Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Movember 2.0?

It's September, and the UK Movember twitter account has started coming back to life. This can mean only that there are about to be a lot of mustaches sprouting. I've been toying with the thought of trying once again, and seeing what grows - are we ready for me to make a fool of myself again?

Monday, September 06, 2010

International Driving

I haven't owned a car in nearly 4 years, and I haven't driven regularly since I graduate from college over 5 years ago. Partly, because I've been fortunate to live in big cities like New York, and partly because I've lived in cities where they drive on the other (wrong) side of the road like Hong Kong and London. In the past two months I've suddenly been faced with an uptick in driving, and must admit it's been a bit of a challenge.

I'm currently in Munich, where I've clawed my way through narrow city streets during rush hour with a stick shift. I surprised myself with how quickly managing the clutch came back to me, but have to confess that the narrow streets are painful, especially in stop and go traffic. More noticeable, however, are the difference in driving rules in general. For instance, on the highway you can't pass on the right. At first this is of little concern, until you're trying to merge to the right and have someone hovering in your blind spot, and are waiting for him to zip by, only to have him slow down with you because he isn't allowed to pass you. Also, the idea of only travelling in the right lane and using the left lane only to pass takes some getting used to - until a S 500 appears out of no where right behind you, brights flashing, making it clear where you belong.

I also must confess that I still haven't managed to drive in London. I can, without a doubt, say that I'm a terrible passenger. It turns out that lane dividers are mere suggestions, and that parked cars take up about 3/4 of a lane - meaning that when sitting in the passenger seat those cars get awfully close (I'll let someone else fill you in on my reactions).

In both cases, I can say that I miss the American sized lanes and slow moving traffic of the Mid-West. I'm sure 20 min behind some slow grandma and I'll feel different, but right now I'm cravings a boat that fits on the road and makes me feel like I can enjoy the ride rather than being in a constant state of heightened alert while behind the wheel.