December 13, 2006

Episode IV: The wheels roll


They say Kaohsiung is a city of million scooters. I think it is impossible to count them all, but probably this number is accurate. At least government’s website says that. It is absolutely amazing because city’s population is just around 1.5 million.
According to the statistics, air pollution problem does not surprise me any more. No clear and blue sky on the photographs will be found. Forget the postcards. They are using computers to put colours on it.

We all know that keeping one million motorcycles in such a small area is not environment friendly. We also know it is not healthy, because after we get a scooter, we will always drive, even to the closest shop, just around the corner.

I found out that while driving in Kaohsiung, you must be extremelly careful. Somewhere there will always be a young person, driving with no helmet and talking on the mobile phone, speeding and overtaking every vehicle possible. Left side of the street is also good to drive for them. Does not matter if somebody is coming in their way.

Don't ask about the red light. Red and green are very similar so why bother making way for the others. If it's necessery, okey we stop, but not always. It depends.
Other thing are taxis. They behave like all city belongs to them. No laws and rules are important and respected. Just take the customer, reach the destination and make money. If somebody gets killed while being overtaken by taxi, we are sorry but that's life.

On the other hand having a scooter in Kaohsiung is really convinient and comfortable. City is big and you can easily waste one hour on the bus to get from one place to another. If you want to save your time, motorcycle is the only alternative. It's cheap and fast.

There are some places that you can see few houndred bikes parked. First thing you have to do after getting one is learn your plate number by heart. You will be in trouble if you forget it. Most of the scooters look almost the same.
Riding a scooter on a wide, empty street makes you feel good and happy. You cut the air like a sharp knife. Feel the air that touches your skin and face. You don't want to stop. You want to fly and take a look at the face of earth from bird's perspective. Enjoy the moment. This is now.

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