Buying a Car in Another Country

The Mission:

We are in the process of buying a car. Our goal is to have one in 6 days….by the time my mom gets here, which by the way I am very excited about but is another story within itself, family here in Wellington, yesssss! So, is it smart to in a time crunch to get a car in a country that is more laid back than a California surfer? Hmmm. That is still to be determined and I am very hopeful.

Our MOA:
We are using Trade Me which is the Kiwi version of Craig’s List with a touch of EBay. So far I am about 3 for 9 on my bids since I moved here. Our TV, DVD Player, and Bike were purchased of Trade Me but this virtual wonder is not as easy as everyone says. I get in bid wars each time and have to stay glued to the computer or have texts sent to my phone in order to make sure I am in on the action at the close of the auction. I digress but the point is we are using this tool yet again (by Kiwi recommendation) to get just any car that will get us point A to point B. It does not have to be fancy. Our budget is $2,o00 so as long as it runs good, I could careless what it looks like. I saw an orange station wagon the other day and thought “what a neat color car to have in another country.” If you lived in Wellington, the culture capital, you would probably be considered pretty cool to have such a vibrant car.
My Acting Skills…..Can Someone See Right Through Me?
I am feeling rather guilty buying a car over the internet, so are doing our best to at least go see the car which is actually not easy if you don’t have a car yourself to get to theses people’s homes. Last weekend we borrowed Garnett’s bosses car to look at a few. Can I just say that it was great just having a car for 24 hours! Neither Garnett or I know much about cars so I am sure you can see where this is going. We go to our first test drive and we are about 20 minutes late because we accidentally got on the Motorway and come to find out there are no exits off of it until 15 minutes down the road. Obviously Mc Donald’s does not care if they are next to a Motorway and there is not an exit ramp for more business. This is very odd to me but maybe that is just the American consumerism coming out in me. Either way, we get there and I ask “can we check under the hood?” Why on Earth would I ask such a question? I don’t know what I am looking for and neither does Garnett. So, this starts our quest of finding a car that just looks “clean” under a hood. This also starts our quest of asking questions such as “how is the transmission, how has the car treated you, is there anything wrong with the car” which coming from a sales background I know that anyone selling a car is going to say….”na, everything is just fine, she runs like a champ!” What can I say? I am just trying to stay in the game and act like I am supposed to be part of the “car team.”
The Learning Curve: Driving on the Left Side of the Road:
Our next step is a doozy, test driving and scaring the living crap our of people. You know how you sometimes will drive somewhere and not remember how you got there? This is sad but true. Well, here in another country where you drive on the other side of the road, there is no more of that. You are on constant ALERT mode. Since we do not have a car, we have not had to deal much with driving on the other side of the road. We drove a little when we got here but other than that it has been public transportation. As I am starting to use my bike this has been an experience constantly saying to myself “stay left” which those who pass me or are walking on the street think I am the crazy bike rider who talks to herself. So, as I test drove a wagon last weekend I scared the ever living day lights out of the owner because on every turn I wanted to get in the right hand lane. It got so bad that both the owner and Garnett had to keep yelling at me “STAY LEFT, STAY LEFT.” It is truly an automatic instinct to drive on the right hand side of the road. To give you an idea how hard this actually is, the little driving Garnett and I did our first week here we both had to be in the car to remind the other not only to get in on the right side of the car (now the driver side) and to always stay left. And I am sure it is not comforting to the owners of these vehicles that Garnett and I both tend to get in on the wrong side of the car and have to take a moment and say “opps, thought this was the driver’s side” and walk to the other side of the vehicle.
The Result: TBD
So, wish us luck on our quest and pray for safety. It is amazing that Americans can go to almost any country and drive the moment we walk off a plane, especially since we are the only continent that drives on the right side of the road. Why do these other countries trust our driving skills so much? I think the folks who let us text drive their cars are wondering the same thing when I get in the driver’s seat. Look out Kiwi’s here I come, Beep Beep!
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