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Le Petit Paradis Pousada in Joao Pessoa

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The Driving Test

April 27th, 2009

I didn’t actually sit the driving test, though some wag suggested that I had to sit a psychological test. Whether that’s because he had driven with me or it was a requirement of Brasilian law I wasn’t able to discern. Suffice it to say that it appeared to be the correct thing to do according to the clerk at the delegacia.

I turned up at the testing centre and spent half an hour filling in a form aided and confused by two clerks. “That should have been the test” I thought as I was led into a doctors consulting room. After going through all the questions on the form, again, she gave me an eye test. So far so good.

I was then taken into another room with a desk and chair. After sitting, it was explained to me that several diagrams would be placed in front of me. I would have to draw them.

“A doddle” I thought except that I would only have ten seconds to look at them and then the diagram would be covered. Not too bad though until she said the next batch would have to be done with first the left eye closed, then the right eye closed. It felt like doing a spirograph drawing in the dark.

She took the drawings away showing no emotion.

I was then led into another room which was painted a dark brown. In the centre of the room was a chair not unlike those you would see in a dentists surgery. I made myself comfortable. In front of me was an octopus like metal frame the kind you see in those home theatre adverts. Instead of speakers at the end of the arms there were a series of coloured lights. In front of me was a panel with two buttons on it, one for each hand. On each foot rest there was also a button. I was told that a colour was allocated to each hand and foot. The lights would flash on and off and I had to press the buttons accordingly. Would I like to try? Of course, and the dummy run went perfectly.

Well it would because it was so slow. Then she ups the pace a little, still manageable though there was now a menacing bead of sweat making life awkward. Lights are now flashing faster, I am leaning forward a bit and raised a little out of my seat for greater concentration and an inconvenient, nervous wind, but I am doing it, going great guns when, all of a sudden the lights go off.

It was like “close encounters” meets “Star Wars”. The lights were going crazy, sweat was pouring off me, I wanted to stay in the seat and get out at the same time as I twisted and turned in reaction to the phase of lights. I must have looked like “Meat Loaf” in a 70s disco.

After what appeared to be an eternity of “Star Wars” activity pressing buttons with hands and feet, the machine switches off, lights go on and its over.

After waiting a couple of days you go back for your answer. It cost me R$65 and I didn’t have to do it, but it was absolutely a worthwhile experience.

By the way, I passed.

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