Driving License (part 1)
Tags: driving license
Yesterday I went for the first "official" part of the driving license test: the medical test. My European license has been translated and I needed to go myself to the traffic police station, to show I have arms and eyes (note: small village 1 hour from Nanjing).
I arrived there with my driver little after 4 (they close at 5) and the first thing I heard: 老外， 老外， 老外！Exitement all over the place. After some random “queuing , we acquired the right form and need to go upstairs. My driver tells me "luckily we are just in time". I ask him "why?" they close at 5?! Silly me, it is government and they need to prepare to leave work at 4:30. (Later I hear Tuesday is an excellent day to go, because they might refuse to work on other days, e.g. Friday that is weekend already and most likely not help you, nowadays it is also “much better” then the past :-)).
At the 3rd floor I go into the examination room and there is a picture missing: panic! We we have to run around the building to make one (28 RMB). While I sit on the little stooll the gossiping starts. Also there is confusion WHO is taking the test. Well, there is one 老外 and one guy fluent in Chinese, who looks Chinese and has al the papers (with my name). When the picture is finished, they ask my driver if I understand the conversation: now it is time for me to have a little fun: yes of course I tell them! I have been living here for about 2 years and tell them the usual chit chat in Chinese. More praise follows. So far so good!
We need to go to another floor to show some papers and then there are problems with the passport number and my European name. They ask the driver if I have a Chinese name, and suggest I use that. So I tell them and this also lightens up the atmosphere a bit. The standard response by the officers is rather grumpy.
Again we need to go to another floor. We have to fill in more details and then there is my Chinese name and my first character is not the normal 马, so. I suggest to write it myself and more surprise all over。
Then we need to go back to the 3rd floor for the test. We have to glue the picture on the paper, there is more gossiping and suddenly my driver runs to the first floor again. I was still wondering when the medical test starts.
Before I know it, I am outside listening to complaints about working hours from the government and wonder who examined me. I return to my husband’s office and tell how it went. It was exactly the same when my husband applied for the license. Just bureaucratic blah blah. Guess in the end I didn’t need eyes or arms after all, no one checked.
Today my driver needs to go with all the papers to a different city and I will hear the test date. There is some confusion who is actually taking the test. We all know that my Chinese is not good enough and seriously, no one told me one rule or gave me some instructions. The driver doesn’t want to take the test a second time because he is afraid to fail (and loose face). Common practice is to find “translators” who also happen to be very good at driving exams!
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