Driving on the wrong (or right?) side of the road
After our Jedi encounter which you can read about here we made our way to the car rental service. Since Husband wasn’t feeling great after the flight, I had volunteered to drive the 20-minute journey from the airport to the hotel. It seemed like a short trip after our 7 hour flight and it hadn’t occurred to me until that minute that we would need to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Handing over the keys, the man behind the counter wished us a great day and pointed out where our rental car was parked. It was much bigger than I had expected, being used to driving a fairly small car, this looked like a boat with wheels.
‘Are you sure you are OK driving?’ Husband asked.
‘Sure, we’ll just take it easy and we have the satnav. We’re here now so there’s no rush to get anywhere. I’m sure we’ll be fine’
Famous. Last. Words.
After navigating our way out of the airport, we managed to get on to the motorway and headed towards the city. Driving on the right side of the road was terrifying and Husbands yelping as he thought I was getting too close to the cars on either side wasn’t helping.
‘We’ll be fine’ I muttered to myself. ‘We’ve got the satnav, it will keep us right’
At this exact moment, the satnav went blank. We turned to each other wide eyed.
‘What’s wrong with the satnav?’ I yelled, panicking.
‘I don’t know’ Husband yelled back, stabbing it with his finger. ‘It was working a minute ago’
‘What do I do?’ I yelled, aware of lanes of traffic on either side of me.
‘Just keep driving. I’ll fix it. Keep an eye out for any signs that say City Centre’
I gripped the steering wheel tighter and concentrated on the road while Husband grappled with the electronic box. Normally laid back to the point of laconic, Husband was now muttering words that would make you blush under his breath. Pressing it, poking it, turning it over in his hands. All the while, I was trying to drive straight and fighting every urge to drive on the left side of the road.
If this were a TV comedy, we would have ended up with maps in our faces driving down the wrong side of the road, miraculously managing to avoid killing anyone. In reality though, I was clutching at the steering wheel, nose perilously close to the steering wheel while Husband fished out his phone and tried to find where we were using the power of Google.
Eventually, I found an exit ramp and took it, pulling on to a non-descript street with houses on either side.
‘Why did you stop?’ exclaimed Husband ‘I nearly had it on my phone’
‘Because, I’m pretty sure we were headed the wrong way, I was scared and quite frankly I think we should just stay here.’ I shouted back, motioning around at the beautiful houses with kids playing on scooters in the front lawns.
I was warming to the idea now.
‘Yeah, let’s just stay here. We can knock on a door and ask to stay in their back yard for a week. Then we won’t have to face that road again, we won’t have to worry about getting back to the airport in a week. When people ask how our holiday was we can tell them about the family that adopted us. We’ll become lifelong friends with them. They’ll ask us to be godparents to their kids and we will always have a place to come on holiday. And next time, when we come back, they will pick us up from the airport and we’ll never, EVER have to drive on the wrong side of the road again.’ My voice was higher than I had ever heard it before and I was struggling for breath.
Husband gave me a look and held up his phone for me to see.
‘I’ve found where we are. According to the map, we are only 15 minutes away from the hotel. I don’t think it will be that bad.’
‘But what about our new Canadian friends?’ I gazed longingly at the bungalow across the road. ‘We might be missing out on the friendship of a lifetime’
‘Wouldn’t you rather get to the hotel and explore like we had planned? If we don’t then we’ll never get to Vulcan and you won’t be able to cross it off the list.’
I nodded, sighed because he was right and slid the car into drive (hooray for automatics). Joining the motorway again was so traumatising that we began the chant that would stay with us for the rest of the week. Every time we had to turn a corner, move lane or take an exit, we would chant ‘right, right, right’ in unison.
The rest of the journey passed without imminent death and we managed to arrive at the hotel without traversing the lanes on the motorway and exploding a fiery ball of tourist stupidity.
There may have been reports of me kissing the ground when we got out of the car but these are unsubstantiated.