Last Updated: Mon Aug 08, 2011 21:42 pm (KSA) 18:42 pm (GMT)

Nadia Idriss Mayen: Car Struck!

Have you ever found yourself holding on to the handle on the passenger seat door and using the other hand to have a good grip on your chair? Trying to feel safe as the driver takes you through all the streets? Well, imagine feeling that way but being in control of the steering wheel!

It was always interesting to drive in a different country, let alone a continent! Different rules, roads, signs and most importantly drivers. If you ever thought you experience crazy driving, you seriously have to read to these experiences. It occurred to me only yesterday how I’ve been told that I’m a safe and very good driver. Not one speeding ticket and no accidents. Knock on wood but that lucky streak came to an abrupt end when I got stuck in the mid afternoon in a sand pit in 45 degree Celsius Dubai, Emirates weather.

Flash back: being put in a truck with the hood open with three of your cousins and driving through the small fenceless mountain roads in Lebanon did not exactly please my mother. Let’s just say the Lebanese drivers in my family aren’t what you call child safe? Don’t expect to find a “Baby on Board” sign in the rear windshield.

Getting your car stuck in one meter of snow in -40 degrees Celsius in breezy North American weather of Canada for a good eight hours in the middle of nowhere. Nothing beats good music till the tow truck arrived and you’ve lost all feeling in your toes. And somehow I had a new friend “Mr. Snowman” in the passenger seat.

Fine, I told you about my two extreme weather moments. Picture this: Beautiful Mountains, a picnic basket, a trunk and car filled with rose bushes and yes stuck in a puddle of mud with a herd of cows in the lovely hills of Austria. Not exactly my “Sound of Music” moment.

Those were my sticky moments; try driving against traffic. I always argued with my good friends Down Under that it is right to drive on the right side of the road. It makes sense to the rest of the world, after all. Even Australian GPS was giving me left-oriented information – toilets flushing counterclockwise were the tip of the iceberg. I typed in Coogee Beach and it gave me directions to Blue Mountain. I still remember the slow motion of cars driving towards me and I, my sole self towards them. I think my eyes opened so wide, I was a deer caught in my own head lights. I pushed my signal light to indicate that I would park on the service road but ended turning on the windshield wipers!

Those were exciting, yet terrifying moments. Best moment by far is trying to squeeze between a donkey, an elephant, a rickshaw, and a crowd of, oh, a hundred people trying to cross the street.

Road trip anyone?

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