Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Skye Trip Day One: Hitting the road

I picked up the hire car after finishing work. I booked an automatic because I figured it would be good to take things step-by-step and get used to driving on the opposite side before having to get used to a manual transmission. I booked the smallest car possible (i.e. the cheapest) but was told when I picked it up that I was being given a larger car due to availability. They gave me a Peugot 407, about an average-size car to me, similar in size to Chevy's like the Corsica and the Malibu or the Pontiac GrandAm (I'm just naming cars I've driven around that size).

Driving on the wrong side of the road isn't the biggest problem for me, it's sitting on the wrong side of the car. I've realized that when it comes to driving, I've developped my spatial sense on my right side, because that's where the rest of the car always have been, and on my left side I've not had to develop the distance judging quite so well. It probably doesn't help that my right eye is my better one. Anyway, it's made me paranoid about the whereabouts of the left-hand side of the car.

Had some moments of confusion involving roundabouts in Inverness itself (I've mentioned the preponderance of roundabouts over here as compared to Canada before). Stopped at the supermarket and discovered the parking spaces are smaller; what is a small-medium sized car in Canada is on the larger size here. I can't imagine how the people with pick-up trucks over here park them. The car park spaces are also designated by a complete rectangle, there isn't one open side.

Then when getting out on the A82 heading down along Loch Ness, it was getting used to the narrowness of roads and the twistiness.

The key for the car is really cool; it folds away into the plastic bit, and there's a button that caused is to swing open again. It's immensely fun to play with as you carry the keys about.

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