A friend came to take us around town and show us where to go to get some shopping done. And they wanted me to get used to driving here. Did I mention they drive on the wrong side of the road here? Did I mention they put the steering wheel on the wrong side, too? Did I mention it's been about 5 years since I've driven a stick? Did I mention I've never driven a stick left-handed?
Well, anyhow, off we went. We drove around all afternoon, and I didn't kill a single moped driver. That's a good start. I did drive on the wrong side of the road once, but fortunately it was while we were still in our neighborhood and no one else was around. You want to know what I did all day long? I turned on the windshield wipers whenever I went left or right. The truck is a little Toyota, so it looks the same as our Sienna, but the deal on the steering column that has the wipers and the one that has the turning signal are reversed. So every time I changed lanes or turned, I turned the wipers on. I think that's going to take a while to get used to. Otherwise, I guess I did ok.
There are bunches of mopeds here. And they don't observe any traffic rules. They ride in between the lanes while the cars are driving in the lanes. They weave in and out of lanes without signaling or checking to see where the cars are. At a light, they all drive up to the front of the line and zoom off like a swarm of bees when the light goes green. It's crazy. No wonder there are so many accidents with mopeds. I've been discouraged from buying and driving a moped, and now I know why. I think I'll listen to the advice I've been given.
Our shopping was, by-and-large, successful. We got a lot of stuff we need. Shopping's not necessarily so hard--once you know where the right stores are--but it's really time consuming, because you go to this store to get the best beef, and this other store to get the best coffee, and this other part of town to get computer parts, and so on. It takes a long time to get what you need. They have some Wal-Mart-like stores--we went to a Tesco Lotus, which was pleasant--but many items are better found somewhere else.
In some ways, it's like being in the Middle Ages. You know how some medieval town markets grouped merchants together? The gem-sellers were here, the silver merchants were there, the leather products were somewhere else. It's like that here. So when we looking for some computer accessories, we went to the computer part of town. There were (at least) three mini-malls in a row, all full of little stores selling computer stuff. It's pretty cool--if only my wife would give me more time to look around! But we got a mouse pad, a surge-spike protector, and looked at a UPS--the power goes out randomly around here, I'm told.
Overall, it was a successful day shopping!