For the past four years, I've turned from my apartment complex onto this road, headed for work. Most always in the dark. I listen to podcasts on the way, allowing me just about five podcasts every two days.
Our first scooter was a three wheeler with a bench seat in back. Josh rode with me most of the time. On one occasion, I pulled out without looking and a woman ran into the back of the scooter. Her front end caved in and she twisted her ankle; my scooter barely had a scratch and I had to pay her 2000 RMB (a little over three hundred dollars), which wasn't too bad, except it was our Christmas stipend.
The second was a motorcycle that was built and gifted by a former student. I loved that bike, but I often went too fast. When I got into a little fender-bender, the bike was confiscated. Because I was driving illegally. The police offer told me I got off easy.
I currently drive a scooter that I got from Sarah Cole, who moved here the same year we did but left at the end of last year. It doesn't go very fast, nor is it all that loud . . . or sexy. But it's safe, and it gets me where I need to go.
To the school.
This is the turn onto 2nd ring road, which takes me all the way to school. From here, there are four major landmarks that I use for judging the distance. On cold days, or rainy days, and especially on cold and rainy days, the landmarks never come fast enough.
Landmark #1: Under Renmin South Road - the newspapers carriers.
Landmark #2: McDonalds. I used to meet Travis Miller here for breakfast, almost every Friday, but when he left two years ago, I started taking one of my kids, but only when the weather allows. During the winter months, the ride is absolutely freezing, no matter how much I bundle up. This landmark means I'm just over 1/3 of the way to school.
Everyday, dotted along the drive, are the street sweepers.
When I had my motorcycle, this was the funnest part of the drive because it's a straight shot with very few lights, and I could fly. When it's raining, it's the driest, as long as I stay under the elevated 2nd Ring Road.
Landmark #3: The final turn. This is also the section where, if raining, I dread the most because my cover will soon be over. And I get soaked.
Landmark #4: The Guards. Always smiling, always faithful, these guards have waved me for the past four years.