Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Transportation

Things didn't go so well between me and Taipei Public Transportation today. First the bus was late, which didn't matter too much because I allow myself plenty of extra time. Next the bus was standing room only when I got on, which is not unusual. Then we proceeded to stop at EVERY stop and squeeze more people on. I began to worry that someone would step on my foot. That wouldn't be a big deal to most people, but for me...

...(Rambling side note) Last summer I think I broke a toe or two on my left foot. I had done the same thing to my right foot a few years prior. The left foot seemed to be improving, until August 1st when we flew to Taiwan to live. In the first airport, Ethan stepped on my foot - RIGHT on the broken toes. It hurt like crazy. I had to keep it to myself for 2 reasons: 1) Ethan has a habit of hurting me and then getting upset if I express pain, which means I have to apologize to him, which makes me crazy. 2) People seem to think I make stuff up so I have learned to keep most of my physical issues to myself, most of the time. But this foot thing - it's been almost 3 months since Ethan stepped on it (and my guess is he rebroke whatever had been broken before) - it still hurts every day. It hurts at night. It hurts all the time. So, yes, I AM PARANOID that someone is going to step on my foot again. If that happened I fear I might have to go to a doctor who would want to TOUCH my foot and then... Don't even get me started. If you know me, you know people don't touch my feet and you know why. If you don't know me, it's a long story that you probably don't want to hear.

But I managed to get off the bus without injury, so I proceeded to the MRT Station. My train came, I got on, we sat there. We didn't ALL sit there. The train was also standing room only, so I stood. The doors didn't close. A message flashed across the screen which said The Train is Waiting, Please be Patient. After a few minutes the doors closed and we were off. At the next station people got off, (mind the foot, please!) people got on, doors stayed open, no message this time (at least not in English) but after a few minutes the doors closed and we moved. Repeat this a couple more times. THEN, people got off, people got on, doors didn't close, announcement in Mandarin, people got off, people got off, announcement in Mandarin, people got off (we were packed in like sardines so there were lots of people who could decide to get off.) 15 minutes passed. A college age girl near me looked friendly and that age group usually speaks some English so I asked her what was happening. She said they were having some trouble with the train but they would go in 8 minutes.

....(Rambling side note.) They are funny about times here. They do not express time in 5 minute increments. When I call for a cab I am told how long the wait will be. The standard times are 3, 6, 9 or 15 minutes. Longer than that they say they don't have a car for you. If you make a reservation at a restaurant they tell you they will hold the table for 6 minutes, if you are later than that you lose your table. Funny to me that it is not 5 or 10 minutes, but 6.

By now I was late for my Bible Study and I hadn't even reached the "busy" station yet. Once there I could try to cram myself into another train (as I usually do) or I could walk. Given the way the train was running I thought I should probably walk, although by now my feet were not feeling up to the challenge.

I gave up. I got off the train. I had observed trains heading the opposite direction (back to where I began) while I stood waiting for mine to move. My intention was to call it a day and head home. But... no trains came. I found a place to sit. The board said over and over that the next train would be arriving in 1 minute. I gave up and walked outside to catch a taxi.

Even the cab ride was strange. The driver knew where he was going (which is sometimes a bonus!) but he had a very strange way of driving. I used to describe my Mom's driving as "push and coast": she would accelerate then take her foot off the gas pedal until she was going too slow, then accelerate again, coast, etc. The cab driver was kind of an extreme version of push and coast. Rather than PUSH the accelerator he seemed to PUNCH it, then he would get too close to the car ahead of us so he would have to brake. The result is I was continually being thrown forward and back, forward and back.

It's just a good thing this was not my first experience with public transportation here.

2 comments:

Elizabethd said...

That sounds very stressful for you.

sharonwilhelm said...

Push and coast, very accurate. Taxi's are an experience. You have to be flexible to deal with it.