Monday, June 2, 2008

My first experience

I'm staying in a shared house, with a bunch of students, at the moment. Two of them are living together, and have found their own house, as they both just gradutated. They are moving today, and had to rent a van in order to move everything they have. It was that, or hire a company to do it, which they can't really afford.

The problem, however, is they are both 23. And to rent a vehicle in the UK, you have to be 26. So they needed someone with a driver's license to go down and actually rent the vehicle for them. I didn't think too much of it. They have been nice to me since I've been here, and actually let me stay for the first 2 weeks free. The landlord was in Thailand and didn't know anything about it.

The trouble began when we got to the rental place. We drove down in their car. She was going to drive their car back, and I was going to ride back in the van. Until they informed me that the guy didn't drive. I was expected to. I had thought we would get around the corner, and then switch places. But he's only had 3 driving lessons, and doesn't know how. So I got volunteered. Oh, just like in the Army.

And it went fine, for about the first 10 feet, when I hit the mirror on a parked truck and broke the mirror on the rental van. It scared the hell out of me, because I heard this big bang, and did'nt know what it was. I've never done that before.

Sidenote*** Always get the insureance on a rental. Its worth the $10.

But we continued on down the road, because it was a 1/4 mile before I could find a place to pull over and fix it. By then, it was too late to go back. The rest of the trip, about 5 miles, was fine. No serious issues. The roads are narrow, and when people are parked, it becomes one-lane in many places. So you have to figure out the right away.

It was defintely different. The gear shift is on the opposite side, the mirror thing (for the ones that work) are backasswards, and the roads are too narrow. There are alos a lot of roundabouts.

But for only my second time doing, I guess it was okay. With the one minor hiccup. The only other time was in South Africa, 5 years ago. Going down the highway, I reached over to shift, opened the door, and almost fell out of the car.

Sidenote*** Wear seatbelts in this situation.

It also helped having a passenger who can navigate and remind me of things not to do. Once I get a car, I'll get out early Sunday mornings, when there isn't much traffic. Its still a little nerve-racking, but I think I can get used to it. Eventually.

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