During my initial couple years in Taiwan in the 70s, a bicycle was adequate transportation. Returning in 1982 as half of a couple (she had also spent a year or so in Taiwan in the 70s) we were once again on bikes. This continued until 1990. When you’re on a bicycle, the most urgent repairs include punctures or broken chains. Repair shops then were as common as 7-Eleven stores now.
In 1990 we acquired a car. Cars have more parts than bicycles, and more things can go wrong. It wasn’t long before we learned of the constellation of repair shops, oil change places, filling stations and parts stores. While we continued in Kaohsiung, we went through 3 cars (long story, not a cheerful one). Each had unique repair or service needs. We went from dealers to large repair places to “a guy introduced to us by some friends.” Not long after we relocated to Tainan something went wrong that needed immediate attention. I’d remembered a place a couple blocks from where we resided, so drove there post-haste. It was closed. I continued along the side street and saw another, into which I turned.
The boss came out. I told him what was wrong. He went to the parts room, came out with something smaller than a button and replaced whatever had broken down by the brake pedal. A ten-year relationship began. We got to know each other. I recognized his wife’s voice on the phone when she would call with a diagnosis and estimate for repairs. When we gave the car away on departure, I introduced its new owner to the shop where they knew what to do with the thing. Everyone was in good hands.
When we went home to vote in January’s election, one of my stops was that shop. I went in just to say hello. They’re doing well. Should I take up residence in Taiwan ever again, no matter how far from Tainan I should dwell, I’ll take whatever I drive to them for care.
David Alexander now resides in Holland, MI after 39 years in Taiwan.