13 Sep 2012

Where can I buy my licence?


And so, the time has come for another blog about the adventures of the Engelas. This blog actually amplifies an earlier blog about our drivers’ licenses which are not recognized in this country. Don't ask me why, I cannot explain, however I can tell you that these EU drivers’ licenses are more difficult to get that a passport. So the aim of this blog is to warn unsuspecting foreigners to think very carefully before you jump on the next plane out of your own country, you will be surprised about the things you have to do just to live in another country, and learning a possible third language is the least of your problems. Also, the trials and tribulations this has caused in casa Engela has had the red dogs hiding in their bedroom.

The male Engela has been extremely pro-active (possibly because I was lighting a fire under his butt everyday) and has actually obtained his license.

He and I both attended mandatory classes (which reminded me of university, I actually fell asleep). Then after some great confusion, we realized that we actually could not go for our licenses, since our residency cards had expired. This in plain English means that when your card expires, the Government issues you with bobbly gook paper work to say your new card is coming, which everyone recognizes, expect the Traffic department. Words still fail me, I mean surely these official departments work together? Apparently not. So the wait for our cards began. 

About two months ago, my sweet beloved received his residency card. And so, he went off for a "medical exam" (in Spanish) to determine that he is fit to drive. Since his Spanish is about as good as their English, the examination was about 5 minutes and apparently he is fit to drive. I do have a couple of questions, for example, should they not do an eye test? Apparently not.

So, the next step (and by step I mean a hurdle with a capital H)... writing the theory exam. Well, theoretically the theory exam should be easy. Not so. The theory book has been translated from Spanish to English by I think someone who speaks Hungarian. So some of the explanations make no sense at all and seem to relate to parking a donkey on the moon. Of course the male (read "nerd") Engela decided to study the book. Again, in theory, good idea, however, the questions about the book refers to the answers in the Spanish book. Which we don't have. By this time I was losing my patience with my sweetheart husband, so we rationally discussed the problem he was experiencing with the literary phenomenon entitled "How to Drive" and eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, the male Engela agreed to rather do online tests. This plan (MY plan) worked very well, and he passed with flying colours. It could also be due to the fact that there appears to only be about 30 English tests. But, nevertheless, one hurdle was over.

So of course we then faced The Driving Test. This caused further disruption in the Engela household, since the lucky he is still alive husband of mine was convinced he was going to fail. Mostly this was due to the terrible stories we have heard about people who go for their test 3 or 4 times, and the fact that the test is in Spanish. After further serious and calm discussions, we drove to the test area and practiced driving round and round and round the test grounds and surrounding area, trying to spot potential hazards, tricks and anything that could possibly cause him to fail, you know, like flying monkeys disco dancing across pedestrian crossings. Of course on the way back we nearly got arrested because my darling other half tried to take a short cut across a double white line and was stopped by the Guardia Civil (the descendants of the Spanish Inquisition).  Now, I have to place on record that I have many, many times told the male Engela not to do that, only to have him shake his head and laugh like a crazy madman at me. HA the joke was on him. However, our lack of Spanish suddenly got 30000 times worse, and we were luckily let off with a warning.

So it was early Christmas in our house on Thursday, since on his first attempt, my darling better half passed the driving test. Joy to casa Engela.

In conclusion, I have a couple of thoughts. Firstly, the logic of recognizing Algerian driver's licenses still fails me. Yes they were a colony thousands of years ago but really, have the Traffic department seen Algeria? You may as well acknowledge sleigh riding in Alaska as a legitimate driver’s license in Spain. Secondly, the idea of me now going through the same torturous procedure fills me with horror and heart palpitations, and as such, I shall keep my blogging mouth shut about this topic until that damn EU driver’s license is in my grubby little hands.