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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Go Speed Racer

Impatience is the bane of Taiwanese drivers. I saw this first-hand this afternoon as I was driving to the home of my friend Michael. I was in the right lane, and a delivery truck was next to me in the left lane. Behind us was the kind of blue pickup truck so ubiquitous in Taiwan. The delivery van and I were both going at roughly the same speed, no doubt to the frustration of the driver of the pickup, who obviously wanted to get around one of us so he could get to his destination more quickly. Unfortunately, the traffic light just in front of the Tz'u Chi hospital in T'antzu 潭子 changed to red. I stopped, the delivery van stopped, but the pickup was going too fast too closely, and though he applied the brakes, it wasn't in time as he crashed into the back of the delivery van, almost hitting me as the truck recoiled from the impact. The result was a broken windshield and a damaged front grill, but it could have been much worse - the driver was able to get out, and with the help of the van's driver, push the pickup to the side of the road:

Returning to the scene of the crime about a half-hour later, I saw that the pickup had been placed onto a flatbed truck and was being driven away. The driver may have been lucky this time, but how much physical suffering and property damage have occurred because many people in Taiwan can't be bothered to slow things down a little?

Fengyuan's first Indian restaurant has thrown open its doors. Are the city's notoriously conservative denizens (at least when it comes to dining) starting to embrace the big wide world of international eats? If my wife is any indication, the answer is probably "not yet". Despite the fact the sum total of her experience with Indian cuisine boils down to one night at a chain restaurant in Kyōto 京都 nearly a decade ago, she has made up her mind that all Indian food "isn't delicious". This from someone who complains a lot about the fare offered at many local diners, and yet still eats Chinese/Taiwanese food. At least my daughter says she's willing to give it a try!

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