Yesterday, I had my third driving lesson. Since we now know the vehicle that I will be driving the most, Brian and I headed to town in the Prado. The biggest praise? The Prado is an AUTOMATIC! PRAISE JESUS! Though I know that I will still need to know how to drive a manual, it will (Lord willing) not be what I will have to drive every day. I think I could have gotten used to driving it, but driving it PLUS dealing with the non-sensical chaotic insane traffic? Too much...at least for right now. I've been learning on diesel cars and they are different in their own way. When one starts the car, you have to half turn the key, wait for 10 seconds, and then continue. When you turn the car off, the car has a timer that keeps it running for about 30 seconds.Anyway, back to the drive. Since I need to learn how to drive in the non-sensical chaotic insane traffic, we headed to where the worst of it is. I was nervous. Very very nervous. Since I'm used to driving my little two door Honda Accord, the Prado is a monster in comparison. The hardest part for me is knowing where I'm at on the road, trying not to hit all the people walking on the road, and figuring out exactly how close my vehicle is to the one next to me. In crazy traffic, you're literally inches away from the car next to you. It's frightening. I managed it decently well, including navigating through some INSANE round-abouts. Holy cow. Those were scary. We got into the middle of Kampala and Brian needed to stop at a store. This meant that I had to parallel park on a major Kampala road. I thought death was near. A spot neared and I prepared to park. I started to silently pray.
Somehow, I parked PERFECTLY. It was amazing.
Brian remarked how good of a job it was and how he was jealous. I put the car in park. He then began a conversation about the locks and how though I may hit the automatic lock button, when I close the door, I need to hold up the handle in order for it to completely lock. He had me go over to his side to see this as I had already shut my door. As he was shutting his door, he turned to me and said, "Keys?". I said a quick "yes" and we went in.
As we got in the store, I couldn't remember if I really DID have the keys. I've only locked my keys in my car once, and once was ENOUGH. I'm not one to do this so I couldn't believe it if I had.
So...I searched my purse.
House keys? Check.
Office keys? Check.
Random keys for the States? Check.
Car keys?...NO WAY.
The keys weren't there. There was a pause in Brian talking to the clerk.
"Brian? Um...about those keys..."
I went outside to check the car. Oh yes, the keys were there...in the ignition...with the car STILL ON.
WHAT WAS I THINKING!?
I still can't believe that I did that. I must have gotten distracted with the locks. I was used to hearing the sound of the car still on as we exited, thanks to it being a diesel. What in the world.
Unfortunately, AAA doesn't so much work in Uganda.
Luckily, Brian was very calm assuring that it would all be ok. Once we confirmed with Kate that there was NOT a second set of keys to open the car, we had to try to get it open ourselves. By "our", I'm really meaning "him"...which turned to "them". As Brian tried to open a back window, about five Ugandan men came to investigate what the mzungu's (white people) were doing. Once they figured out that the keys were locked in the vehicle that was still ON (gosh, I'm such an idiot), they all pitched in. It truly became hilarious. I feel as though I learned more about the Ugandan culture in those minutes than I have in the past month. These five men tried to get one of the windows opened. The idea then came to get a wire to get into the car to unlock the doors. Scrambling occurred and within a minute, a large thick wire was produced. I have NO idea where it came from. As they were all on the driver's side (and in the very busy road), I was on the passenger side looking in, watching it all happen. People would stop, ask me what was going on and then say, "I'm so sorry". They'd stay for a few minutes, shake their head, repeat their apology and go on. A couple guys decided to try their hand at getting in where I was. One guy came with a thin wire and tried to get the lock to go up. At one point, there were about 15 people around the Prado, all trying to get it unlocked.
Please. Picture this all in your head. 15 people surrounding the Prado. Brian on the hood directing them to the right button. Guys on my side sticking wires in through the door handle.
And there I am, sweating, watching, praying and feeling like a VERY dumb mzungu.
It was incredible to watch Ugandan culture happening before my eyes. Americans are very individualistic while Ugandans are HUGE on community. The community came around us in our time of trouble and did everything they could to help us. It was truly an amazing site.
It took about 20 minutes for them to get it unlocked but, they did it! Whew. Brian turned off the car, locked it again, handed me the keys and we were on our way to do some shopping. We then drove back to the Davis household where I dropped him off and DROVE BY MYSELF to the office. I remembered which turns to take, didn't hit anything (besides forgetting about one speed bump but what's one out of five, esp. when none are ever marked here?) and made it. Whew. That was kind of huge.
All in all, it was a good driving day. I learned a lot and did better than I expected. And heck, this makes a GREAT blog, doesn't it!? Totally worth it...kinda.
Let's just pray that I never do that again, ok? Ok. So, if you could all share your dumb stories, that'd really help. Really. Your turn...