This afternoon I made a TRECK out to the Tan Phu District (never heard of it? ...me neither before today!) for my Vietnamese drivers' test. Shelly and I have been working on the paperwork leading up to this test for a couple weeks now.
This past Tuesday we went to the Transportation Office in District 1 with a STACK of paperwork... copies, originals, and money... and had to go through a health check. The health check was in a very bare room with just some filing cabinets, peeling paint on the walls, and a Vietnamese man sitting behind an old desk.
The man took each of our height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate... checked our teeth, AND measured our chests. (Seriously?? Seriously.)
We were then told that our test was Sunday!
In my opinion... if you're able to successfully drive yourself to the test site, you should pass based simply on that (due to both traffic and finding this place).
I laugh at the fact that each time we went to an office (and the test site), the parking attendants and guard all knew that we were there attempting to get our license... AND it was totally ok that we drove ourself to the various places. Hahaha
Anyway... today we got to the site early so we could practice a bit. Below are some pictures of the course (Shelly is in the orange top in the 2nd and 3rd photo).
We were nervous... mostly that we had to drive the site's bike, which is a manual. Neither of us have ever driven a manual before BUT it turned out way easier than we feared! The bike was already on and in gear... so we just had to keep it slow and steady and stay within the lines.
The course (which you have to do in order or else you automatically fail) included a narrow figure eight, which you were to go around 1 1/2 times, then spit out the side to head down a straightaway, then turn to weave in and out between painted lines, and finally another straightaway over mini speed bumps.
I got on the Honda Wave that I was to take the test on and found that there was no left brake handle! (Come to find out, it's a foot brake)... I was a bit thrown off and went completely OUT of the figure eight! I figured I'd already failed... but realized that the 4 judges weren't even watching me... so I got back on track and told myself to GET IT TOGETHER! Ha.
The rest of the course was pretty smooth and I finished pretty well (so I thought).
I was told to pick up my passport from the last judge... and I asked him, "So, did I pass?!?!"... to which he responded, "Yes." ...And I did a bit of a celebratory WHOOP! which got some laughs from the crowd.
Shelly passed as well! :D We'll be able to go back to the Transportation Office in 10 days to pick up the licenses.
My favorite part of passing the Vietnamese drivers' test?... I did it in my TUTU! ...And then took a jumping shot in the middle of the course...
Shelly and I made the drive back into the city... and stopped in the backpacker's area for some cool drinks (the waitress brought her a pitcher of beer... since she did ask for "a big one" haha).
We texted some friends and ended up with a group of 6 teachers to help share the pitcher. :)
On our drive back to District 1, we were passing two bikes on our right and all of a sudden one of them crashed into the one in front! Shelly and I looked at one another with expressions of shock and fear... and drove on! She then said, "I think the guy was looking at your tutu!" ...Whoops! Sorry for the distraction of awesomeness. :P
From there I went to yoga... my 4th Sunday in a row!