Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Driving on the Left - Dorothy, 71

The roundabouts of Ireland and Scotland were confusing to say the least.  We no sooner got used to driving on the left side of the road, as well as entering the automobile from the right side and having the steering wheel on the other side of the car, when we encountered the famous roundabouts.  Invariably, the turn we were interested to make was on the right side of the roundabout and we were in the left lane on the left side of the roundabout.  Just as I was about to make my famous deals with God to save my life if I promise to be good, as we realized we were lost and not able to find our hotel or B & B for the night.  The car we rented from Budget had so many dents and bruises to record on the paperwork that it became clear to Janice, my friend who was traveling with me, and me that driving in Ireland and Scotland is dangerous to you and your car's health.

A good sense of humor was necessary if we were going to last the two weeks behind the wheel in the Isles of Green.  At one point when Janice was attempting to drive and was heading for the curb and wall surrounding a roundabout, I yelled out, "Jesus!" 

Jan said, "Don't yell at me!"

I replied, "I wasn't yelling at you.  I was yelling out to Jesus."

We both started to laugh when she replied, "It's not nice to yell at Jesus."

With frazzled nerves we continued our journey and adventure watching the breathtaking views when we were able to break way from staring at the highway or road.  Most of our travels were on curvy, narrow roads, some of which were not paved.  Another small problem was the accelerator on the little Toyota would jam and not react to the brake pedal at times.  Another small challenge.  When we rented a car in Scotland, would we be able to obtain a safer car?

When we were in the cities of Dublin and Edinburgh, we took buses that were hop-on-hop-off tourist types and public transportation, or we walked.  That was a good decision as parking and driving in the big cities definitely presented special challenges our nerves couldn't handle.  The bus drivers were informative, as well as entertaining.  One in particular kept showing up and taking us to fascinating places, such as the famous Guinness brewery, were one can receive a pint of their famous beer, in addition to the popular Irish stew or shepherd's pie.  I think Ian had an eye for Janice, but that's my take on the coincidences of him showing up when we were about to see another stop.  Ian, pronounced I-on, definitely had his eye on Jan.  Oh, no.  Will our fifty shades of green turn into Fifty Shades of Gray? A flashback to the chef on our river cruise down the Blue Danube a few years ago when we were given filet mignon every night because the boat's chef had a crush on Jan, too.  It doesn't hurt to travel with a good-looking roommate, who looks like a health Farrah Fawcett.

When we arrived at Endinburgh, Scotland, a diesel Audi was waiting for us.  No one informed us that the car comes to a dead stop to save gasoline each time the driver hits the brake.  After several attempts to restart the automobile, before braving yet another roundabout, Jan concluded this was a new way to save on fuel, and we adjusted to yet another car rental challenge.  By the end of two weeks of adventure, we had mastered, or shall I say, we survived driving and staying on the left while passing through all the roundabouts of Ireland and Scotland.  All we had to do was repeat, "Remember, stay on the left!"

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