here’s a great one.
the wife calls after work and says the scooter won’t start. she was off to the mom-in-law’s tonight with the boy, so we all pile in the car and off the her work. after seeing them off, i try to get the thing going. it’s got a bad habit of taking it’s sweet time to start after a major rainstorm like tonight.
15 minutes later, i realize that it ain’t going to happen. i’m parked next to the taoyuan post office, and buddy come out and says that spark plug is likely shot. i’m sure he’s right - it’s about 4 months since i mentioned to the wife that she had best get a new one. anyways, he offers to help me take the old one out, which we get done rather easily (scooters are a BITCH to change plugs on, i find out - nothing like my FZ). he even lends me his scooter to save me the 20 minute round trip walk to one of the last scooter shops still open at 10 PM - didn’t know me from adam, but still lent it to me. buy the plug, back i go - should be outta here in no time.
except that whoever makes these yamaha 125’s made it just so that you can manage to drop the plug down a hole, where it’s damb near impossible to get it out from. of course, down that hole our plug goes.
well, had it been the middle of the day, i would have just found a shop to help, but now all shops anywhere within pushing distance are shut. so we try to dig the plug out that tiny hole … at one count, i had 5 mail employees trying to help get it out. one guy got close and then had to go dump some mail. another guy actually managed to get it back out the hole, with a lot of cursing and a coat hanger. who’d have thunk it? 1 hour later, and back to square one.
unfortunately, he didn’t have time to get it in properly. original buddy said he’d get it this time … and he did. within 3 minutes, it was back in the pit of “oh shit - here we go again”. well, aside from yours truly pulling it back with a hanger to where i could touch it, but not pull it out (and back to the bottom - @#!@#!), we wasted another hour trying to get the thing out. another mailman looked around for a store still open - nadda. it was now 11:30, two hours after i got there. still had three people helping, and the air was full of smoke and a word that sounds like “gun” …
another guy shows up, and finally the words came that i was hoping for - there’s a store still open, about 10 minutes drive away. not only that, but he has a huge mail truck with an auto lift, and he’ll take me there. so the scoot gets loaded in the truck, and off we go. the mechanic is gone, but his buddy/brother moonlights as a bing lang guy … with the right tools, we’re done in about 3 minutes.
thanks all around to some of the nicest guys who just wanted to help out. i went back to the post office with a deck of smokes - the guys were still there and they were surprised and happy about that. i’m having a beer (or 6) to celebrate that this ordeal/great chance to talk with the locals is over (i don’t think i’ll ever forget spark plug in mandarin or taiwanese).
anyways, while i might moan about the state of driving here, and it probably would have been faster to find a random shop still open than do it the way we did, i’d like to point out the friendliness of the locals. they could have left me to walk home and deal with it tomorrow. they didn’t help me because i could speak to them in their language either - they were already trying before i opened my mouth. just something to keep in mind as we pass our time in taiwan …