We finally took delivery of our new car, a Renault Duster. Though it’s been wonderful to have a loaner car for two months, it’s fabulous to be sitting high off the road again, and the Duster may replace my 2002 Toyota 4Runner as my all-time favorite car. It’s a sort-of SUV, only two wheel drive, lacks some bells and whistles such as electric mirrors, but by default – YESSSSSSSS! — front running lights turn on when you start the engine. These are required in Uruguay by law, and not having to remember to turn the lights on is a great plus. On the Meriva there was not even the option to pay the dealer a rapacious USD 100 fee to change the computer. Couldn’t be done.
I was going to write that despite close calls, I’ve never been pulled over for not having lights on. Not true: during our first visit, in March 2009, I drove through the Solís toll booth, and was pulled over by an older policeman on foot. He told me my Spanish was very good, and I was tempted to reply “yours isn’t!” but refrained – I was still struggling to understand the Rioplatense zhmumbling. He seemed to be hinting something about a Coke, like a small bribe, but the smallest I had was a 20 Euro note (we had been in Europe four months before), and I wasn’t giving him that. My lack of comprehension eventually led to an impasse, and we drove off fine-free.
Back to the story: the Meriva, you might recall, ended up like this:
Please note the license plate. Now compare to the new one:
Just a bit interesting, no? Is Universe sending a message?