Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rules of the road

There doesn't seem to be a hierarchy of vehicles here. In contrast to Taiwan, where size determines right of way and everyone bows to the primacy of the kamikaze blue trucks, everything on the road, wheeled or not, is treated as though it has a right to be there. In theory, this is a beautiful demonstration of equality and patience: dogs slowly amble in front of cars, motorbikes crawl politely around pushcarts propelled by ancients, everyone brakes at intersections to see what everyone else might be doing. In practice, the experience of biking up a hill while a van creeps along behind me, unwilling to do me the dishonor of trying to pass without giving me a three foot berth, is just wildly annoying and embarrassing. I have managed to hold myself to mutters only and not gesture frantically, swerving, they they should just fucking pass me already, PASS GODDAMN IT.

I mentioned this nice systemless system to Lisa last night, who generally concurred and told me that in the case of an accident on the road, the bigger vehicle is always held to be at fault. And while I understand how this is, technically, unfair, as a rule I quite like the idea of the big guys bearing more responsibility.

I realize I've been writing nothing but glowing things about this country for weeks. It's early days and the rose colored glasses are firmly in place and I do not apologize for it. Hand to heart, I write about exploitation and poverty and narrow-mindedness and frustration and manipulation soon. As soon as I, like, find it.

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