Taiwan

It’s common for foreigners, especially Western foreigners, as opposed to say, Southeast Asian foreign laborers or black foreigners, to praise Taiwan zealously, gushing over the uber-friendly and honest people and the lovely ladies. While a lot of that is often true, there’re also negative moments. Sometimes, even a banal act such as taking the bus can result in an extremely annoying experience, such as this evening.

Leaving work and walking toward the bus stop, I turned around and saw my bus coming. I saw another person hailing the bus and while he got on the front, I headed to the back door, as sometimes drivers will open it for people to board. The door remained closed so I ran to the front door. As the person I saw stepped into the bus, I almost reached the front door when it closed and just like that, the bus drove off. I walked fast alongside the bus as it pulled off from the curb, but the driver wasn’t looking at all. It could have been deliberate or it could have just been plain ignorance; either way the driver was incompetent.

This isn’t the most egregious incident I’ve had, as something similar happened to me before, except I was at the foot of the front door ready to step onto the bus steps, looking right up at the driver, when just like that it closed. I had paused to allow a passenger to get off the bus, and the driver closed the door as soon as she got off.  I also had an annoying incident in June, when I had swiped my card in the bus before my stop but the driver claimed he didn’t see it (either he really didn’t see it or he was being an ass), so he refused to open the door for me until I swiped it again (since I had already swiped it, the machine didn’t deduct fare, which is good). No apologies from the driver, while I got off mumbling and trying hard not to shout a few mild curses at him.

Now, generally Taiwan drivers (bus or taxi) are decent, polite, competent people, but sometimes there are unpleasant exceptions. Likewise, Taiwan is a very decent place, but it’s got issues (yes, even relatively minor ones like idiot bus drivers who shut the door on passengers) as well which serve to remind us that Taiwan is not all warm and fuzzy.

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