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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just Go! but No Speeding. Mortuary.

Just joining us?  This little tale begins here.

Drive on the Left! (part 4)

I passed the hotel parking lot and made my way toward the airport exit. Large road signs lined the road:
  • Drive on the left! 
  • Fasten your seat belt! 
  • Drive on the LEFT! 
  • No Speeding.
  • Drive on the LEFT!
  • Mortuary
  • DRIVE ON THE LEFT!

As I exited the airport, more red signs and flashing lights: DRIVE ON THE LEFT.

Do you think one or two tourists has had trouble with this concept?

I got to my first roundabout and pulled out – to the left. Michael had said, “If you miss your exit just keep going. Think about Chevy Chase.” I read the signs. I followed the directions. I said aloud, “Look kids! There’s Big Ben! There’s Parliament!” And somehow I ended up on my way to Quin.

While driving on the left was vaguely disorienting, it also became more and more intuitive – that is, until I came to a stop. At each intersection or stop I had to remind myself: “hug the center line.” It worked. Michael, in spirit, was my driving instructor all day.

Now, I will say, I never quite relaxed. By the time I returned to my hotel room at 11 pm, my right foot was cramped and sore from tension. And think about all of the distracting things you do when you are driving: talking on the cell phone (illegal here), eating, reading maps, putting on makeup (never!)… I would imagine this was the safest day of driving I’ve had in a long time!

My first stop was to be Quin Abbey. About 30 km from the airport, the drive took me through gorgeous Irish countryside in County Clare. I drove through the towns of Hurlers Cross and Sixmilebridge (yep, all one word). In Kilmurry, I took one of many wrong turns but finally headed northeast toward the town of Quin.  

To be continued...

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