Sunday, 5 December 2010

Rough Riders

As you may or may not know, I have recently joined the pantheon of great bikers. My name can now sit easily beside those of James Dean, Marlon Brando, Dog the Bounty Hunter, that bellend Paul from American Chopper and of course Tim Allen, William H Macy, John Travolta and Martin Lawrence. Not a dud in the group. Every one a great man.

It's not all fun and games though, riding about town with the boyz, wearing leather jackets and just generally being cool like in Wild Hogs. It's a goddamn death race out there on the mean streets of Taipei. I know crazy driving too. I've been in Korea. The very country where when a taxi driver takes you on a short cut in a back alley, he doesn't slow down or anything like that. God no, what would be the point? Instead he drives just as fast but holds his hand directly over the horn in order to more quickly warn people of their imminent death. Taiwanese drivers spit on this sort of kindness. 'Warning people? What a bunch of faggots.' the Taiwanese taxi driver would say. Or what the cackling, evil taxi driver in my minds eye says anyway. And he's been right about most of the things he's told me.

I'd say most Taiwanese drivers wouldn't actually know where the indicator was on their cars or bikes. They just have no use for it. Accelerator, brake (rarely), car horn and hazard lights are the main tools of the job. Honestly, I think I see hazard lights used just as often if not more than indicators over here. They're used in one of two ways. Firstly, the 'I'm WAY too lazy to actually find a parking space' use. This takes the form of a car being abandoned, normally in the most inconvenient place possible for everyone else. Bus stops, bridges, fire stations. Places the inconsiderate government hasn't built parking spaces, the pricks. And when you need a packet of cigarettes or to sit down for half an hour to talk shit and eat some food, what kind of jerk walks for five minutes to get to the shop/restaurant? That's what cars are for, bro! So simply fire on the hazard lights, stop and boom. You have parked my friend.

Secondly, and my favourite use, is the 'I'm driving and using hazard lights' way. What this broadly seems to mean is that the person driving the car is a borderline psychopath and wants you to know it. The hazard lights in this case say 'I am a MENTAL and will drive accordingly.' I guess its nice that they let us know, at least. You learn to be grateful for these things.

Anyway, this is a small slice of the madness I have to deal with on my 30 minute commute into work on my mean machine. I drive fast, but safetly, I think. You may feel that those two things are not mutually compatible, but seeing the way others drive I'd have to disagree. Having said that, I think that getting into some mayhem on the roads over here is a matter or when not if. Another excellent reason for quitting my job! It's either that or go splat against the side of a bus, taxi or one of the other assorted auto mobiles that fill the roads in the mornings. You know, so long as I can take a BMW driver down with me, it might be a pretty good way to go.  


  1. How does Taiwan compare with Thailand? The roads there are frickin mental

  2. Scottie (wolfgrave)6 December 2010 at 05:55

    Hey that reminds me Crazy Taxi is coming out for xbox live !

    Missing ya big time buddy come home for Xmas I miss ur musk "essence of Ginger " xx

  3. Enjoyed reading your motorcycle post. You're a much braver man than I. I'll probably start driving a car more regularly some time soon, but I don't have the stomach for the scooters (especially in Taiwan). Don't worry, I'll keep an eye out for you when I'm behind the wheel;)

    Have fun in Korea and call me when you get back. We'll go catch a game. Charles

  4. The roads are the worst I've experienced, but a lot of that may be because I'm driving in the Taiwan's capital city! I'd hate to drive in Bangkok.

    Miss you too Scottie! But if you call me ginger again, you're a dead man.

    And thanks Charles! Have a good xmas and I'll catch up with you soon!