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Friday, June 10, 2011

Driving a Car is Just Like Riding a Bike

Driving a Car is Just Like Riding a Bike

I was nervous, my sister saw it in my eyes, yet we had planned to rent a car, and we were not going to back out of that plan.  She drove the car the first day and a half, but wanted to see me drive to make sure I could do it without being too scared. 

The speed limit on most roads is 80 km per hour (about 50 mph) which is about double Samoa’s speed limit.  I already felt like we were flying each time I entered a bus or taxi, and to think I had the power to determine my speed again, made me panicky.  I had not driven a car in exactly 1 ¾ years. 

I took the wheel in a more deserted area, and blamed the slow speed on the rocky road, saying I wanted to make sure a rock would not chip my windshield.  As I merged onto the highway (main road) I was anxious.  I sped up to 60 kmph, and felt the thrill of going what felt like light speed. 

I learned over the next few days that driving a car is just like riding a bike, after a long hiatus, if you take it slow you will pick it up again.  It might take time to get your ability level back to where it once was, but you will get there.  At least unlike riding a bike, in the car I didn’t have any accidents while relearning.

There are a few things I will be nervous about for driving in America in 6 months.  I think the reason why driving a car wasn’t more difficult was because driving is on the left side of the road and I was using a left hand drive car.  After only seeing driving on the left side of the road (except in Savaii where they always drive in the middle of the road) and riding my bike on the left side, it just seemed natural.  Switching back to the right will be scary. Hopefully I will be able to pick it back up again.

(Pictures of are of the bridge I told my sister to drive on (as you can see it ends in the middle of the river….she was not sure if she should trust my driving after that), me with some of the Fijians after our kava ceremony, two Fijians making fire, a bilibili-traditional bamboo raft, and me enjoying Fiji)

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