Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Our car has arrived and this means FREEDOM!
Chad felt he needed to run into the embassy for something the first day we had the car home. Although it was vacation for him, the possibility of freedom to choose to run in was too great. 30 min. after he left I got a call. “I've been in an accident.” Yep. There is this huge traffic circle here with 3 lanes of traffic. Often people in the innermost lanes make last minute (or so seeming) decisions to cross 2 lanes and make a right-hand turn. And one of those people did not see our bright red car and slammed right into Chad.
Here in Bogota the law is that you do not move cars - no matter how minor the accident - until the police have come and all reports are completed. This typically takes about 3 hours unless you are in a taxi and then you can plan on 5-6 hrs. You can imagine how annoying this is to other drivers on the road! So after the police arrived, and the insurance company lawyer, and the embassy liaison Chad was on his way again in approximately 3 hours! Fortunately there is just a little ding to be fixed under the gas cap.
Yesterday I needed to go to the grocery store for a major shopping trip. I was so happy that I did not need to call a cab, ride in a cab then wait 30 min. to get a cab home while trying to deal with 20 bags of groceries! So I hopped in the car and spent 10 min. trying to get out of the garage. Our parking garage is incredibly tight. You have to go back and forth a zillion times to make it around all corners and into your less than small space. The ramp out is a 90 degree turn and a steep incline. I found out that our car will not go up unless you gun it. So after getting the car in a position where I was not likely to scrape either side on the brick walls I gunned it. With my palms wet and sweat dripping down my forehead I paused in the driveway before turning into the street. But wait. The 12” curb on the right was sticking out into the street 3' further than the curb on the left. Somehow I never noticed that while walking everywhere! I turned, heard a crunch and the car stopped moving. I had no idea what had happened. I got out, walked around and stared at my car balancing on the curb. I could not go forward, the car would never make it over the curb and I could not go backward because the metal on the bottom of the car was stuck. I stood there with my jaw on the ground as the portero slowly walked out the door followed by Damon with the dog. While Damon was running up to get Chad a man driving a horse and cart stopped. The three of us stood there looking at the car while Chad came out the door. Chad took charge. The Portero, Damon, the horse-cart man and myself lifted the front of the car while Chad backed it up. A bit of scraping, some plastic falling off, paint missing and more dents. Lovely.
Well. 3 drives and 2 accidents and we are driving once again. I don't plan on having the hang of it without sweating up a storm for awhile. People darting across roads, 2 lanes of traffic turned into 3, motorcycles swerving between cars, busses belching out black smoke and me, puttsing along in my car.