Because of the current Typhoon I did not have work for another day. So far all I have experienced in the Typhoon is heavy rain and some wind every now and then. It still hasn't surpassed what one might endure on the Oregon Coast during a hefty day. They still cancel school because of it. I could see the danger if the wind picked up but we were lucky enough that the wind missed us. So with school canceled, no rain, not much wind, and nothing open, I figured I would head out on my scooter to see if I could find myself a surf spot and how long it would take. Oh, yeah, I got a scooter alright!
The scooter is a wonderful phenomenon in Taiwan. They are a great commuter vehicle. No parking, no worries, just park it there. Where’s “there”? Wherever you mean it to be. Just not in the middle of the street for obvious reasons. I had the privilege of getting to take my first ride today.
A little frightened? Yes! Especially since I was only wearing my sandals. What if I crashed? I would be nothing but minced meat for rats and one more butt of another American Road Kill joke. Oh, the bigger reason? No license. As I found here, though, laws are more of guidelines. Enough of rationalizing myself, on with the tale.
I set out with those shaky baby steps and found myself riding what is more like a high-powered lawnmower. Weeeeeee! What a freeing experience. Now I know how the Flintstones felt but I didn’t have to move my feet as fast. I can go anywhere and I headed north on the highway. Mostly, I just got behind someone to copy what they were doing so I didn't break any laws. Then I hoped they were going the same place I was going, which wasn't always the case. Intuition always got me back on track. Its my mother's dog in me.
Scooters are not allowed on freeways, so at one juncture I had to go through some backroads. Now this may seem daunting to the unexperienced motor scooter rider, but I had at least 30 minutes under my belt, so backroad ballet is a piece of cake for me. Or at least until I had to turn left. At this corner, I found myself unable to see if some was coming. I was pretty sure I had time, relying on that dog sense again, I proceded forward to find myself in a tight spot with another scooterie. I tried a quick rev and a tight turn leading me straight into a gaggle of parked scooters.
Did you know that if acceleration and a brake had a fight, the brake would win? Yeah, I was wrong too. Yet just before I pummeled into the nest of bikes, I took the gusto out of the acceleration and I was alright. Everyone's probably wishing I would have gone into it for the story, but remember the Rolling Stones concert where the Hell's Angels went buck wild at such a thing? Do you really want that to happen to me? Ok, all of you are fired!
On with tale, I headed up to Toucheng where some surf stuff was showing up. I became worried at this point. There is supposedly a Typhoon going on and I'm 45min away from my apartment on a scooter, as masterful as I am, that I don't even know how to turn the headlights on yet. Dark, dark, dark clouds are rolling over the towering hills, its getting late, and murphy's law is lurking. Do I make the push to get there, or do I wait until not such a risky day and get home safely. Yeah, you guessed back the way I came, though later I learned I basically was right there.
I happily came upon Wufengqi's Falls in Jiaoxi which happens to be one of the most scenic spots in Yilan County. Not a bad find if I do say so myself. I stopped at the base to gaze at the river gushing through below. There walked in the vacant parking lot 3 dogs. Dogs around here just exist. People really don't give them much heed. They have these sad eyes as if filled with affection but no one wants it. I hated having to ignore them, but who knows what temperment these wonderers might have. They may even have rabies which I was warned of by my travel doctor. So I had to leave them be. At least they had their pack. Still, it haunted me that these were almost a representation of physical manifestations of lost souls that wanted to connected, yet no one could see or hear them. The Untouchables.
Well, saw the waterfall. You wouldn't believe it! Water fell, gushed and churned. Quite exciting. I like the most the Taiwanese sausage I had at the bottom. Very sweet. Much better than a hot dog. There area was beautiful too. I still think that if you don't have to work for it, like hike 2 miles just to see it, its harder to appreciate. Kind of a general life lesson. The most enjoyable and fulfilling part of it all is the journey, not the destination.
On my way back, I had a close encounter: There was a cop calling in random people to check their stuff. The guy in front of me was called in but not me. I've been kind living in a murphy's law... wait... I not going to break it. Needless to say it got my heart pumping being the man with not license. Got home safe and sound and now I'm ready for work tomorrow. Finally.