Road Side Automobile Repair Shops

The road leading to the factory where I worked was about three semi-trailers width wide. And this road runs about three blocks long, makes a right angle bend, up a gentle hill, half a block, makes a left, our factory is right there.

The road in itself is wide enough and decent enough in an industrial area. It is paved with narrow sidewalks on both sides. When I first got in town, my friend told me that were two serious accidents involved drivers riding electric assisted bicycles, one fatal. One seriously hurted.

Being new in town, I nodded in agreement, not knowing how to response not knowing the circumstances leading up to it.

As time progressed, the pattern of daily traffic gradually dawn on me why there were these two serious accidents. Because traffic volume just weren’t that heavy.

Semi-trailers were frequently parked on both sides of the road doing repairs everyday, those were not greasing linkages, checking fluid level jobs, I saw mechanics repacked wheel bearings, engine overall jobs, and welding jobs on the chassis.

Mechanics started working in the first light when day breaks until dusk, as you can imagine, sometimes workmen spilled on to the middle of the road, with local vehicle traffic tried to squeeze through the center of the road to get in and out of the factory compounds in the neighborhood. Sometimes tempers flared, and arguments followed.

I asked my friend why so? His answer was, there is a severe shortage of adequate sized repairing garages in this industrial neighborhood, and over time these sort of road side repairs just mushroomed up. The two accidents happened at the same T bone junction, two semi-trailers were parked right up to the corners – created blind spots on both sides where the two electric bikes were either turning left or right.

Bike operators are notoriously for not looking where they are going, or may be they did look, but the best I can describe after months of observation is – they just glance. It is a game of “playing chicken” over and over again!

And with the speed they are moving, well, may be not break neck speed, but rather speedy, and the majority of the riders ride without helmets.

Remember Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday”, didn’t they look cute? But, that was only in the movies!

Anyways, one life lost, the other suffered injury, it was so senseless, and the road side repairs carries on.

What happened to our so called five thousand years old culture?

One friend in Hong Kong summed it up well, “What five thousand year old culture? Culture has nothing to do with surviving the day!
Hell, no, I just need to survive, and to survive, I need to make money!”

Today is the second last day of Year 2011, from there back to here, everything here seems serene, and calm.

I wish all those people over there that had to work so hard to send monies home a happy Lunar New Year, may they find happiness and prosperity in their own way, within their scope.

Have a safe journey home !

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