|It is illegal to park your scooter on the sidewalk in Taiwan.|
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. (Honk your car horn.)
When in Ireland, do as the Irish do. (Drink a pint.)
When in New York, do as the New Yorkers do. (Have a slice.)
When in Taiwan, do as the Taiwanese do, and buy a scooter.
And so we did.
Our little black bundle of 50cc Yamaha joy, I call her Zippy and she spouts black smoke out her butt hole. She cost $300 and is the best piece of transportation I have ever owned. Don't tell the Subaru, but scooter driving is way too much fun.
It's a lawless road. Technically, you can only drive on the far right hand side of the road, sometimes in specially marked lanes, sometimes where there aren't parked cars. You aren't supposed to turn left, and instead you must cross the intersection and put yourself in "The Box," where you wait to go the right direction.
Did I mention that the average Taiwan traffic light counts down about 90 seconds? 90 seconds of agonizing, Why didn't I just turn back there? time.
Therefore, and I blame this on the length of the traffic lights, people drive as it is necessary. It is necessary to pass on the left, because sometimes old ladies with parasols walk in the street at -2 mph. It is necessary to thread your scooter through 3 foot gaps between cars and buses, because otherwise, you wouldn't move anywhere. And sometimes you make a left turn, just because you can't stand "The Box" and then extra several minutes it will set you back, sucking in scooter fumes at the intersection.
It's fantastic. It's stimulating. It's dangerous, and we are aware. It's like getting to be in the scene in Star Wars where Leia and Luke are racing through the Endor forest on the floating speeders. Lean right, lean left, DUCK, squeeze your knees in so you don't bang them on the car next to you. It is a bit rough going over the bumps, but hey, if a lower back massage will only set you back about $20, no harm, no foul, right?
But Caitlin, where do you put your stuff on a scooter? It's not like you have a trunk or anything!
Good question, my friend. The beauty of Zippy is she is equipped with a plastic hook that perfectly allows grocery bags to sit at your feet while you're driving. And thank goodness Taiwan is the safest place in the world besides a petting zoo pen of bunny rabbits and marshmallows. Need to leave your shopping on the scooter while you hop off to run errands? No problem! Need to leave your helmet because you don't feel like carrying it into the restaurant? Heck, why not display it on top of your rear view mirrors! The other day, James and I scootered our new bromiliad plant home and left it on the foot pad while we made a doctor's visit.
I swear you could leave your wallet on your scooter seat and find a fresh rose and a $100NT note folded inside of it on your return.
Anyway, the scooter is amazing. James and I "splurged" on the cheapest ride, lowest power, smallest seat, but in good condition. At $3 per tank of gas, it's the cheapest way to get around. So far, we've stretched her legs to the ocean (twice) and to the mountains (hot ass hot springs) and are never disappointed. As much as I love transportation, it seems like the best places are only accessible by Taiwan's favorite transport mode.
How's she handle?
Zippy doesn't purr, she buzzes.
|Learning to drive in the empty parking lot. Unrealistic good practice, but I have since progressed to the big leagues.|