Sunday, June 14, 2009

How many people can you fit on a scooter?

So yesterday was my first full day and I was able to take in a lot more. 

Oddest thing I've seen so far: practically anything on a scooter. Apparently my concept of right of way and what is safe or not safe on a scooter means nothing here. 

Right of way goes to whoever is biggest or boldest; Pedestrians are not top dog. As for pedestrians, there is no J-walking. You cross wherever possible and hope you don't get hit. Generally drivers will try to swerve around you... if they can. 

But the craziest thing to me is the fact that, instead of having a car, people here try to fit their whole family on one little scooter. It reminds me of the Snakes on a Plane spoof "Hippos on a Big Wheel" at Alamo Drafthouse. For instance, yesterday I saw: A man (with a helmet), who I assume to be his wife (with a helmet) behind him, their 3-4 year old child (with a helmet) standing on the platform in front of him, and then the wife was holding on to their infant-sized baby all wrapped in blankets in one hand and holding on to her husband with the other. 

Four people, no matter their size, do not belong on one scooter!

Scooters can also cut lanes and drive on sidewalks. Oh and red lights are suggestions for just about anyone. 

In fact, two of the teachers were on a scooter last night and got T-boned in the middle of an intersection despite the fact that they had a green light. The guy hit the teacher on the back right in the leg. He picked up his scooter and then drove off. 

I'm kind of terrified to drive a scooter now. Originally, I thought that since I've driven a motorcycle on highways at home that I would be fine. This is a whole different gig with a million more obstacles. It's ridiculous.

Otherwise, yesterday was great. 

I observed two classes with this guy Bill at Chen-Kung school. Bill has been teaching with Gloria for nearly 20 years. See what I mean by people come here, fall in love with it and then never want to leave?

Either way, he's a great teacher and the fact that he actually knows Chinese now helps, I'm sure. His classes were a lot of fun though. They were WOW classes, which are Jr. High and some Sr. High kids and they're more advanced.  I got to correct the kids' diaries (writing journals) and then I played quite a few games and did some Q&As with them. 

I would love to have WOW classes. Not just for the fact that they already know quite a bit of English, but they seem to really have fun and like to joke around a lot.

After class, Megan took me to the market down the street. I bought a bunch of fruit and some vegetables. I seriously spent $4 on two bags full on fruit and less than $3 on veggies. 

I stuck to pretty regular stuff as far as veggies go (bell peppers, broccoli and green beans) but I branched out on the fruit. 

I bought kiwi, guava and some wax apples (sometimes called bell fruit). I had some with Megan on my first day and I really liked them. 

While we were at the market, Megan showed me some of the crazy food that you can buy from the vendors on the side of the street. Some of it was absolutely awesome. Some, made me want to gag, for instance, that fried chicken foot that I saw... Gross.

Megan also taught me about a million Chinese words, about half of which actually stuck. But now I can tell someone if I have or don't have something (or ask if they do) and if I want or don't want something (or ask if they do). Now I need to learn how to say all of the somethings, heh.

I need to learn numbers so I can pay for things at the market and then the names of teas so I can order those. I've decided green tea really isn't so bad. 

Today is Sunday and that's everyone's day off. Megan said we're going to go somewhere, we're just trying to decide if it's going to rain or not so we can decide which somewhere.

Off to another adventure!

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