Sunday, December 16, 2007

International Driver's License

Just when you thought you were done with the paperwork it rears its ugly head again. This time it came in the form of an email from the organizers, “It is essential that you obtain this category of driving license [UK B1] as failure to do so will invalidate the rickshaw insurance and would result in us not allowing you to take part.” Not being British getting a B1 certification would be tricky. AAA will give you an international license but they said it would only be good for whatever it was good for in the US – and rickshaws ain’t exactly street legal around these here parts. So we compromised – since we already have car licenses, if we got motorcycle licenses too, on average we could drive a rickshaw. Slepak would be in charge of explaining this math to any Indian police officers we encountered.

After 3.5 exciting hours Thursday evening in the classroom, we showed up at 7:30 am Saturday to learn to ride. But the parking lot was covered in ice and snow. So we went home and drowned our sorrows in bacon and bloody marys (maries?) – because by the time we could have grabbed our snowboarding gear and hit the slopes it would have been 1pm. The next week we sat through the exact same class again on Thursday, but on Saturday it was just cold, not cold and wet! After two days we now know just enough about riding to get us in trouble (don’t worry Moms, rickshaws will be 50% safer than motorcycles). And for $25 the Department of Licensing (who’s not open Mondays, grrr) gave us shiny new licenses with endorsement “3 – Two-wheel motorcycle only.

Then we went by AAA to get the internationalized versions and try to sweet talk our way into a B1 license. Much to our surprise the check box that our motorcycle license got us read: “Motorcycles, with or without a side car, invalid carriages and three-wheeled motor vehicles with an unladen weight not exceeding 400 kg (900 lbs).” So as long as they’re not too heavy we’re safe! Well, legal.

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