Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Standby Life: 2 Fast 2 Furious

Ok so i need to write down the debacles of all my travels before I forget them (I have the memory span of a flea... if fleas have really short memory spans). So since I haven’t really kept track, I’ll start from the most recent trip and work my way backwards, Benjamin Button style.  

Two days ago I got back from Puerto Rico. I went to visit my good friend Vanessa who is doing her student teaching at a school down there and let me tell you, it was AHHHHmazing. But before I can dive into the epicness of the trip, I have to first paint the picture of our transportation situation.  

Puerto Rico is a small-ish island but we still had to plan a way to get around in order to be able to do everything we wanted to do. Before I had left, everyone I talked to warned me not to drive in Puerto Rico. It’s narrow streets, psychotic drivers, and lack of consideration for basic road rules and regulations is universally known (not to mention the fact that I’d have no idea where I was going or that every sign and direction would be in a different language). So first rule of the trip was simple: Do Not Rent a Car.

So the first thing I do when I step off the plane is rent a car.

This is where the title of this blog comes in. If there’s an easy way to learn a life lesson or a hard way, you can bet good money on the fact that I’ll always choose the hard way. I don’t know what it is, call it stupidity or just a glutton for punishment, but I can’t help but think that the best stories come out of the worst decisions. And it’s not like I put myself purposefully in these situations just for the potential stories; my brain just seems to have the soundtrack of  “ehh you’ll be fine” playing on repeat whenever a potentially tragic decision arises. Besides, safety is for those who have no stories to tell when they’re old.

Alright back to the streets of San Juan.

So after a minor mishap in the Hertz parking lot (an employee chasing me down the street yelling to me that I was driving with the emergency brake on) I managed to make it to Vanessa’s school in one piece.  

After spending the day playing soccer with 30 rambunctious kids in 90 degree heat, we jumped into our kia and headed to the beach. The sun soon set and we hopped back into our swag-wagon (already regretting that) and headed home.

Midway down a particularly busy street with a lively, incomprehensible Spanish song blasting on the radio, Vanessa suddenly yells, “WOAH Mojo! Look at that giant swarm of bugs!” Now people... you can’t say the words “giant”, “swarm,” and “bugs” together in a sentence and NOT expect me to abandon everything I’m doing and stare at what I can only assume to be a sight equal to the flesh eating beetle scene in The Mummy.

So stopping everything I was doing and openly staring was exactly what I did.

Unfortunately for us (and the car in front of us) the activity of which I abandoned attention was driving.

Needless to say, I crashed headfirst into the car in front of us.

It’d been roughly 7 hours since I’d arrived.

But to my defense, if you know anything about Puerto Rican traffic, I consider it an extreme accomplishment that I had made it that long without getting into an accident. Seriously it’s like Fast & Furious with none of the perks (ridiculously sick cars and Paul Walker in the passenger seat).

So I run into this car (didn’t even get to enjoy the swarm of bugs, so annoying right?) and the driver of the car gets out. Let me paint this picture for you: two clueless white girls in a foreign country, in the middle of a raging intersection, in the middle of the night, and the driver of the other car doesn’t speak a lick of English.) To top things off, all the vocabulary I learned in my previous high school Spanish classes flees from my brain and I’m stumbling to find the word for “I’m sorry” as the driver walks to the back of her car. I don’t know what came over me- let’s blame it on the Puerto Rican heat or the fact that I just hit a car to stare at bugs, but right at that moment my idiotic brain triumphantly comes up with a word that it’s convinced means “sorry.”

That word?

I kid you not...


As in “thank you” gracias.

Let’s just take in the stupidity of that for one moment.

Sunk in?

Ok good.

So I, being the brilliant international conversationalist that I am, am now energetically shouting “Thank you! Thank you!” to the woman whose car I just hit.

She looks at me for a moment, obviously confused, takes a look at her car, AND BY SOME MIRACLE gives me a nonchalant wave like, Eh I’ve seen worse, gets back into her car and drives off.

Vanessa and I stare dumbfounded at each other for a moment and then do the only thing we can at this point and burst into uncontrollable laughter.

7 hours in and we’ve already managed to secure a driving misdemeanour in a foreign country.

So yeah, renting a car was probably not the greatest life decision I’ve ever made but it allowed us to have free roam of the island and provided us with some pretty entertaining stories in the end. And if by some serendipitous chance that a San Juan Hertz Car Rental employee is reading this, I am completelyyyyy making this up. No need to add extra damage charges to the rental fee... I mean, rear ending someone to watch bugs fly and then yelling “thank you” at them until they get back in their car and drive away? No one’s that stupid right? [uneasy laughter & shifty eyes]

Ok, moving on...

So yeah, don’t rent a car in Puerto Rico. Learned it the hard way.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Popular Posts