July 19th, 2008


83. Pre-departure

The van's here!

It was a hot but pleasant bike ride into town to pick it up. On the way, I sought and found shade and an air conditioned shopping arcade to ride through. I found a relatively inconspicuous spot next to some other beaters to slide my bike into, and it should be okay there for a few days.

At the rental shop there was a bit of paperwork and K.'s-electronic-dictionary-assisted confirmations of my understandings of things, such as the deductible and the need to fill it up before bring it back and other little things like that.

Getting in and driving away was akin to piloting the Enterprise out of Spacedock for the first time. At length, the lady guided me out onto the street, and suddenly I was on my own. ("Aieee, help, I'm driving on the left," etc..) I went to use my turn signal and got the wipers instead. Ooooh, the stalks are reversed, too! Fortunately, the pedals were not. Braking, though, took getting used to - the brakes are very sensitive and need just the lightest touch to do the job. I was really jerky getting out of there, and I hope the rental people aren't too nervous about me.

I had nightmares last night about how I was going to drive - actually, I have nightmares about lack of preparation (in one way or another) before every trip I take. I'm kind of used to them now, but they do sometimes give me the wibber-jibbers until I've been awake for a few minutes and am thinking clearly.

My driving didn't warrant the nightmares, and I soon got the hang of things, but I'm glad I was alone while doing so. My course of one left turn after another (due to getting stuck in left-turn only lanes here and there) mightn't have inspired confidence, for example.

The van itself is beautiful, roomy, and rides like a cloud. It's got GPS and climate control and everything - the adjustment to reality again when I parked in the lot here was a shock. Oh... it's not a cool, breezy summer day.

Anyway, I can't wait to get out on the road again - it's a gorgeous day, and we're going to have a lot of fun these weekend! Matsuyama!