Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wasai--- Cars first, people second

One shock experience I had in Taiwan was the massive amount of traffic and motorcycles. I’ve been so used to traffic in America, that I was not prepared for the way people drive in Taiwan. Actually, I thought the traffic in Berkeley was pretty bad since there were people everywhere. As a driver I was constantly frustrated with the pedestrians. In America, cars must yield to people. But in Taiwan, people must yield to cars, or else they will suffer dire consequences! It took me a few days to get used to the fact that as a pedestrian, I have the least amount of power to control traffic in Taiwan. I was constantly fearful of crossing the streets. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure where the street was since motorcycles would be passing through marketplaces and residential areas alike. Even if the street signs said “One Way”, there would still be two-way traffic!! I was also amazed to see how Taiwanese people carry almost everything on their motorcycles. From little babies, kids standing on crates, dogs, bags of groceries, computers, sometimes their entire family. Whenever I would look down from our tour bus onto the streets, I would be concerned if the bus saw the motorcyclists driving right next to it. How do these people survive Taiwanese traffic?! When I was taking a taxi to the airport on my last day in Taiwan, we bumped into some traffic on the highway. I noticed, to my utter shock, that there were multiple cars using the shoulder of the highway to get past the traffic!! This would be unimaginable in the States. No one would dare to use the shoulder as if it was another lane!! Where were the Highway Cops?! Or…are there any?! By this point, I have been surprised by Taiwanese culture so much, that all I could do was laugh. Taiwanese traffic is definitely one of a kind.

Submitted to Wasai Taiwan by: Caroline Ogasawara

(Hsinchu, Taiwan--- San Francisco, the U.S.)

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