Thus spoke a colleague. Wise words indeed. So glad I didn’t work right up to the day before I fly out; instead taking four extra days of leave.
As well as the multiple last minute jobs that needed doing, and the list from my previous post, some critical things popped up.
Firstly, I found out yesterday evening that the rental car company required us to have an international drivers licence. Really, I can’t understand why my government issued licence isn’t enough but the handwritten card issued by a motor company is. But what choice do I have? I can’t risk changing companies as I need an automatic and they’re thin on the ground in France.
The Australian automotive society that does international drivers licences prefers that you apply online but it takes five to seven days to receive them. No good. We’re going in three working days.
Maybe I can pop into a branch and get one? Of course, I couldn’t find out until this morning. So last night I was very stressed.
Getting the licence required getting passport photos. Mr S is still working so I said I’d pop up to the post office first thing and see if we can get it done there. If we could, I’d drive up to his workplace (which is in our suburb – so only a few minutes by car) drive him down to get the photo, then drive him back to work and then drive into the major shopping centre nearby that has a branch of the automotive society to see if we can get the international drivers licence.
Ha! The camera in the post office isn’t working. Anywhere else I can get a passport photo? Try the shoe repair, key cutting man but make sure he takes them properly, he often doesn’t get the proportion of the head in the photo right.
I went and had my photo and then picked up Mr S. I’d emailed him the info on the international drivers licence and wanted it printed off so I could double check the photo requirements. I also got photocopies of our drivers licences as the application required it.
Wouldn’t you know it, while I was waiting for Mr S I put the photocopies down and lost them. Back into the office for more, worrying that some kid would find the other photocopies. See what happens when you’re stressed!!!
Luckily I found the first lot of photocopies.
I took Mr S for his photo, dropped him back to work and headed to the other shopping centre. Which is where I hit the second, even bigger, problem.
At a set of lights, with a big double B truck behind me, my car decided to not go when the lights went green. I jiggled the gear stick and managed to engage the gears. There was no where to stop and as I was at the entrance to the car park, I drove in.
Bugger the car at this point. I need the international drivers licence. That’s my most pressing need.
Turns out, while the company doesn’t want people to apply in person, they can do them and issue them on the spot. And they don’t need the photocopies, nor do they need the signature. I shouldn’t have worried. Issued on the spot.
I returned to my car full of apprehension. Would it go? Would I make it home?
No. And no.
Called the road side assist. No go, it has to be towed. But first it needs to be towed out of the car park with a tow rope attached to the mechanics ute.
Lots of waiting for the tow truck (which was driven by a young woman – such a pleasant surprise to see girls breaking into the industry. Also pleasant surprise as she was polite and articulate.) Anyway, more than three hours of my day wasted.
Luckily I live on a train line, two stops from where my car broke down.
I can say the cup of tea I had, never in the history of cups of tea was a cup of tea more needed.
Frankly I don’t care about my car. I won’t need it for six weeks. It can rot at the mechanic.
So today I got through quite a bit of pre-trip jobs: we have the international drivers licence, we got adaptor plugs at the place we had our photos taken, my boots are in the be re-heeled at (you guessed it) the same man who took our photos.
I also finished a book ( Volume 3 of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novel – don’t bother with it), and went for some waffle fries for dinner at the local pub with a friend. Our healthy dinner included her homemade lemon and coconut cake with a glass of moscato before we went to the pub. But hey! We went for a brisk walk first.
My lemon of a car, with the tow thingy sticking out. Never knew I had this.