Friday, August 28, 2009

Q: What's in my wallet?

A: Lots of junk (I really need to organize it). Today, though, I added an important item that I'm especially proud of: My scooter driver's license.

My name is just under the first black bar...Kong Shu-wen (孔書文). My birthday is listed under my name as 52/03/05 because everyone magically ages 11 years when they come to Taiwan. (Not really. The year isn't counted from the birth of Jesus, but from the country's founding in 1911. So, in Taiwan, I wasn't born in "1952", just "52.")

Since I have a small scooter (50cc) I only had to take the written driving test; yet, I failed it the first time I took it. Why did I fail it? No, the test wasn't in Chinese. However, it wasn't quite in English, either.

Try it yourself

The following are some actual questions from the test, exactly as they are written. The answers appear at the end of this blog entry (don't cheat!)

Here's an easy, just-takes-common-sense, question:

A. True or False -- Pedestrians, motorcycles, tricycles are allowed on highways. ("Tricycles" will probably give away the answer)

But they can get tricky:

B. True or False -- Heavy motorcycles include common heavy motorcycles and big heavy motorcycles.

OK, you got a 50-50 shot at T/F questions. Let's decrease those odds a bit with some tricky multiple choice questions...

C. Number plate:
1) must be hung in the fixed place
2) can be hung anywhere
3) do whatever
(Did a stoner write this question?)

Not challenging enough, you say? Ok then...

D. Signs and lines can be classified as:
1) warning, prohibition, indication
2) warning, prohibition, restriction
3) all the above

E. Motorcycles running with extremely low or high speed, due to:
1) good stability
2) bad stability
3) doesn't matter
the driver must use good skills to adjust for a smooth driving.

Here are some interesting ones...

F. I am a good driver, I obey all traffic laws. I want the highway patrol to:
1) be more strict
2) be relaxed
3) just check but not report

G. When a motorcyclist is not happy, usually he/she:
1) is emotionless
2) is not compassionate
3) is angry

H. If a motorcyclist wants to show national pride, enhance social safety and family happiness, he/she must:
1) drive ethically and obey the law
2) have great driving skills
3) stop smoking and drinking

From the wtf files:

I. Motorcyclist's clothing:
1) is free
2) slippers are ok
3) must be clean

Can't forget road signs...

1) jolted road
2) slopes
3) protruding road

1) jolted road
2) protruding road
3) low lying road

1) no passing
2) no parking
3) no temporary parking

1) no parking
2) no temporary parking
3) no cars

Here's a freebie; just wanted to throw it in because I thought it was unusual. It means No animal cars and tricycles.

The actual test has 40 questions; you must get 85% to pass. The first time I got 82.5%, but this time I got 97.5%...missed only one question!

How did you do? The answers are below.

A. F; B. F (Believe it or not, "commom heavy motorcycles" are "heavy motorcycles", but "big heavy motorcycles" are not!); C. 1; D. 1; E. 2; F. 1; G. 3; H. 1; I. 3 (guess I can get a ticket for wearing dirty clothes?); J. 3; K. 1; L. 2; M. 2

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My new baby

After 1 year, 4 months, and 11 days in Taiwan, I finally have a scooter. She's a bit battered, but she's beautiful to me. Ah, the taste of freedom!

Click on photos to enlarge

I used to drive an old Volvo in the US that I named Inga; now I need a name for my new wheels. I welcome suggestions, and if I pick yours, I'll send you a prize! I need a girl's name (traditional for mechanical transportation, plus, well, she's pink!). If this helps, she has a 50cc engine, she's 14 years old, and she's a Yamaha.

The roads in Taiwan have just become a bit more dangerous...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So busy

Will be finished with summer classes this week. Exhausting. Maybe I'll finally have some time to update this blog.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Typhoon Postscript

All is well here in Taoyuan, but the poor people in South Taiwan need some prayers.

News story:
Hundreds missing as typhoon Morakot buries Taiwan village


Friday, August 7, 2009

Typhoon Morakot

It's 11:30pm and we're in the midst of Typhoon Morakot—"Emerald" in the Thai language. It's certainly been a jewel for me, because we had a typhoon day off today (like a snow day in the US or Canada).

This is proving to be a slow-moving typhoon; the eye hasn't even hit landfall yet. By tomorrow it's predicted that the eye will pass directly over Taoyuan, where I live, and that means...another day off!

Besides the days off, though, we really need the water. It's been a dryer-than-normal season, and our resevoirs were just reaching water-rationing levels. Morokat will definitely help the situation; all of Taiwan is under an Extreme Torrential Rainfall Warning: 350mm+ (14+ inches) of rainfall within 24 hours. The mountain areas have already received over 700mm (27 inches).