As I’ve said before, rarely does a day pass when I don’t experience something I would not if I lived back home in the US. Sometimes it feels like, every time I leave the house, I encounter something out of the ordinary.
For instance, while I’ve mentioned the volatile experience of driving here. I’m not sure that I’ve written about the parking. Street parking is hard to find and, until recently, I had no idea how to pay the fees that the signs indicate, so I’ve avoided street parking altogether. It turns out, a government employee on a scooter drives by regularly to make marks on a ticket, which you then take to a 7-11 to pay the fee.
Usually I use parking garages. Often in the parking garages, figuring out how to pay can give me a headache. It seems like each garage has a slightly different method and different machines. Luckily, many of the pay for parking kiosks have some sort of English explanation. Many times, though, even in English, my native language, the process is not entirely clear. Once, I was completely stumped by a machine that said, “insert card” and had a credit card shaped slot to put something into, while I stood holding a plastic token. I broke out into a sweat and then waited for someone else to come along and followed their lead- putting the token in the rectangular slot. The lot by school is simple to me now, because a friend directed me through the process the first time. The last step continues to puzzle me, as it is entirely in Mandarin. I just push a random button and my token is returned to me every time, so I try not to worry about it.
When you drive into the garage, you have to stop and push a button to obtain a plastic parking token. Next, you park your car and go about your business in town. Upon returning to the lot, you have to pay before going back to your car, so that when you put the token in the machine at the exit, you are permitted to leave the lot.
Here are pictures of the step by step process.
So, I press one of the button on the right and recycle my receipt, go back to my car, and exit the lot by inserting my token. After registering the token, the automated voice tells me to be careful (in Mandarin of course).