Driving Like a Kiwi
05 January 2009 | Whangarei, New Zealand
We've been in New Zealand well over a month now and we really feel like we're settling in. The Kiwis speak English of course, so that helps a lot. When we first arrived the exchange rate was nearly 2 to 1 in our favor (!) so that helped a lot, too. Helped us spend a lot of money.
Driving in New Zealand was a bit challenging at first because they drive on the left side of the road. The first few times you attempt it you find yourself- or rather your passenger finds himself- hugging the shoulder because keeping the car centered in the lane and therefore near the center line just seems so... well, suicidal. I don't know why it doesn't seem dangerous to stay in the middle of the lane when you're on the right side, I guess it's just what we're used to.
For the first couple of weeks I kept up a continuous mantra in my head whenever I was behind the wheel: look right, stay left... look right, stay left. Other than that and constant vigilance the other thing that kept me where I was supposed to be was the ever-present feeling that something wasn't quite right: if it didn't feel right it was right. (Get it?) So when I started to get comfortable driving on the left, I lost that nagging feeling in the back of my head. Without that nagging feeling it CAN"T BE RIGHT! And if it can't be right it must be wrong. So I had a couple scary-panicky moments when I wondered what the hell side of the road I was supposed to be on. Happily I had only to look around at the other drivers to see that I was indeed in the correct lane and not after all putting the general population at risk.
I'm pretty sure I've got it all dialed in now, which is a good thing because Mom and Dad arrived today and we're embarking on a two-week whirlwind driving tour of New Zealand... Hopefully we'll get loads of great pictures and some good stories too to post when we get back...