Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Almost a year ago I went through some difficult car issues. Car INSURANCE issues, to be more specific.

I initially mentioned the incident here, and although I was planning to write more about what came after, life went on and it was relegated to the sidelines.

First off, our car collided with the spanking new Audi A6, on its rear right door. The door was pretty smashed up, as was our bumper, headlight and hood.

Second, our car was liable for the accident, since technically it was on the yield lane when the collision happened. So even though the view was blocked by illegally parked cars and the car in question was over speeding, like responsible adults we accepted the responsibility and filed the necessary papers for the insurance claim against us.

Then lo and behold, two months later, we received a notice for the claim, and aside from the banged up rear car door which was replaced, we were also being billed for a front bumper broken on the far LEFT side. The entire bumper, unsurprisingly, was also replaced. Have I mentioned it was an Audi A6?

The car owner claimed that when the cars collided (at his rear right), his car was pushed on the left in front and hit the curb. WTF, ano daw????

Any decent human being with a vague idea of physics would know that when force is applied to an object on its rear right, pushing it to the left, the result would be the movement of the front in the opposite direction, i.e. the right.

Apparently, someone saw an opportunity to mooch off some unsuspecting foreigners. At the scene of the accident I had thought about taking pictures, but the car owner seemed like a decent person (he was a doctor!) and it seemed like everything had been sorted out. BIG MISTAKE. It was was big mistake that charged us something in the vicinity of US$5,000.

Fortunately for me, he did not know that I did not fit into the submissive Asian stereotype. I fired off a looooong letter to the insurance company pointing out the fallacies in his claims, with diagrams and pictures of the site of the accident (two months too late, but still useful).

All those hours spent watching CSI and Bones finally paid off, as I included pictures of the curb with rulers showing the height of the curb compared to the height of an Audi A6 front bumper (we had to hunt down an Audi A6 for this one), and the surrounding area with arrows and hypothetical scenarios (I used Scribus).

Operation Insurance Forensics 1

R modeled for me during our Mission Impossible

Operation Insurance Forensics 2

The conclusion: only a bulldozer could have pushed that car to the left, and even if it had, there would have been nothing to bang into from that side.

Thankfully the insurance company listened to us, and I am forever grateful for our hard working insurance agent who listened to all my rants and ran my paperwork.

Lessons I learned:

1. ALWAYS take pictures of the accident. You never know when you’ll need it.

2. Get a good insurance agent.

3. Some basic computer graphics skills that you think are useless can come in handy.

4. DRIVE SAFELY. Some people are assholes on the road, but it doesn’t have to be you.


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Car Repairs

It’s that time of the year again when our car is due for registration and inspection. It’s a lot of hassle going to the various offices to get papers and signatures, all for that highly esteemed sticker, but it does make us aware of things that need to be fixed and in the end it keeps us all safe.

This year we had to change the front plate, which was banged up during an accident (another story for the books), the brake hose, and align a misaligned headlight (also from the same accident).

Cars are R’s turf, so I just tagged along to give him credit card moral support.

At our last stop for the headlight, I was my usual nosy self and started dissecting the tangled plants outside the garage:

Is this balatong?

Wait…. is that what I think it is?

It is! It is balatong!

It is! It is what I think it is!

I was so excited I found a real live balatong (string bean) plant, I started taking pictures.

Okay, okay, I was also thinking of how I could manage to bring home some seeds for the garden. (I’m a seed bandit, so sue me.)

Perhaps reading my less-than-noble thoughts, the owner of the garage came out, plucked two dried pods and gave them to me.

This is one of those moments where common interests transcend language, because I actually understood from him that one seed alone bore that entire tangle of vines climbing up the electric wires. (Okay, safety hazard alert.)

While I was still feeling pretty pleased with myself, R came out and said that the owner’s son actually told his father that there was a weird lady taking pictures of the beans.

So much for my charms.

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Too Bold to Behave. NOT.

Promoted, originally uploaded by marie and her dune buggy.

I shouldn’t have brought up the reminder that I started this blog because of my driving issues. Because.


This week I had a major driving issue X( Brrrrr.

To make a long story short, HB had a minor accident. Thankfully it was only the front bumper and hood that was damaged, and not the person driving it. Physically, anyway. Mentally, uh, let’s just say he is going through an existential phase right now. But he will be fine.

So why is it a major driving issue???? Because. For six agonizing hours I thought that we would have to foot the bill for the repairs of an Audi A6 which, obviously, is not the car we own. And any disbursement of a huge amount of money is a major issue for me, regardless of the context.

As I said, the physical damage was not major. But it was a d*@# Audi A6!!!! HB knows how to pick his cars.

At the end of the day, I thank God for safe, sturdy cars and good insurance agents. We are not footing the bill for the Audi. I’ve been salivating after an A4 but after this incident I will never look at an Audi sedan the same way again.


Good bye, Audi.

How is the picture above related to any of this?

This was an accident I had early this year, when I let pedestrians cross (on the lane) and a lady rear ended me.

Thank God for sturdy cars.

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Just Drive

Ironically, this blog was supposed to be about driving.

I had learned to drive back home, but never actually got around to DRIVING. Maybe owning a car would have helped.

When I got here I HAD to drive because I got myself a car that sat in the garage, neglected and lonely. HB was still flying back and forth, SB needed to be brought to ballet class, and I was tired of lugging our huge market basket on the bus to and fro while jostling with all the locals. And so I did. I woke up one day and decided to drive. NOT.

Driving in a first world country is not like driving back home, obviously. And I was scared. I think, to a certain extent, I still am. Ever paranoid, I got myself a driving instructor. He probably thought I was very weird but humored me all the same. Our initial conversation went:

Me: “I need you to give me lessons.”
Him: “Do you have a license?”
Me: “Yes.”
Him: (puzzled pause)
Me: “I need lessons because I’m scared.”
Him: (even more puzzled) “What are you scared of?”
Me: “Other cars.”

We got along swimmingly, Ziki (the instructor) and I. Except when he would yell: “Gas! Gas! I can’t help you if you don’t step on the GAAAAASSSSS!!!!!”

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