Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Getting the Lay of the Land


Friday (still our first day in Chia-yi) after our lazy Susan restaurant experience, A-tai gave Don the keys to the car and house, and we were free to fend for ourselves. We went back to the house and unpacked, then we (Don and I, Mike and Donnie) decided to take a little drive around the area. We didn’t go far, at first. We went around the block to a neighborhood grocery store. Then we walked around before getting back into the car. There are nice wide streets in our neighborhood and shopping area. There wasn’t much traffic. The main streets are controlled by traffic lights. Everything seemed unexpectedly orderly, except the mass of shop signs that we couldn't read.

Having gained some confidence, we ventured further away. Soon we approached Putzu City and the traffic was a little more congested. And then…hold onto your hats! We were in the midst of the “market” area at 5:00pm! There were cars and trucks and bicycles and scooters and pedestrians and carts going in every direction. And they were right next to each other. Only inches separated motor vehicles from bicycles and walkers. There was absolutely no sense of having “rules of the road”.

The sun was going down and we were amidst a mass of moving humanity! I don’t know how Don got us out of there without knocking someone off his bike or sideswiping another vehicle of any variety…but he did! Once we managed to get out of that crazy market area, we were back in the land of sane driving…as if we hadn’t just escaped with our lives moments before! I have to say, that scene was much more what I was expecting to be living in rather than our quiet neighborhood.
After that mess, we are thankful for our little quiet corner of Chia-yi!

We needed a little nourishment after such a harrowing experience, so we stopped at McDonald’s just blocks away from our house. Donnie and Mike had discovered it that morning before we arrived from Taipei. It’s a beautiful McDonald’s. It’s brand new… opened on Christmas. Apparently everyone knew of it because it’s busy every time we go by. Locals are even taking their pictures in front of it.

We went home from McDonald’s and called it a night. We slept hard and comfortable! Thus ended our very first day in Chia-yi County, Taiwan.

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