Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tiranan Tractor

My daughter, however, loves the car, despite the crack in the entire length of the windscreen, broken a/c, a very dodgy clutch, weak battery, a petrol gauge that moves from half to quarter back up to half again, & then straight down to empty, with no warning.

I'm also terribly ashamed to confess it's a 4x4, which we so vehemently & self-righteously poo-poohed in our UK composting, washable nappy, recycling, seasonal veg box days.

Then we moved to a developing country....

Ah how times change!

We bought it because a.) it was cheap (I wonder why.....?) and b.) it feels a lot safer being in a 4x4 when driving in this country, but that's the subject of my next post & c.) you really, really do need one here if you leave the main roads. Apart from the main roads between major towns, roads are either very potholed or not tarmaced. We were on this road with my In-Laws (see below) for 100 km. It was, according to the map, an A road. A for arduous. This vehicle in the pic, was borrowed, not ours. And this was one of the smoothest bits of the 100 km. Mostly it was more, or less, compacted rocks. It took 3 1/2 hrs.

My 4 yr old calls our car 'the tractor'. (Not a Kensington tractor, more a Tractor tractor. (Rudimentary, poor suspension, slightly smelly etc) She asks me constantly what all the different buttons do, (mentally storing away the information for future use) and practises her steering as we drive along.

She said to me last week:

"When I'm a big girl will I be able to drive?"

"Yes, if you want to learn." I reply.

"When I'm 5?" came the next query.

"No, older than that," I explain.

"8 then?" She persists. Her brother's age. He seems very grown up.

"No you have to be 17 to drive".

Though she could well be forgiven for assuming children can in fact drive. Kids here do all the time. The youngest candidate, who cut me up on the road to our house, couldn't have been more than 12. This is in the centre of the capital, not out in the country or on the farm.

This is a recurring theme. My daughter is constantly trying to establish how you 'come of age' She often asks me what she 'needs' to be a mummy.

"Apart from babies & a handbag, I mean, Mummy." Not sure where the handbag notion came from.

A while ago she said to me, still fixated on the alluring independence of being able to drive (in a womanly way, of course):

"When I'm a big girl will I have boobies and drive?"

"Yes of course" I reply, thinking, now is not the time to inform her that wearing a bra and being able to do a 3 point turn, no longer seem to be sufficient minimum criteria for entering womanhood. Not in the country's this woman has ended up in anyway....

Little does she know, I thought, that actually she should be able to change a tyre, jump start an engine (I learned that this wk too), mend a clutch, be endlessly resourceful. Maybe she'll even need to use her bra should the fan belt break But then again, maybe she'll just live in the UK, join the AA and learn to chat up mechanics.


Wife in Hong Kong said...

Hooray, a picture! Great to see you. And yes, I begin to get the picture. Blimey George. I think I ought to stop grumbling...

astridave said...

When we were growing up I always believed you could become a mum once you could slice tomatoes evenly and use "cling wrap/saran wrap" successfully. How expectations have changed...

Anonymous said...

lovely witty reading. scared me to death about hiring a car when I visit though!