January 28, 2011

Driving Lessons

A line I cut from a newspaper article from the fifties ( Pittsburgg Press)
 
This should provide me with inspiration for quite some blog posts to come; My son is going to take driving lessons.

He recently turned 17, and has been telling us for quite some time now what car he is going to drive once he turns 18. This implies of course that we (his dad and I) are supposedly going to buy him this car. Now it is tough to be the child of a mixed Dutch/Lebanese reunion. Because there is no way on Earth I am planning on buying my son a car once he turns 18. Buying him? As in ‘a gift’? Excuse me, but in Holland you work for that as a teenager. You get a summer job, and a weekend job, and you save your money for months on end, you pay for you own drivers lessons, and eventually, with the little money you’ve got left, you can buy probably the crummiest car in the neighborhood. And THAT…. is how it is supposed to be.


But since there is a Lebanese factor in the story (his dad), it goes a little different here. I pay for the driver lessons, and Dad will buy the car. We do have one compromise though; it will probably be a seventeen-hand car. And that is the tough part for the son. He wants a new car. Well, dream on baby. I got my first real new car (as in ‘not second hand’) when I was 35!

Now we all know what the driving is like in Lebanon. Most people seem to have ‘bought’ their drivers license without so much as one single lesson. As a result, most drivers are oblivious of any actual traffic rules. And even if they would have been aware of the rules, a rule in Lebanon is only a guideline.

I particularly like the one that we have about traffic lights, which only recently were installed in certain parts of town; If you DO intend to stop for a red light, please leave space to pass for those that choose not to stop for the red light. Otherwise you may find them honking their horns behind you.

I took me quite some time actually locating a driving school. Google did not provide any help, and neither did the Yellow Pages. But last week in downtown we suddenly spotted a car with Driving School on the roof, and I flagged it down. And so next week is his first lesson. I bought the ‘all-in package’; 15 lessons in a car with stick-shift, and 5 lessons on theory (traffic rules etc). I’d love to be a backseat passenger on those sessions. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, here are some tips for my son. We'll skip #3.

34 comments:

Birmingham Driving Lessons said...

Haha, great article. I agree with the new car part, so true. Also the fact that most don't know traffic rules is also amazing, wow.

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Danielle said...

The snippets you took are absolutely priceless. I have been here for a year, and I still don't have the guts to start driving. And honestly as long as I live here, I don't think I ever will. I live in Beirut..and 10 minutes from my office,,I just don't see the sense in getting a car! So you're taking care of the driving lessons, your husband the car..but what about gas, insurance, maintenance?!? haha.. Looking forward to reading more of your adventure and his!!

ginger beirut said...

Interesting to know someone out there is actually trying to teach some theory too! What's frustrating is that secondhand cars here cost nearly as much as new ones in Europe. Thanks for the mention.

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Anonymous said...

Hi, I too am looking for a driving school in hamra, would you be so kind as to email me the info for this one? {beirutdriveby@gmail.com}
Btw,I always enjoy your posts :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I too am looking for a driving school in hamra, would you be so kind as to email me the info for this one? {beirutdriveby@gmail.com}
Btw,I always enjoy your posts :)

Driving Lessons Newark said...

That sounds interesting, I don't know many people who's first car was a new one. I think everyone should start off with a second hand one, they're considerably cheaper and it doesn't matter as much if it takes a few bumps. Make sure he takes care on the road, from the warnings in those snippets.

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