Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Bragging Rights

Almost exactly a year after I bought and taught myself to ride my very first scooter, I finally went to the Licensing Centre in Shilin to take the actual test and get myself one of them licence thingies. I'm still tearing around the streets of Taipei same as before, only now I'm legally tearing around the streets of Taipei. w00t!

When the police stops me and asks for my licence I don't have to pull the "Sorry, I don't speak Chinese." card and hope for the best anymore... now I can say "Sorry, I don't speak Chinese." and whip out my lil photocard and shove it in their faces... hah! Though I might sometimes still pull out my Japanese licence for them, the reactions of the police wondering what to do with the English-speaking-Chinese-looking foreigner riding around with a Japanese drivers licence are pretty amusing. You'd be surprised at how many times I've gotten away with it... *angelic look of innocence*

While at the testing centre I also took the car licence test. I now hold three valid drivers licences for three different countries and in three different languages... I should start a collection or something.

Something to note about practical driving/riding tests in Taipei:
  • It was my first time ever in a Left Hand Drive manual transmission car, I've driven LHD cars before, but never a manual one.

  • When I got in I went through all the usual checks, made the movement to take the handbrake off and then drove fwd 10 metres and noticed the handbrake was still on. Coz the steering wheel is on the wrong bloody side and I went to take the handbrake off with my left hand. Whoops.

  • The testing guy got out to have a cigarette while I was making my maneuvers, I think he was bored.

  • Once you start a particular maneuver you're not allowed to correct yourself even if you tell the man you can see its gonna be off, you're not even allowed to stop.

  • I made the shoddiest parallel park ever coz of this.

  • I kept trying to change gears with my left hand. Coz thats where the gear lever is supposed to be dammit.

  • By the time we got to the hill start section I'd befriended the testing guy. When chatting to somebody who doesn't speak much English I use a lot of gestures... so much so that afterwards I realised I'd actually done the hill start with both hands off the wheel.

  • By the end of the test I had started with the handbrake on, knowingly messed up my reverse park by 1cm, made the aforementioned apalling parallel park, had fun with the S-roads and clutch control, went up to 4th gear within 100m when you're only supposed to go up to 3rd, performed a no-handed hill start and coasted to a stop without using the brake.

  • Afterwards the guy said "You can drive. You pass." =D

  • The motorcycle test took 30 seconds; stay on a skinny section for at least 7seconds, go round a bend, stop, stop, stop, finish.

I feel another roadtrip coming on...
I know for a fact Taiwan has some pretty awesome-pactular mountain roads... Ken Gor! ;)

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