Driving in Taiwan!!

Essay by cyberbash February 2006

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

Downloaded 19 times

Scoop: Honk Fiercely as You Ride

When riding through an urban area of disorder traffic or a road construction section, you should (1) Speed up to pass quickly. (2) Honk fiercely as you ride. (3) Give way for each other.

I read the question again. I was stumped. It didn't make sense. But nevertheless, there it was. All the answers seemed implausible, so I took a stab at it and moved on. And then I stopped to consider the situation in which I'd found myself.

I'd moved to Taiwan three months earlier to teach English to elementary school children and make half-hearted attempts to learn Mandarin. Soon after I arrived, I'd bought a used black scooter, a nine-year-old, 125cc Yamaha; its model name, Fuzzy, was emblazoned on its flanks in silver and red. Although Fuzzy had so much mileage that her odometer had been rolled back to the preposterously low figure of 5,000 kilometers, she still accelerated hard and fast and she always started in the morning.

I loved her.

I drove Fuzzy every day--illegally. I had no driver's license. In fact, most of the other expats in Kaohsiung, a smoggy industrial city in southern Taiwan, also lacked the necessary documentation; we simply took our chances that the police wouldn't stop us. "Just smile and talk fast in English and they'll let you go," a fellow American teacher had told me.

But for several weeks, rumors had swirled that the police were beginning to crack down, imposing exorbitant fines and finding license-less expats financially liable in accidents even when they weren't at fault. So, I'd decided, it was time to go legit. Thus, I found myself at the Taiwanese traffic bureau that day facing the written exam.

I expected I'd do fine. After all, since touching down in Taiwan, I'd...