Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Early Spanner

It had all seemed so simple:

1) Arrive in Canada

2) Buy car

3) Drive back and forth across Canada until time to stop

4) Sell car

5) Leave Canada.

To begin with, it was. The arriving bit went very well indeed, including being collected by a friend at the airport, catching up with more old friends that night, as well as making some new ones. There was drinking. Lots of drinking. And lots of eating. Sunshine, even. More old friends – nice ones, too.

But, alas, it turns out that it was all part of a lulling process. I was being lulled. Tricked into a false sense of how easy everything would be. I was further lulled by a couple interesting and useful test drives of various Volvos and Toyotas. I was even on the verge of completing the second part of the plan, i.e. buying a car (even getting as far as obtaining large quantities of hard cash to sweeten the deal). Unfortunately I had underestimated the Canadian – in particular the Ontario-an – love of red tape.

Before I could actually buy a car, I would have to sort out insurance. Fair enough, and easy, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. I was eventually asked by a small town insurance broker (after being ping-ponged between several larger insurance providers, including the all powerful Canadian Automobile Association) whether I had an Ontario driver’s licence. Of course not, I’d replied. I have a NZ one. And an International one, if that’s any help. Nope. No help at all. If I’d had an Ontario licence, I’d have been insured to drive anywhere in Canada and the US, which would have been great. However, it seems that without an Ontario driver’s licence, I can’t get motor insurance in Ontario. Without motor insurance I can’t legally own a car. Without a car, I can’t drive back and forth across Canada. Ah. Bugger. Quite the kick in the plums.

There were options. I could get a friend to buy a car and go on their insurance, but then they’d have to take 6 – 10 weeks off work to accompany me. I could take a driving test and get an Ontario licence, but I’d have to hand over my NZ licence, and probably wait ages for the new licence to come through. I could maybe (still to be investigated) go to the US, buy a car there and start and end my trip in a whole other country. Inconvenient, but last resort do-able. Or, least stressfully, I might be able to rent a car for 3 months…although I still have not had an opportunity to investigate this either, so there may be restrictions on how far from the rental shop I can drive it.

It is now Sunday, so everything is closed or limited, including my access to internet. I will have to get into it on Monday. Wish me luck. It seems like I may be needing some. Incidentally, I received the bad news two days ago...on Friday...the 13th. Coincidence? You decide.

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