at yesterday’s photograph.  Five people on a scooter.

Nothing particularly unusual there, although the addition of a dog and perhaps a set of step-ladders would give it some further authenticity.  Look again and now what do you see?  Okay, now look again at the hit and run video clip from a couple of days ago when the car took out four or five scooters at the junction.  One of the scooters had a child on board; again nothing unusual in that, but look behind the collision and you’ll spot a woman riding past with a child on the back.  There’s a specific similarity with the photograph.

Dear Scooter Riders

I note that some of you choose not to wear a helmet.  I understand this, up to a point.  I note that others of you choose to wear a helmet and carry a passenger or two or three or four, but these passengers don’t wear helmets.  This puzzles me.  What is your train of thought here?  Just out of interest, what would you say to your child/grandchild if you ended up in a collision and, oh,  I don’t know… the child suffered severe head trauma?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Colin

As ever, it’s the thought process that interests me.  Again, nobody seems to care.  In a society where the children are (apparently) so important, how come there is no massive public outcry about this kind of thing?  It is evident everywhere, every day.  What is the general public thinking?  I need to know.  Please enlighten me.

“Yeah, we’ve read all that, but where are today’s images?” I hear you shout.  Well, if you insist, here’s what you might call a brown trouser moment:

I can’t get it in reverse

05/11/2014

A quick one today.

Dear Scooter Riders

Why do you start your engines before pushing the machine backwards out of its parking space?  Is there as secret reverse gear nobody has told me about?  Think about it.  All that extra fuel being burnt; all that extra pollution.  What are you thinking?  Please let me know, as I’m genuinely interested in the thought process.

On a similar line, why do you sit with the engine running at a red light which shows you that you are going to be waiting for 30, 60, 90 seconds, or whatever?  Look at the photograph I posted yesterday.  Imagine 100 scooters all stopped for 90 seconds, all with engines running.

I’d do another calculation to illustrate the enormity of the waste, but what’s the point?

Lots of love

Colin

For those of you needing a visual, this is off topic, but not unusual.  I’ll come back to it in the near future.

Scooters1

An open letter. Probably the first of many.

03/11/2014

It’s a long while since I wrote anything on this blog, but ideas have been bubbling away, deep in the recesses of my tiny brain.

Having reached the inevitable conclusion that there is absolutely nothing I can do about the madness I witness all around me each and every day, it seems only right that I should at least try to understand what is actually going on.  Since I cannot speak, nor read nor write the language (a situation I am determined to rectify sooner or later), I suppose I can at least ask a few questions in the vain hope that somebody may enlighten me.  I’ll try to keep it short.  Perhaps an observation in each post, coupled with a question and maybe a suggestion or two.  I no longer have a camera on my phone, so I may be a little lacking in visuals.  Let’s see how I get on.

As you will know if you’ve read some or all of my previous posts about life in Taiwan, there are some mighty odd things for an old westerner to deal with each day, not least when out and about on my bike or in the car, so I’ll begin with the police.

Dear Taiwanese police officers…

I doubt you’ll have time to read this because you’ll be out at some junction dealing with yet another (probably minor) collision between a car and a scooter, or between a scooter and another scooter, but should you find yourself with a moment, perhaps you could answer this question.  What are you thinking as you attend your 93rd incident of the day?  Do you, or any of your superiors, wonder why you spend so much time dealing with these collisions?  Has anyone ever thought to analyse and address the cause of these same collisions?  Has nobody noticed the similarities?  Do you not think that it is a massive drain on/waste of resources?  I’m genuinely curious.  What exactly are you thinking?

Here’s a classic example.

And another

And for monumental stupidity (not for the faint-hearted):

I simply don’t understand why there is nothing being done to deal with this problem.

If anyone out there is a Taiwanese police officer, or if you know someone who is a Taiwanese police officer, I’d be very grateful if you would forward this and ask them to respond.  Thank you so much.

Edit: I addressed this to the police.  Having thought about it, this is aimed at all Taiwanese citizens.  What are you thinking when you see this kind of thing?  I genuinely, genuinely would like to know.

Red Light Creep

11/09/2013

Now, with a title like that, this ought to be a short missive on Hugh Grant – okay, that was a very long time ago, so you kids had better just look it up – but it’s a term that struck me one afternoon as I was sat in the car at one of the countless intersections in Kaohsiung.  You see, red light creep is a condition or a disease, rather than an odious individual looking for a good time.  More specifically, it is a condition seen across Taiwan if the circumstances are right; namely, a set of traffic lights and a road user.  In my (admittedly limited) experience of the island, the disease is fairly well established in every corner, wherever road meets road and driver meets traffic lights.  While the term itself has been gnawing away in my mind for a few months, only today did it occur to me that it could be a useful catch-all term for the bizarre, confusing, frustrating and crazy monster that exists under the name of road use in this glorious island.

Any regular readers will perhaps recall that in earlier posts I have been particularly concerned with cycle safety on the roads of Great Britain.  Since I moved to Taiwan, my attention has been on other things, but I’ve been storing up ideas and now seems as good a time as any to unleash them on the world.  Hopefully, the world to which I refer will include Taiwan (not Chinese Taipei – are you listening, WHO, UN, IOC and other world bodies*?)  as this is for you.

I fully expect that some of you may be thinking “look at him, coming over here an telling us how to use our roads!”, and I realise that I may be being rather presumptuous for daring to offer some advice, but I do know a thing or two about road safety.  I have been trained by the police in the UK and I passed my Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) test some 22 years ago, so I have some expertise on the matter and, ultimately, bad driving is bad driving, whatever the geographical location.

If you’ve got this far, I guess I should explain how the title is so pertinent.  Essentially, there is an unwritten rule of Taiwanese road use which says “Thou shalt not wait!”, with the qualifying clause “especially at a red light for any longer than is absolutely necessary, and even then, don’t worry if you think you can get away with it.”  There is a fundamental issue of road use which is epitomised at the traffic light junctions the length and breadth of the island; drivers simply cannot wait for the light to go green.  Similarly, they cannot wait for other to pass, cross, park, turn, or any other legitimate activity on the road.  Read on, and I’ll explain.

Hang on.  Before I go any further, take a look at this.

I think it’s in China, rather than Taiwan, but it’s kind of relevant to the text.  It’s pretty funny too, if a bit of schadenfreude doesn’t bother you.

I should make it clear that the road/driving system seems to work, and there is evidently some method in the madness, but the madness is there all the same.  I have done countless hours on a scooter: scary.  I have done hundreds of miles in the car: scary, but at least I have a steel cage around me.  I have done many hours on my bikes: scariest.  I have yet to witness an accident, but have been on the scene soon after on several occasions – mostly scooter related incidents.  I should also make it clear that I have an old laptop that seems to work.  It’s rather old and slow; it’s from another era; my new one is more efficient, nicer to use and makes use of the latest technology and thinking.  Changing a laptop is easy – changing a nation’s attitude to road use is all but impossible, but here are some observations and suggestions from this weary old ex-pat.

This is going to be text-heavy, so here’s a short clip to set the tone.  No schadenfreude here and it’s definitely not for the faint hearted:

This looks like a clear case of the driving simply jumping the red light, but it also highlights the fact that so many scooter riders and drivers seem to focus only on what is immediately ahead.  Bearing in mind that red light jumping is also endemic, one would be foolhardy to cross any junction at speed, especially if you are faced with a clear road ahead.

If you doubt that there is a widespread problem, try this compilation:

Notice how they are pretty much all self-inflicted and/or avoidable with a little awareness or forethought on the part of those involved.

Here are a few examples of what could be improved, not just for me, but for the benefit of everyone, not least through a reduction in the widespread air pollution in urban areas.

The Red Light Creep

May I suggest politely that creepers just wait a few seconds until the light changes to green.  Gradual creep and the almost inevitable subsequent minor braking (because there will almost certainly be someone jumping the red light across your bows) will increase the fuel burnt and the wear on both brakes and transmission.  Try waiting – it will certainly save you money and may save your life.  To be fair, the highways authorities could help with this one.  At nearly all junctions it is possible to see the lights on the opposing side changing, so the stop signal also acts as a tacit go signal for those waiting for green.  Furthermore, many junctions have a countdown to green, so you know that you will have to wait 90, 60, 45 seconds, or whatever.  The problem is that at many junctions, the lights stay red for 90, 60, 45 seconds, or whatever, irrespective of whether there is any traffic.  i.e. most lights, as far as I have been able to tell, are not traffic sensitive at all.  Now this is a country full of high-tech gadgets and gizmos and the manufacturers thereof; surely it is not beyond the wit of a crack team of electronics nerds and geeks to come up with a system to address this.  We have it in the UK and we’re a pretty low-tech society, by comparison.  Imagine the fuel that would be saved and the pollution reduction if just a small percentage of the 22.5 million cars and scooters, not to mention commercial vehicles, were not sat needlessly at red lights for several minutes each journey.

The Right Turners.  

For the love of God, why can’t people wait for the person in front to pass across the junction, rather than speeding past, slamming on the brakes and cutting across in front, thus causing the other party to have to brake sharply as well?  I’d estimate that for the sake of delaying a manoeuvre by five seconds (on average), errant drivers could save themselves fuel and brake wear, and save the innocent party fuel, brake wear and excessive anxiety, while simultaneously reducing the risk of collision should the move be mis-timed.  The same thing happens for left turns, only this time you can see the offender cutting across you path.  The rules, such as they are, seem to go something like this: 1) If you think it unavoidable that the oncoming vehicle will hit you, hang on. 2) If you think the oncoming vehicle has enough room to brake sharply enough to avoid you, bugger it, turn across in front of it.  To be fair, you get used to it and heightened anticipation is an essential element of any journey.  It’s still intensely frustrating, however, and I can best illustrate this with a little more first-hand experience.  Some months ago, while out on my bike, I was descending on a wide but wet road. Visibility was fine.  Traffic was minimal.  I spotted a vehicle looking to turn across in front of me, also descending.  I saw the driver looking at me; he paused momentarily and I thought I was safe.  Oh, what a fool I was!  He decided to wait no longer – I was now some 40 yards closer.  I dared not brake, so I accelerated past and screamed at him through his open window.  He’d saved himself the obligatory 5 seconds or so.  My shorts were close to taking a hammering from my arsehole.

It should be noted that it also works the other way.  Namely, I can be signalling right for several seconds and gradually easing towards a turn and some clown, or several clowns (technically a pratfall of clowns, if Goooooogle and Wikipedianyoldnonsense are to be believed) on scooters will still want to try and pass on the inside.  All for the sake of saving a few seconds.  Just remember, you’ll have plenty of spare seconds when you are in you grave or on your life support system.

As a footnote to this section, I can’t resist the urge to clarify: I’m a Turner and I am usually right. ;0)

The I Don’t Give a Damn about Anyone Else Syndrome

I could probably cite dozens of examples of this, but a suitable incident occurred the other night.  I was outside a 7 Eleven taking a quick break from my bike ride, guzzling on a bottle of Pocari Sweat (honest) and trying to refill my lungs with relatively fresh air.  Parked immediately outside the store was a scooter, behind which I stood taking said breather.  Sure enough, the scooter pilot jumped on and immediately fired up the engine, despite the fact that: a) he couldn’t possibly drive away from where he was, what with scooters having no reverse gear and all that, and: b) there was I, a 51 year-old, 6’4″ Lycra-clad stick-insect, dripping with sweat.  A few litres of carbon monoxide fired straight up my nose was just what I needed.  Could he have waited about 5 seconds and hit the ignition after pushing the scooter back to the road?  Could he bollocks.  Yes, it’s a petty example, but perlease, oh loverly people of Taiwan… how about a little thought for those around you?  Again, there are cost and pollution implications – indeed, it seems to be common practice to reverse out of spaces with the motor running, irrespective of the presence of sweaty cyclists or other hapless passers-by.  It makes no sense.

Crossing the Road

Back to the ubiquitous traffic light for a moment. There are usually little animated green or red men to indicate that pedestrians should cross, or otherwise refrain from doing so.  The little green fella starts to speed up as the time to cross nears an end.  Take a look:

The problem is that a green man is not any form of assurance that it is safe to cross, since traffic turning left or right into the road takes its cue from the green light.  While technically, pedestrians do seem to have priority, this does not mean traffic will wait and allow sufficient room – cars, lorries, trucks, vans, buses and scooters will routinely cut across in front or behind with inches to spare.  I have frequently slapped the sides of vehicles whilst uttering some Anglo-Saxon curse to fall on deaf ears.  The situation is especially upsetting when I am crossing with my 2 year old son.  In a society which apparently reveres children, allowing safe passage to the same is not a given.  Once again, a pause of a handful of seconds would see pedestrians safely out of harms way.

Eye Contact

Whatever you do, never ever make eye contact.  It seems that this implies liability in the event of a mishap.  “It can’t have been my fault, officer, because I didn’t see (read: look at) him.”  In truth, this is often an impossibility in any case, as a huge percentage of cars have mirrored or blacked-out windows.  Frankly, you never get to see who it is who’s trying to kill or maim you.

The Speed Differential

The roads here are packed with scooters, and I often wonder what the scooter has done for this economy as they have a myriad of uses.  I suspect that in terms of accidents per miles driven they are actually relatively safe.  Indeed I hope this is so because it is not unusual to see kids riding pillion, riding in the foot-well, riding wedged between mum and dad.  A whole family can get around on a scooter: mum, dad, two kids and a dog is quite normal.

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Imagine this in the UK – the Daily Mail would implode with righteous indignation and the parents would be locked up just as soon as the kids had been carted off to Barnardos and the dog to the local pound.  However, the major risk for the majority of scooterists of Taiwan, as far as I can see (if you remove the very real risk of lung disease from the filthy air) is the minority of clowns who insist on blasting along at about twice the average of all other road users.  I have had countless episodes of near misses on both two and four wheels where a scooter has appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and fractions of a second either way could have proven catastrophic if I’d turned or adjusted my own line into its path.  Mirrors get a lot of use on my journeys and the good old ‘life-saver’ check (thanks, motorcycle training men of Crawley!) has become second nature.

Out Here, we Drive on the Right, Right?

Wrong!  Bear in mind that if you are not familiar with driving in Taiwan, we mostly drive on the, right, but if the place we want to get to happens to be just down the road, we’ll drive on the left.  Thus, a scooter or bicycle could be heading your way – i.e. against the flow of the traffic – at any time on any road, at any junction.  You have been warned.  Yes, you’ve guessed it; there is no point using the right side of the road if you can save yourself a few seconds by risking your safety (and that of a few dozen others).  Add in the family-on-a-bike scenario and here’s a recipe for disaster.  Sooner or later.

Who’d Have Thought that a Red Light Means Stop?

A simple tip, folks.  There is no point in accelerating at a red light, especially if you can see that there are still 90, 60, 45 seconds or whatever remaining until that friendly green light shows its pretty little face.  Red means you are supposed to stop, so just relax the throttle and slow down naturally, using the brake if necessary if the light hasn’t changed to green by the time you get there.  I’m constantly being passed by vehicles as I am slowing for a light.  Similarly, if there’s a narrowing gap ahead – perhaps I should refer to this as a pinch point or bottleneck – there is no point in accelerating towards it.  Why not simply back off the throttle and allow those in front to filter through first?  If you charge into a narrowing gap, it creates the situation where everyone has to brake and (probably) stop; if you ease off and allow space for those ahead to negotiate the space…well, you work it out.

I guess I’ll add to this as new and/or forgotten issues arise, but I’ll leave it there for now.  The eternal pessimist in me knows that nothing will change, but if only one person changes one aspect of their driving behaviour, it will have been worth it.

Slightly off topic, but in case you missed it in the news a few days ago, here’s one lucky, lucky bastard**:

 

** Thanks to Monty Python:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5i1cJIwE7M
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG63OtsKC7k
*Disclaimer.  I admit that, owing to the early onset of a severe bout of bone idleness, I have not researched this, so I apologise if I have misrepresented any of these venerable institutions.  Then again, the fact that Taiwan is still ‘not recognised’ by any individual, government or organisation is disgraceful in this day and age.

Lost in Translation

08/02/2013

Here are a few more things which have caught my eye in the last week or so.  I regret that the picture quality is a little suspect for some of these, but I tend to rely on a basic camera phone, rather than dragging my Canon 20D all over the place.  I hear Kev wincing at my admission, when he routinely lugs around cameras and lenses and rarely misses an opportunity.  In my defence, I’m usually on a dodgy bike with a 2-year-old trying to steer with his feet, so I can do without the extra responsibility of photographic equipment.

Anyway, I rather like the look of this advertisement:

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Whereas, I hate the look of this place:

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It’s a brand new building in Zhubei with some of the most hideous decoration and embellishments you could possibly imagine.  It simply has no place in this city, in my humble opinion.  This, on the other hand, is exactly the sort of thing I want to see on restaurants if I am to be tempted inside:

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And this is exactly what I want to see on scooters (the small-print, not the battle scars):

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I love the fact that the image features a bloke with red hair and blue eyes.  A native, he ain’t.

Here’s another slightly perplexing tag-line, used by a major drinks franchise chain:

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I’ve saved my favourites until the end.  We’ve come south for Chinese New Year with the Chens, so the boy and I went out on the bike in Kaohsiung this morning (here we are)

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and happened to do a short spin through the grounds of the Museum of Fine Art; never mind Salvador Dali (exhibition currently on view), they seem to have turned the development of warning signs into a fine art.  In reverse order of sheer quality, I give you:

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I, for one, would pay good money to see somebody worshipping in such a fashion, unless they simply happen to be followers of that rather irritating British diver, Tom somebody or other.  This one is slightly more, erm, surreal (Dali would approve?):

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I have it on good authority (read: Goooooooooogle) that qigong is “a Chinese system of physical exercises and breathing control related to tai chi”, but I have yet to ascertain the risks I face on encountering such activity.  These two, however, pale into insignificance when compared to the sign I want adopted all over the world.  I give you:

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Check the small-print – it’s not grafitti.  The adoption of such language on this particular type of sign may be just what we need to get through to the selfish, lazy, ignorant arseholes who need to have it explained to them that a pile of putrid pooch poop should be removed appropriately.  It reminds me of this, which came to my notice through Twitter a while back.  Gotta love that Aussie style:

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That is all, except for this rather wonderful song about words:

I Saw a Sign

25/01/2013

I mentioned in a previous post that I would let you have some examples of how English is sometimes used and mis-used out here.  Normally, I see something which makes me smile and I just walk/ride on by, without thinking of sharing my joy/amusement/amazement/confusion, but I’ve had a phone in my pocket recently and happened to focus the (rather inadequate) camera upon these.  I’ll add more in the days and weeks to come, so check back from time to time.*

I had to look twice, but my immediate thought was that this would be of limited use, unless the Second Coming is imminent and JC happens to have Zhubei on his itinerary:

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I’ve walked past this place many times, but have yet to be tempted inside.  I suspect it’s the kind of thing for which people would pay good money in Brighton:

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This is a really typical example of the type of thing that interests me most about the use of Taiwanesenlgish.  I really cannot see how these words add anything to a 50cc scooter:

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Slightly off topic, but another thing I saw for the first time yesterday; a woman wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet riding her bicycle.  It barely registered, to be honest, and I felt no compunction to reach for the camera.  I see so many unusual things in my daily comings and goings that it’s becoming more difficult to raise an eyebrow, however, I do love the extremes.  A couple of days ago I witnessed a whole-family-on-a-scooter-scenario (plus dog, plus shopping) and thought (as I usually do) about how the Daily Fail would go into melt-down if such a thing happened on a road in the UK.  The point is that it was such a stark contrast with what I’d noted earlier… two Porsche Panameras (you know, the really ugly ones) within about 60 seconds of each other.  In a city full of Chelsea, sorry, Taipei Tractors, such exotica exist on every other street corner (I saw a Ferrari and two Maseratis the other day, not to mention the Audi S5).

EDIT: Now, would you Adam and believe it?  The boy and his mum have just got back from the shop where the boy had just spent 15 minutes road testing every toy car, lorry and train on the shelves.  Guess which one he chose?  Only the bleedin’ Porsche Panamera.  What are the odds…? Evidence, m’lud:

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(And no, his mum couldn’t possibly have influenced his decision – she wouldn’t know a Porsche, let alone a Panamera, if it jumped out of her soup and bit her on the arse.)

* I feel I ought to stress that I am not taking the proverbial, here.  For me, this is actually one of the things that makes Taiwan so unique, so interesting, so fascinating.  It continues to struggle with its own identity, but it thrives on its own terms, using its own methods, oblivious to what some stuffy old white man may think.