We are currently driving a little Honda Jazz which is brand new. Julie got it the day she was heading back to Bangkok and drove it a sum total of 5 kms before she handed us the keys. Needless to say I am a little paranoid about making sure we take care of her car.
She handed the last one in because it had dents, and she does not like dents. Jacques, being the manly man, has to drive. It’s a guy thing. I am in the navigator’s seat with the map and the gritted teeth hoping that the trip is uneventful. We are in a country where:
Jacques does not have an international driver’s license
You drive on the left side of the road
There are roundabouts which are terrifying
At any moment a dog, pig, child, or elephant may appear on the road
Mopeds have families of four on them
Cops have their own brand of justice.
Jacques: [blah, blah, blah – we have hit nothing yet]
Needless to say, I think erring on the side of caution is a good idea. We are on vacation, have no appointments and are in no particular hurry to get anywhere. So why push it? Jacques insists on taking on the local habit of passing everything in sight, cursing [Jacques: all lies] out the moped drivers, and swinging around roundabouts like a drunk Parisian around L’Arc de Triomphe trying to score points by hitting tourists.
I on the other hand, realize we are in a foreign country where we don’t speak the language, and that moped family we hit is likely related to the cop who will arrive on the scene to take their side, as he deftly removes several hundred dollar bills in compensation.
Jacques forgets a particular moment in New Zealand as we were driving at breakneck speed through a small town where I cautioned him to slow down. Sure enough he was waved down by the local constabulary who awarded him with a shiny new speeding ticket. [Jacques: A word to the wise, never let your wife be in the car when you are caught speeding. This little adventure occurred 10 years ago and it comes back to haunt me at least once a week]
I have now taken to pretending I am his GPS [Jacques: all good GPS have a mute button, I just can’t seem to find one on this unit], and am speaking in a slow robotic voice in the hopes that he thinks technology is guiding him, and he may listen. “In 500 metres, turn left…” The only good thing is that there is only one English radio station on the island, so at least he is not fiddling with the radio knobs.
By the way, if you make fun of she who packs the wet wipes, then don’t expect her to bail your sorry ass out.