Saturday, July 30, 2011

Driving here is Crazy!

I had a driving lesson here today and it was the first time I have ever driven in the US. My Instructor Garcia was a middle ages Latin man with a very funny sense of humor. Lucky for me speaking Spanish and totally understanding the culture made for a funny 45 minutes. I have to say it was not as easy as I thought it would be. I knew everything would be on the opposite side however breaking a habit that is 25 years old is hard to do. One thing that is very evident is that road rules seem to apply to those learning to drive and those who are being tested at a road test. Other than that it seems to be every man for him-self in reason of course.
We drove around an area I have not been to. It was what they call Manhattan valley or Harlem. It reminded me so much of those movies you see like “Taxi”. The train line above and the apartments and building underneath. The demographics again change which is so interesting about New York. There is a heavy Latin and African American presence. I believe this area is an area in the process of a lot of change. Many families are moving here as the rents are cheaper and the accessibility to downtown is very good.
I got in the car and I felt this sense of panic as I felt my mind went blank. I was so preoccupied with staying on the right side of the road that everything else seemed somewhat less important. I will add that the fact the car was about 10 years old didn’t help. I am use to a relatively new car so it took a bit of getting use to. He kept telling me what street we were turning into but it meant me looking out for the street. Normally this would not be an issue but I was worried about everything else.  I would have preferred him just telling me when to turn. His reasoning was he was checking if I was reading signs...........so already testing me.
We did a fair bit of 3 point turns and parallel (reverse parking) and it took me a few times to remember the gear box was to my right not my left.........ha ha ha.
I was EXHAUSTED after the 45 minutes. I am still confident that I can pass the test however I won’t get a chance to drive now till then. Let’s hope the Examiner is in a good mood........fingers crossed.

The highlight and again one of those "New York special Moments" I still have was driving past the Apollo Theater. I asked Gracia if that was the famous Apollo and he said yes. Its unassuming which everyone had said it was. I was just in awe!! All those famous acts that had started their careers there. I saw some street sellers selling Micheal Jackson T-Shirts out the front. And once again I was so grateful to be living in such a magic city.

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