29th June 2012
I’ve been busting to hire a scooter at some stage on this holiday but my handbrake (Sarah) isn’t too keen on the idea. So…. we collected some hire car brochures yesterday and this morning I tootled off downstairs to see about organizing one for today. Seeing as I had to opt for a car I chose the “open-top” version. I was feeling very pleased with myself on the way back to our room and looking forward to surprising Sarah with my news. Bugger – I should have known better – she had been checking out the brochures while I was away and greeted me with “I bet you picked the open top one”!! Oh well, we had a good laugh about how well she knows her Mum.We had a few chuckles too about the hire car guy, his name was Achilles and he was so obvious in his flattery it was hilarious. I was elevated from plain old Julie to Julia in no time at all and we were on our way with hardly a glance at paperwork. I hadn’t given any thought to driving on the wrong side of the car and road so took it very slowly at first. I kept going for the gear stick with my left hand much to Sarah’s dismay, but thankfully (for everyone else’s sake as well as ours) there wasn’t much traffic around .
Costas from Kanales had marked a few places on the map for us so we pretty much followed his recommendations when we could find them. I don’t think either of us should get a job as map readers any time soon – we have a hard time working out where we are let alone getting somewhere else. I can’t even begin to imagine how boring it would be if everything was plain sailing – or navigating, we sure gave our laughing muscles a work-out.
Our fist stop was a really pretty beach for a paddle and photos and our second was for a photo shoot of the “open-top” car with a pair of loons jumping around inside. I will admit the sunroof was quite large for a small car but it was still just a sunroof and to try and take photos of us both looking out of said sunroof was quite an achievement – comical but still an achievement. I can’t remember now whose wonderful idea it was to try and capture this truly unique shot but we gave it our all.Because I know how to work the timer on my camera I ended up doing all the running around. Sarah is about half my age and size but she just propped herself in the passenger side of the car looking all elegant with half her body out of the sunroof smiling serenely. I on the other hand was left to set the camera up on the hood of the car, run around the open door, get out of my thongs (flip-flops for non-Australian readers), get in the car and out the roof all before the timer went off – f#@%ing impossible for me to do without ending up looking like a total twit and both of us just about wetting ourselves laughing. Talk about stupid, I did all this at least 6 times before it sank in that we’d be a lot better off if Sarah had a go at being the speedy contortionist-photographer. We had an absolute ball and got some pictures to be proud of and some that should never see the light of day. Doesn’t take much to keep us happy does it?
You wouldn’t believe it but we got caught in a traffic jam in Parikia, took us ten minutes to go about 500 hundred metres – and then we went round the roundabout and back the way we’d just come because we couldn’t find anywhere to park. Enough of civilization, we decided to try and buy some supplies for a picnic lunch and head out of town again. Between the terrible map reading, neck craning and wrong side of the road driving we spotted a supermarket just after the traffic jam episode. About this time I decided if you can’t beat them you might as well join them – I parked just like a local. Pulled in next to some garage’s driveway, almost on top of another car and nearly over the edge into a six foot ditch - perfect!! Sarah was just about having kittens but it was either that or keep driving round and round wasting good sightseeing time and risking having an accident to boot. Anyhow off we went back to the supermarket for our goodies with me acting all brave and Sarah all worried that we wouldn’t have a car when we returned. It was all good though, they probably thought we were locals.There was just so much to see for such a little island and so many questions to ponder. How they hire out sun-lounges and umbrellas on a tiny patch of beach smaller than our lounge room, then the waiters serve food and drinks to people on those beaches, why are there so many buildings just left to go to ruins, how there is such a contrast between the brilliant blue ocean to the dead looking paddocks and rocks, do many tourists follow the “no toilet paper rule”, how friendly the locals are and how many of them speak English so well.