Rarotonga is small, only 32 kms around the entire island and it’s easiest getting around on a motorbike, which everyone who’s anyone has! We rented an automatic bike during our first week on the island and I got to practice a few times, trying to get my confidence up to become a driver. You see, I am 33 years old and never bothered to get my driver’s licence, so getting one in the Cooks was a big deal for me – it was time to take my adulthood to the next level: from perpetual passenger, to lady of the road!
We bought a manual 100cc Honda Wave and after a few weeks I decided it was time one sunny Friday afternoon. I had passed the 25 question written test and stood in line with some tourists. I anxiously awaited my turn, taking deep breaths and wondering if it was ill-thought out to wear the shortest skirt I own to the test that day.
Finally the police officer called my name and I revved the bike up to the starting line: the challenge was driving around a bunch of cones, around the end of the course and back to the starting line. Starting along my path I was thinking ‘Yes! I can do this!’. Changing into second gear I approached the turn and fumbled for the left hand break – but there wasn’t anything there to slow me down! I had forgotten I was driving a manual, not an automatic with hand breaks! I roared around the corner, up a ramp and came booming down and almost wiped out on the gravel BESIDE the course. I like to think this looked like a cool Tom Cruise movie: me, dusting my pursuers hot on my tail on my awesome bike. Instead, I’m pretty sure everyone at the finish line saw up my miniskirt while I wimpily lifted the bike back up and putt-putted to the finish line. I looked up at the police officer as he sorrily looked down,
‘So, that’s a fail ma’am.’
I cried the whole long walk home.
The silver lining is that I mustered up some courage 2 weeks later, rented an automatic bike and took the test again. I shook the whole time – but I PASSED!!!!