Driving Ms. Honey

November 23, 2007 at 11:20 am (Driving, Uncategorized)

I think I have finally found someone prepare to teach me to drive. I promise it’s not such a daunting prospect. My technical driving is actually fine. I was up to test standard in the UK, the only reason I didn’t sit my test being that it was snowed off and I simply ran out of time to re-book and re-sit.

Obviously when I have tried to explain the concept of snow here I have pretty much been greeted by blank faces but I have pressed on regardless. However my reputation obviously precedes me and I have so far had several near misses with driving instructors.

I now have a driving instructor (hoorah) but here is a list of what could have been.

When I first arrived here, I tracked down (via our wonderful school secretary N.) a driving instructor who spoke English and taught driving. You may be wondering why it is necessary to say she speaking English and taught driving as what else would a driving instructor do? Read on.

I rang her to arrange some lessons. When I explained where I lived and she drive she asked if I had transport, I told her no and explained this would be the reason i wanted to take driving lessons, then she asked if how I would get to the lessons. I asked her if she could pick me up and she said no. I explained that in the Uk it’s customary for instructors to go to pupils as the pupils (obviously) have no independent means of getting around. If that wasn’t the case here please could I pay the extra to have her come to me. She said no, it was too far away (how? How is it too far away? From anywhere. The entire country is only the size of Bristol!) She told me to ring if anything changed and then put the phone down on me.

Obviously that was quite nice, since then I have been to the Land transport office and obtained my Brunei provisional driving licence. This is also where there is a list of driving instructors. I took a list of all the numbers of driving instructors and have texted half a dozen to ask if they are English speaking driving instructors that would be able to come to me and give lessons around my working hours. I have had no responses.

I tried a number somone had got for me and when I rang I maganed to get through to someone offering drawing lessons. This there may have been a communication mix up there.

I have e-mailed the lands transport office and asked them if they can recommend anyone or at least let me know the procedure for taking a test over here and they have not responded. I went back to our school secretary (who obviously knows everything) and asked her what to do. She rang the driving instructor and asked her if she could pick me up from home or work. The driving instructor agreed to it and asked me to ring her myself so we could make the arrangements as to passing on the information I needed to sit my theory test .So I rang her. Then I had the exact same conversation with that I had last time I called her. In spite of having had someone ringing her last Thursday and arranging this, she has now decided that I am too far away again and that I want to start the lessons too early, and that my work schedulable doesn’t fit around her 8 – 12pm 2pm – 6pm schedule. Even if I am prepared to pay for her time to drive out and pick me up, it’s too far. If I organise a taxi to get myself to her (before or after school) then she’ll do it but she won’t be happy about it and not until December at the earliest and to be honest she’d prefer January.

So I have managed to find someone else, who is pretty close to where I live. I went there last night, with Kim, my loyal (and very expensive taxi driver) and C. My moral support. We went to the house and the door was open, se we knocked and there was a man, sat watching telly in just his shorts. He sent us around the side of the house, in the dark and over the pond and building work, obviously to the office. We knocked on the door and he opened it. He’s gone through the connecting door in the house. At least he had now put a shirt on. I’d thought it was odd but had been managing to not giggle until C lent over and stage whispered *that’s the same man!* as if I might not have noticed. I was at this point looking round for hidden cameras but no, he seemed completely serious. Even when C asked iof the pictures of car crashed on his wall were inspriational?

I need to do a theory test ($110) before I’m allowed to start lessons and I need to do three practice papers at the driving school before I can sit my theory (well, he said three but then he lent over and winked and suggested that we could probably get away with one, actually he didn’t wink at all, that’s blatant exaggeration on my part) Once I have that and have done the theory, I can start the lessons.

I can book a course of 10 lessons but he will come and collect me for a little extra cost. Why is this not standard practice in Brunei? This strikes me as odd, if someone had transport, they wouldn’t need to drive would they? I haven’t started them yet so I don’t know what my instructor is like to drive with but I have signed up for the theory. I am going to have to go back to his to do a practice paper. I thought I might try and do that tonight and probably Tuesday next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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