This needs to be read after the previous blog – 6 attempts to get Driver License in Peru!
Many of you have read about my struggle to get my drivers license in Peru and I haven’t updated you on the follow up.
The first observation was that the 2nd or 3rd time I drove the car an incident happened that woke me up to the realities of the roads in Peru.
I was driving along a main road which had a side line that merged into my line. I saw a bus coming quickly and I let it in and continued. Before I knew it I heard honking and turned to see a male driver in car looking rather annoyed at me from the merge lane. He was about even with my back seat window and he was asking (not so politely) why I didn’t let him in.
I was stunned. I kept moving knowing he couldn’t get around me as I was ahead and I had the right of way as I was on the main road. He proceeded to drive around me and yell at me from the other side as we drove along. Such lack of knowledge of road rules surprised me. I realised that we were in a different world where logic wasn’t aligned with the road rules.
The road rules around the world are basically the same – we looked it up actually. In the drivers test the tester had said you are over the line “you have killed a pedestrian”. I was lined up perfectly with the said line. I got out of the car to check and said “I have been driving for 20 years in my country and I have never hit a pedestrian”. He said the rules are different here. Yup… no they are not! The road rules at least in theory are the same. Practice is another story.
So I learnt the Peruvian way of driving.
1. To get across an intersection you must put the nose of your car in or you’ll never get through and everyone behind you gets very angry.
2. Likewise use your horn at any slowness. That really got on my nerves.
3. You must pull your car within 3 centimeters of the car in front at the lights or someone will stick their car nose between yours and the other.
So driving in Peru was a little stressful but the nail in the coffin was the fact that our radio of the car got stolen from the car at the gymnastics facility twice. We got the car to help us get to gymnastics and school but it was clearly not the safest place to park.
There were a few other issues I won’t go into but driving a manual was hard work in stop-start traffic. So with sadness we decided to sell our little Hyundai. Her number plate was VXY, so I had nicknamed her Vexy from the word vexed and that is what it is like to drive in Peru.
Ironically I have this 10 year licence in Peru and I’m not driving. I’d love a little automatic old car some days (especially as we come out of lockdown) but we do fine with Taxi’s usually. I haven’t been in a car for 109 days as we live close enough to walk to many shops so the need is minimal.
It is far less stressful and though driving yourself might be cheaper, when you count the robbery costs and stress… I think we are better off.
Do I regret anything? No … I understand a lot more about corruption and feel like “walking a mile in Peruvian shoes” was good for me.