Maybe this post should be entitled "You know you've become a Taiwanese driver when..."
I made a couple of observations last night about my driving that may interest or alarm you. Scooters are the vehicle of choice in Taiwan, and as you know, I have my little 125cc "old faithful" that gets me around Yilan. I remember thinking my first year in Taiwan that the main goal when driving here seems to avoid using your breaks if at all possible, which sometimes involves coasting to a stop, or more often, running red lights.
There are two main inconveniences when driving a scooter. The first is parking. You know those square puzzles with only one piece missing where you have to shuffle all the pieces around without removing them until you get the correct picture? Yeah, I've always hated those, but that's what parking my scooter reminds me of. Sometimes it takes quite a lot of maneuvering before you can get your scooter into a very small space, and other times, what looked like ample space when you parked has now become a maze. It requires a lot of lifting up back ends, turning wheels, and general difficulty, especially when it's raining, and all the scooters are vying for that one spot with a little shelter, which brings me to the second downside - inclement weather.
Last night it was pouring rain, but I wanted to go visit my friends, so I got my rain gear and flip flops on and rode the 15 minutes across Yilan. I've discovered that the best way to drive in the rain is to wear your long rain jacket backwards like the locals do with two buttons done up on the top which gives your legs more protection than wearing it the "correct" way. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, as soon as you have to stop, that rainwater all goes running down your legs when you put them down for balance. If you know the roads well enough, you might even be able to make it across town without having to stop once. It's been a skill long in the making, and the realization last night that I had managed to do just that, made me quite proud of myself. Yep. I have arrived at a new level of Taiwanese. In case you were wondering, my 67-year-old grandmother did ride on the back of my scooter multiple times without incident, and she loved it.