Monday, October 21, 2013

New Zealand - the first few hours

We have now driven on the left. What a trip!

This area, just N of Wellington itself, is called Lower Hutt. The Hutt is a river big enough to require bridges here and there. We've been riding with other missionaries and have seen the area, been flung around roundabouts, have watched carefully at complex intersections, and pretty much have wondered how it's going to go for us.

And now I know. Juan is next to find out.

We went to the end of our little residential alley to the main street. After waiting for a lot of traffic streaming past us from the right, we pulled tight to the left onto the thoroughfare.

All we needed to do was to go straight for a while. That required hugging (it seemed to me) the white stripe. I felt I was drifting over it to the right, but the others in the car thought is was getting to close to parked cars on the left.

Next we made a left turn, tight again. We came to an intersection. We turned again to the left. So far so good!

Ahead of us was the entrance to a motorway, which seemed like a bad place to practice. So I pulled left into an empty parking lot. That was easy! I even practiced parking on the left side there.

Then we headed out again. That required right turns! !!!! And a piece of a roundabout....

The diciest moment came when I needed to cross two lanes of traffic to make the right turn. Cars streamed from the left, and when they cleared I could barely tell there was another lane across the road to turn right onto. It took actually doing it to see the lane.

That worked fine, thanks to no traffic.

After that we used back roads, the only real challenge being the obstruction of construction trucks.

It worked out. We found the main road, turned left onto it, and headed back the house. The only challenge left was to turn right into the alley across the busy traffic.

Nothing bad happened.

The rule of the road is to yield to anyone coming from the right. It works out that that rule is sufficient for most situations. It's just not something we do very often, we Americans. We also don't shift with our left hands, and I was forever turning on the wipers instead of the directional signal. That's work for another day. Tomorrow.

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