Freedom to Roam

It has become clear pretty quickly that we need a car to survive here. Firstly, we haven’t mastered the art of slow walking required in the heat and our quick-paced gait means that trying to get from A to B on foot quickly becomes a hot, sweaty mess, even for the shortest of distances. Secondly, security issues mean that public transport is not feasible and being able to get to your destination directly and safely is essential. 

Although we will rely on a driver to get the Handsome Dutchman to the office and for any after-dark outings, being the designated driver in our household means that it falls to me to get a Trinidadian driving licence. The first step in this endeavour was to brush up on the Highway Code as I will need to pass a driving regulations test before the driving licence can be issued. The regulations test consists of three parts. Part One is Trini specific multiple choice which largely consists of one reasonable answer and three impossibly ludicrous answers and knowing that a horse (or indeed any animal) always has right of way over a car. Part Two relates to road signs. Luckily, Trini road signs are exactly the same as in UK so that was simple enough. Part Three relates to hand signals. It is not clear to me when these hand signals are to be employed but knowledge of them is a required to pass the test. It turns out that the hand signals are the same as when I did my Cycling Proficiency Test. This was so long ago that the test is now called, in a somewhat catchier fashion, Bikeability Scotland. Being married to a Dutchman automatically qualifies you for a stream of abuse on anything relating to bikes. There is no collective group of people who display more superiority and arrogance when it comes to cycling than the Dutch. Admittedly, they tend to be quite good at it and the Handsome Dutchman particularly so. He never fails to impress me with his distance and speed and gung-ho attitude to hills. Nevertheless, as a non-Dutch person, you remain subject to much fun making – especially if you follow the rules. The Dutch see cycling as an extension of their personal freedoms and consequently can be a little lackadaisical in their compliance to the rules. I, on the other hand, like to wear a helmet and crucially (in case you wondered where all this is heading), like to use the hand signals I learned as part of my Cycling Proficiency Test – and not just the turning left or right ones. I am a kind of stubborn person so, despite Dutch ridicule, I will flap my right arm when I am about to stop. In some sort of glorious karmaic situation, this means I can also blitz Part Three of the test and gain my freedom to roam.

Now I just need to brave the Licensing Office, my first taste of Trini bureaucracy…

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4 thoughts on “Freedom to Roam

  1. Hilarious and so recognizable. Being Dutch myself I recognize the arrogance and false sense of security of our bikers. Good luck with the tests.

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