Henry: Hey Bruce, listen to this. “Over two million callers jammed the automated hotline of the Taiwan Railway Administration over a two hour period trying to buy train tickets for the Chinese New Year.” I can’t believe it!
Bruce: It’s not that unbelievable as long as you make the calls yourself. Actually, I contributed about two or three hundred calls to those two million.
Henry: Oh my! Sounds crazy! Did you make it?
Bruce: Fortunately, I did. But it was a terrible experience. I got up before daybreak, at about ten to six, I guess. Then as the clock struck six, I started dialing the service numbers. The first time I got connected was 25 minutes later. As I heard “Welcome to Chunghwa Telecom’s new generation telephone call service,” I shed my grateful tears…
Henry: Then you were lucky enough. The news report said some people couldn’t even get into the system after calling for 40 minutes or even for an hour.
Bruce: But it was still very tormenting. I considered giving up several times during those 25 minutes, thinking that it was impossible for me to get those naughty tickets.
Henry: Why not use the online ticket system? There should be less people using the Internet, right?
Bruce: That’s not the case at all. You know what? I tried the ticket website as I mechanically pressed through the telephone keys. The time I could see something other than blank web pages was 7:40. By that time, good tickets had all been sold out already. It’s no use entertaining hopes on the online system. It fails every time when it comes to longer holidays.
Henry: Then why not take the High Speed Rail? Isn’t it much faster than the train?
Bruce: Are you kidding? I won’t risk getting killed whether before or after New Year.
Henry: But is it really that dangerous? Some friends of mine gave rather high remarks to the high speed rail after their trips on it, saying it was fast and comfortable.
Bruce: You don’t suppose that “fast and comfortable” are synonymous to “safe,” do you? Don’t you know it's better safe than sorry?
Henry: Anyway, thank God I live and work in Taipei. There’s no need for me to go back to some far-away hometown during these long holidays. Saves me much trouble.
Bruce: Indeed, you are the truly lucky one, and I am only the luckier among the less fortunate long-distance travelers.