02 January, 2012

Driving in Scotland!

As the holidays were approaching, Scott and I decided that it made sense to rent a car. With Scott undergoing chemo, we decided it would be best if we avoided virus carriers (a.k.a. public transportation) and had the flexibility to come and go to functions, as well as let Scott sleep in the car if needed. The side benefit was that I would finally get to drive in the U.K.! I'm not sure that Scott actually felt any more rested with the number of questions I asked him about road signs and due to my tragic inability to follow the directions of a GPS, but toward the end of our time with the rental car, he was able to doze off a little more. :)

I had read up on all the paperwork that was necessary to rent a car, so I took a number of documents with us to pick up the car. When we arrived at the car rental company, the British couple in front of us were unable to pick up their reserved car because they didn't have their passports and/or paper counterparts to their license as well as documents proving their address (in addition to their U.K. licenses). I began to get nervous, but when it was our turn all they wanted from me were my U.S. license and passport. They told Scott that since he didn't have his paper counterpart to his license (something they do in the U.K.), he would be unable to drive the car. I was getting worried since I had planned to have Scott drive the car off the lot and take me for a bit of practice. However, Scott (brilliant husband that he is) asked if he could use his U.S. license instead. The woman asked if it was current (which it is), so she said that would work fine alongside his passport! It felt kind of silly that Scott had to use his U.S. license, but we were just happy that he had it!

Thankfully, we had rented a small car called a Nissan Micra (pronounced niss-ann in the U.K.), so it was pretty easy to navigate around the skinny and crowded roads of Glasgow. I meant to take a picture of me driving for the first time, but forgot to take a picture of the car we rented all, though it looks just like the one below.

Having never driven in the U.K. before and managing a manual transmission decently well with my left hand, sitting on the right hand side of the vehicle, while driving on the left hand side of the road, I feel an overall sense of accomplishment. I even managed to parallel park in some tighter spaces! We'll just forget that I ran a red light (pedestrian crossing), had to go around one roundabout twice because I missed my exit and went around a small roundabout in a car park (parking lot) on the wrong side! No one got hurt and no scratches or dents were added to our rental car or anyone else's car, so I'm happy. Now, if I can just master those blasted roundabouts in the future, driving in the U.K. will be even more enjoyable!