Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Taiwan's Scooter History: Part 3/3

"But for me, eh, I still drive around for no reason. I still use it to understand my neighborhood, my area. You know, it’s still the best tool to explore. And it doesn’t bother anybody."

Three weeks ago, I attached the GoPro to my helmet and headed down to Hsinchu. I traveled via Baiji, Sanhsia, Daxi, Longtan and Guanxi to Hsinchu County Road 16, which is the scenic road down to Zhubei. From there, the 118 heads straight to the coast at Nanliao, near the fishing harbor. There, in a shuttered cafe with artwork by noted Taiwanese artist Candy Bird, I interviewed my friend about his experiences riding scooters in Taiwan since the 1980s.

The day was to nice to spend indoors so we decided to go for a ride. After leaving the port, we rode up to the nearby flat-topped garbage mountain, saw an Emerald City-like refuse treatment facility. So far, that's all been covered in the first two videos. Now for Taiwan's Scooter History: Part 3/3

In this the third part of this series, we descended from the high ground to ride through the farm land to the mouth of the river. Looking out at the mudflats occupied a few minutes, and then we rode past the airport, where we saw a Mirage jet fighter land, continued along the outer walls of Hsinchu's prison, and then steered toward the district near the East Gate for some duck noodles at an amazingly efficient and busy shop.

The video ends at the East Gate traffic circle, but we continued riding all the way back to the turn off for the Hsinchu Route 16, just a few kilometers past the High Speed Rail overpass outside Zhubei.

Excerpts from the interview
"I think because the people in Taiwan, you know, we kind of always feel the freedom for ourselves, even in certain times you really have to study hard, at a certain time and certain age you really have to work really hard. It’s really a lot of duties but because the people in this island, because the differences between each other, so we always feel kind of free." 
"So I think the scooter, the first thing it gives to you is the opportunity, to get out, to get around, to go the places. There wasn’t trains, there wasn’t subways, there was not that convenient for even driving the car, so the scooters are giving us the first chance like that."
"As soon as you have a scooter, there is one thing you always do. You start at the nearest mountain, nearest beach, then pretty much you’re going to east coast, west coast, south. Personally, it’s a few times that we drove around the island. We tried to get into every mountain road that we don’t know, to try to discover, and meet different people. So for me personally, I don’t know how you would calculate how many kilometers I’ve traveled in my lifetime on scooters. It’s uncountable."
Look forward to more videos of scooter rides, and additional interviews as well. If you enjoy this blog, share it with your friends. And leave comments for me. I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Photos from the video