I'm thinking of going to Taipei later and attempting to see Avatar. Since all the tickets are sold out, I'm going to try to get my hands on some 黃牛票 (huáng niú piào) scalped tickets. 黃牛票 literally means "yellow cow ticket."
I've been told to look for older women hanging around the ticket area--they'll be my connection to complete the illicit transaction.
I was warned by some students that the scalper--upon seeing an ignorant wàiguórén (foreigner)--may try to charge me an exorbitant price. In order to prevent the little-old-lady from ripping me off, I was taught a useful word: 強盜 (qiángdào) Robber!
Let the adventure (and new year) begin!
I'm starting this year with a bang, and I don't mean firecrackers.
On the way to the laundromat I got into a traffic accident.
I honestly can't remember all the details, but I do remember that I had the green light. As I was crossing the intersection, an oncoming car was starting to turn left in front of me. I couldn't avoid him quickly enough because I was holding my laundry basket and was using only one hand to drive. My scooter glanced off the front of his car and I went down. I wasn't hurt except for a gouge in my thumb. I didn't note any damage to the guy's car except my paint scraped on his bumper.
Through the language barrier we managed to exchange information. My hands were shaking while I was writing. I tried to call the insurance company but I got an automated menu in Chinese, so I handed the phone to my accident "partner" who listened for a bit and gave up also (frustration with phone menus knows no cultural bounds).
At the time I felt it was my fault since I couldn't control my scooter well due to the laundry basket. But, I was the one going straight and should have had the right-of-way (according to my American thinking; then again, this is Taiwan). So, I now feel it was pretty much 50-50 responsibility. Taiwan's insurance is no-fault, so I guess it won't be a problem. I'm sure the ever-present traffic cameras will sort it all out.
The guy is a real estate agent. He told me his wife would call me; I'm assuming that's because her English is better, and/or she has more free time.
The sucky part is that the laundromat was just on the other side of that intersection.
Even suckier (?) is that I discovered the washers there don't work on coins but on some kind of pre-paid card that I don't even possess.
The suckiest (!) part is that, after leaving that laundromat to search for another, I found one even closer to my apartment, so I could have avoided all of this if I had just spotted that one first.
PS. I just remembered that I got my very first speeding ticket on New Year's Day, 2008. January 1st is obviously an inauspicious traffic day for me.
[Ignore this. For my own records, before I forget: Accident @ 10:00am, intersection of 仁愛路二段 and 中山路. I was going north on 仁愛路 , X先生 was going south on 仁愛路, about to turn left onto 中山路. X先生 works at 21世紀南崁老加盟店（南福街19號）