"We arrived safely (the fight is less than 3 hours in the air) and proceeded to pick up the car we had rented. Oh why did I fail to ask on what side of the road they drive on Turks and Caicos? This is a rhetorical question. How bad can it be. T & C is a small, resort destination and we have rented a wee little car with an automatic transmission.
This late model little Japanese import is also a vehicle with all the modern conveniences: GPS, keyless ignition, etc.
Ever the intrepid travelers, we sally forth into the unknown after a brief orientation from the helpful Hertz rental agent. The directions she gave us are straightforward and easy to follow and I spend my time reminding Bart to stay left. He actually does not need much reminding as oncoming traffic is a great enforcer.
We have been on the road for about 15 minutes when we hear a voice speaking to us from inside the car --- in Japanese. (I do not speak any Japanese but I have seen more than a few WW II movies and what the car is saying definitely sounds like Japanese to me.) I should note that we have prior experience with rental cars speaking to us in tongues in foreign countries but in those past instances, there has been a note of panic or immediacy in the disembodied voices. This voice is calm, even conversational, so we are intrigued but not overly concerned.
We arrive safely at The Tuscany where we will stay for 3 nights and the incident of the disembodied Japanese voice becomes a mere curiosity, an anecdote to be recounted over lunch (grilled fish wrap in a beachside restaurant).
Alas, our automotive woes continue when we need to move the car from the arrival porte cochere to our assigned parking space at The Tuscany. There is no key. Ok, we can deal with that in theory. We know that the electronic fob needs to be inside the car for the vehicle to turn on. That done, it is not as easy as you would think to make this work. We push, we pull, we jiggle and finally we achieve success.
I am seriously rethinking this whole rental car thing. At least there is no penalty if we turn it in early.
After settling in to our palatial digs and sleeping off lunch, we decide to leap once more into the breach and set out to find some ice cream and provisions for breakfast. Piece of cake. We are getting the hang of keyless ignition (we think) and driving on the left. We even find the little shopping center with the ice cream shop on the first pass. Bart has a dish of Kahlua espresso fudge and I have coconut chocolate chunk. Both are excellent. We buy some patties for breakfast tomorrow morning and return to the car (our Japanese speaking poltergeist seems to have abandoned us for the evening). The sun has set and it is now dark.
We do not really think anything is amiss when the lights do not blink when we unlock the car with the remote control. Bart does get a little testy when he again cannot make the keyless ignition work. We go through all the gyrations we went through the first time and even add a few to no avail. After listening to several tactfully phrased suggestions from me, Bart graciously offers to let me try to start the damn car. Equally graciously I accept.
Replacing Bart behind the wheel, I too meet with no success. All of a sudden I notice that what I thought was the radio is no longer occupying the space in the dashboard. Wait - there are a couple of things missing or not in the right place. We have gotten into the wrong car (who knew) and are lucky that we figured it out before the owner came back to find us trying to steal his car (else I might be typing this from the slammer on T & C).
Oh yes - and our Japanese friend appears to be the GPS. Tomorrow we will figure out how to turn her off . On a small island, I have found that if you consistently keep the ocean on your left (or right), you will eventually get where you want to go.
We are hoping for an uneventful and waterlogged Thursday by and in the sea.
Which we did have. And the patties were excellent this morning.
Adding to the piquant flavor of this trip, our table at dinner tonight was adjacent to the crypt of the restaurant's late and presumably lamented dog. Tastefully done but still a tad bizarre...
Can't wait for tomorrow.