Other than driving my mom's car here and there over the course of four days last June, I have not driven a car in over a year and a half!
Now, on this adventure in New Zealand, I am renting a car for my first time ever... driving in a country I have never been to before... and driving on the left for the first time ever!
So far I have been continuously telling myself to concentrate, take my time, ...and enjoy the scenery. (For those of you who know me pretty well, you can hopefully envision the little smirk on my face as I type that last bit. Hehe.)
I walked outside the tiny Hokitika airport yesterday afternoon, opened the passenger door to the little, red Toyota Corolla to put my purse in... and there was the steering wheel.
Whoops! Ok... I can do this.
I slowly began making my way out of the airport... and realized I was driving on the right hand side! No, no, no... Left, left, left.
I should be sitting near the middle of the road.
Ok, got it.
I pushed the handle for the indicator when I was going to make a turn... and the windshield wipers went on! Ha! ...Other side.
...I remember Lenny doing that for a while when he moved back to the States after living in New Zealand for a year.
Good thing my dad mentioned learning the signs for the one lane bridges. They are pretty clear ONCE you know about them. I'm also glad that I could practice watching Ben drive on the North Island last week.
Ben and others on the North Island kept telling me I would love the South Island but it is different from the NI. I finally asked in which ways... and Ben is right... the SI is not as green.
There is still a lot of green... But not as much. It's all more brown.
And the water is BLUE. A blue like I've never seen fresh water to be. It is turquoise in some parts!
Ben and my brother were also right that there are not a lot of cars on the road! There just aren't a lot of people on the west coast in general. It's great. The automobiles that I do go by are mostly camper vans.
Ben said that in total there are about 4 million people in all of NZ (not including tourists, which at this time of year, would raise that number a bit!)... Crazy to think that when I believe there are about 10 million in HCMC alone!