Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scooter ride to Danshui...or not!

It is much easier to find a destination using the Ariel view of Google Maps than it is to find it when you are on a scooter in an unknown land.

A few days ago, Nolan and I set out to ride our scooters to Danshui, about 1.5 hours from where we live, to visit some friends.

It was a trip of disappointments, unfortunately.  We set out at about 9:30am, after about 20-30 minutes of driving we inadvertently took a wrong turn.  We scooted around the unknown town looking for any sign with English for about 20 minutes when we finally broke down and decided to ask someone for directions.  The lady we asked knew very little English, just pointed a few times and said "left", "right".  So...we took her advice...kind of...we went to the end of the street she sent us to then decided to overrule her judgment and started around town on our own looking for signs in English.

We proceded to ride around for probably about a half hour when we decided to stop and ask someone at a bank (we figured they could probably speak some English).  He kept telling me that Danshui was so far away...he actually told me that I should stop, get on the train and take it to Danshui.  After about 10 minutes, he finally sent me in the correct (or incorrect) direction.  Right before I could get on my scooter, another guy stopped me and told us to take a different way..."it was better".  So we took that way.

...some time later, we saw a police officer and asked him how to get to Danshui (turns out we were right next to the police station).  He told me that I could go use the police computers to look up google maps...guess what...everything was in Chinese and I could not figure out how to change it to English.  He then told me that he knew the best way to get there.  He told us that we needed to go down the road a little farther, turn left two intersections down (on a specific street, which we never found) and that road will take us to Danshui.

Well, after traveling down the first road (and not finding the specific street) for about 10 minutes, I realized that I left my phone at the police we turned around, got the phone, then decided to take the road the policeman told us to take.  After traveling for about 15 minutes and finding nothing that the policeman told us we would find, we decided to stop at an all familiar place MCDONALDS.  I knew that someone there would speak English, so we got some coffee, a big mac and talked to one of the employees.  We found out that we were only about 10 kilometers from where we live, wow.  Also, it was about 1:30, we had spent about 3 hours driving around and ended up only 10 km from where we does that happen?

Since we didn't actually know where we were at or how exactly to get to Danshui, we decided to just scrap the trip, and save it for another day.  The guy at McDonalds told us how we could get back to our town.  We were also dying to get home to see where we had traveled and how we got lost.

One of the funniest things about this story is that almost everyone that I/we encountered said "ooohhhh, Danshui is so far away" and they proceeded to try to convince us not to take our scooter to made me laugh because we wanted to go to Danshui.  Why would everyone try to tell us not to go just because it was an hour scooter ride away, haha.

I made it home alive to blog about it!  Hope you enjoy our story and somehow, somewhere you can learn something from this experience, haha.

God Bless.


  1. This has happened to us before in Europe. People in the US have no idea how lucky they are to have straight roads, street signs, etc...

  2. Haha. Maybe there is some truth to the idea that people will tell you directions, even if they aren't right, to simply be nice and not let you down.

    Phil, you should take some more photos of food, maybe some bubble teas that you like - I would love to see what you guys have settled into eating, what your favs are.