Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 39: Renting a Car in the UK

Yesterday I had my first experience in eight years (not counting the fantastic New Zealand adventure in 2003) driving on the left side of the road. But this time, in Oxford/London rush hour traffic, in a lefty stick shift, in the dark, and in England's worst storm of the year. I don't recommend it.

Unless you request an automatic, rental cars here are manual. Ug. The renter didn't blink twice about whether I could drive a left-handed stick. Actually, I wasn't asked if I could drive a stick at all (thankfully i do).

The other complicating factor is roundabouts. They are suppose to keep traffic going, but I admit to wanting a typical US on or off-ramp more than once yesterday. Note to the wise: you go around roundabouts here clockwise.

With the rain, my poor night vision, windshield wipers on the other side of the steerwheel, a new car, and stalling several times in the middle of a roundabout, there will not be a repeat performance ANYTIME soon (except for getting back from London today...).

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