If the Right Side's the Wrong Side What's Left?

So what if it meant driving on the other side of the road, in a strange car…I didn’t think driving in Trinidad would be a big deal. I drive rental cars in strange cities all the time. For the past 7 years I’ve been riding behind the driver on the wrong side of the road in Indonesia. That would get a person used to that side of the road, wouldn’t it? But everyone else said it would be a big deal. And then they started making a big deal out of me not having driven yet. So…

Thursday I bit the bullet and dragged myself out of bed when the alarm buzzed—before light—so I could drive Curtis to work. You know how those “brilliant” ideas sound so good the night before… I packed my walking shoes so I could drop him, walk the Savannah and be home before my usual morning even began. The Savannah is a circular park across the street from the BPTT Office (BP Trinidad). FYI: At 3 miles-around, it’s the largest round-about in the world (Guinness Book of World Records concurs.)

Traffic circles the Savannah one way, thus eliminating concerns about which way to set off. It’s a simple matter of going with the flow—and if need be, keep going around and around— until I became accustomed enough with driving from the passenger side to attempt turning onto a 2-way.  Surely the 3 miles once around the Savannah would be enough?

It’s not just a matter of driving on the opposite side of the road; the driver also sits on the other side of the car. In theory, driving from the passenger side seems simple. Don’t we all mentally drive when riding shotgun? What you don’t think about is the feeling of having cars so close to your right side when you’ve always driven with the traffic close on the left. Maybe it’s knowing if you stick your head a little too far out the driver’s side window an oncoming car could easily rip it right off with its side mirror….

The entire instrument panel is flipped, so the radio are on the other side, the gear control is on the other side, and, as I discovered when I flipped the indicator to signal I was pulling out, so is the windshield wiper lever. If this is any indication, I’m  going to have a very clean windshield.