It is official, we have bought a scooter. In some ways it shows our acculturation to some parts of the Taiwanese culture. It is also more convenient than sitting in Taiwanese traffic. We have gotten in a cab to go a short distance to the high-speed rail station (about 6 miles I think) and in traffic it can take over 30 minutes! As we sit in the cab at a stand still, the scooters whiz by often times in lanes specially for them. It seems most people have a scooter here instead of a car.
When we first moved we thought we would not need a car, but we do not live in Taipei. While the train system is efficient, we are not that close to the train station, which is not as extensive as the train system in Taipei, so a scooter is great to get around town. They are also easy to park, which the same cannot be said for cars.
I do not have that many pictures of us and the scooter yet, because as novice scooter riders we have been practicing around our neighborhood late at night when the traffic is not as busy. I am starting to get braver and I have taken it outside of our neighborhood to the gas station and the bank. I want to take the Taiwanese license test to be legitimate before I go too far. If you have a scooter that’s engine is larger than a 50cc your international license will not cover you. It will also give me more confidence passing their drive test. I would say I might be verging on overconfidence, but it is surprisingly easy. Everyone who has a scooter at school has given me a different “most important piece of advice”for driving a scooter, such as, “as long as you remember that your right handle grip is what makes you go “🛵, “only use the back brake, especially in the rain”🛵, “you’ll accidentally hit the gas and survive”🛵, etc… I am not sure whose advice is really the most important, but I like that I have multiple suggestions. I read on an expat blog that it is like balancing a heavy bike and I really think that is a good explanation of the general mechanics.
I was excited to go scooter helmet shopping, which there is a large selection of here. Surprisingly, they are not that expensive some as low as $18.00. Do not worry, we asked if this meant that they were of lower quality (i.e. unsafe), but Taiwan has a country standard that all helmets need to meet to be sold as scooter helmets. At that price, I might have to get a few to match different outfits! I finally decided on a purple glitter helmet knowing that I can eventually get that Hello Kitty helmet too.
I finally got around to putting up some decorations in the apartment. It is amazing how having a guest will motivate you to get around to those tasks. I will post about that soon.