Traffic, man. Traffic is rough. Traffic makes me tired, and traffic makes me angry. 塞車. 塞車是件很難過的事情. 塞車讓我很累, 也讓我很生氣.
Last weekend we were driving from Shin Zuoying to Yanchengpu. Shin Zuoying is in north Kaohsiung, and Yanchengpu is near the zoo. Geographically speaking, the two places aren't far apart, but the traffic between them made driving quite a nightmare. 上個周末我們從新左營開車到鹽埕埔. 新左營在高雄的北部, 鹽埕埔靠近動物園. 其實這兩個地方相隔不遠, 只是二地之間的交通讓過程像場噩夢.
And then, after Yanchengpu, we still had to drive to the freeway. On the map it seemed like a fairly straight shot, but traffic slowed to a crawl on Jong Jeng Road, and it took more than an hour to get to the other side of the city. 從鹽埕埔再到高速公路. 在地圖上看起來路程很短也很筆直的樣子, 可是中正路的車速超慢. 後來才發現我們花了一個多小時才開到高雄的另外一邊.
To add to this unpleasantness, we spent about twenty minutes trapped inside a tunnel. For some reason the fans in this tunnel weren't working, and it was full of exhaust fumes. Even through closed windows, and with our air conditioner on full blast, we could smell the gasoline. 在這個不好玩的經驗中, 我們還塞在一個地下道裡將近二十分鐘. 地下道的電扇也沒有開, 所以汽油的味道很重. 這個味道重到我們將車子裡的冷氣開到最強還是一樣臭.
Thirty minutes later we were finally on the freeway, and it was (relatively) smooth sailing back to the east coast. Yes, Highway 9 was still undergoing construction, but we were expecting that, so the delays weren't quite as hard to bear. 三十分鐘後, 我們終於到達高速公路順利地開回東部. 台九線還在施工, 因為我們早知道路況, 所以路上碰到不方便的地方也不覺得那麼難過了.
That traffic in Kaohsiung though. Damn. I don't know how people can drive through that every day. I guess most of them don't have a choice. I know that if I lived there, and I had a choice, I definitely wouldn't drive a car. 哇! 高雄的塞車問題很嚴重! 不知道那裡的人如何每天開在那樣的路上. 我猜他們大部分沒有其他的選擇. 我如果住那裡的話, 而且有其他的選擇, 我一定不要在那裡開車.
But of course traffic isn't only a problem in Kaohsiung. It isn't only a problem in Taiwan. It's a problem that every big city faces, at one time or another. It's the price we pay for economic prosperity, and for rising incomes. 當然塞車的問題不只是高雄有, 國外也有. 也是每個大都市要面對的問題. 這是經濟發展的代價, 也是跟民眾薪水的提升有關係.
The traffic in my hometown, Seattle, has also grown to spectacular proportions. Some people there spend an hour or more commuting to work each day, and when you add up all of those hours they can equal a VERY large percentage of your life. 我家鄉西雅圖也很容意塞車. 有的人開車上下班的時間超過一個小時. 把這通勤的時間全部加起來, 你就知道它在你生活中佔了很大的部分.
If only the solution to the traffic problem was something we could all agree upon, and implement quickly. But many of us are tied to jobs far from home, and we often have to go places beyond the easy reach of public transportation. It would be great if we could all start riding bicycles tomorrow, but for many people this simply isn't possible. It's not so much that the problem of traffic is beyond our power to fix, but that it would take a lot for enough of us to agree upon a solution. And until we do, more traffic. 我希望我們可以趕快找出塞車的原因, 然後解決這個問題. 可是很多人的工作離家很遠, 也常常需要去公共交通工具不方便到達的地點. 明天開始騎單車當然是一件好事, 但是對於很多人來說不可行. 我們有能力解決這個問題, 可是這需要很多的努力才能夠讓民眾接受解決方法. 只是直到人們願意接受之前, 仍是要忍受交通問題.
I know one thing. I'm not driving in Kaohsiung again any time soon. And for those who have no choice but to do so, I can only offer my condolences. 我知道一件事情. 我要過很長一段時間後才願意在高雄開車. 對於那些無法避免在那裏開車的人, 請接受我的慰問.
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