I’ve been back over a week but playing catch up with sleep, work, and the house.
Ireland was the most beautiful vacation ever… and sucked at the same time. After our one day delay, things went from bad to worse before getting better. I’ve never in my life wanted to come home so badly while being so impressed by my surroundings. It was weird.
We lost that night in Newark. We flew. I didn’t sleep. We took a bus tour around Dublin. We slept 3 hours, we walked around Dublin. I fell and hurt my knee for the second time in two weeks. We slept again, but I didn’t sleep well, or nearly enough.
The next day we got a rental car for our drive north. I proceeded to crack it up within the first four hours. Busy, Friday afternoon traffic in a small town (all the main highways travel through every small town instead of bypassing them). I rear ended a new BMW X5 SUV while traveling uphill in bumper-to-bumper traffic. My foot slipped off the brake and I wasn’t able to stop in time.
Fortunately, no injuries and negligible damage to the BMW, which had just been picked up by its owner, a car dealer. His wife, who’d been driving, was a bit pissed off, but he was super nice. Thank God. He helped report the accident to the rental company on his cell phone, and calmed me down. He didn’t think the few scratches and a small displaced plastic panel was any big deal and was just glad his kids weren’t with him and no one was hurt.
My 2005 Toyota, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. The hood was buckled, and the radiator grill and plastic headlight lens covers were broken. No mechanical damage though, everything still worked. I explained that to the rental company but they still wanted me to bring the car to the Belfast airport (2 hours east) or the Derry airport (2 hours northwest) the next day. We weren’t going to be anywhere near either place.
While decompressing in a pub, and my working up the nerve to get back behind the wheel (no I was not drinking), we chatted about our mishap with the bartender and a few locals. One guy, who claimed that he’d once been a car hire agent, went out and looked at the car. “I’d not bother to go in with it tomorrow,” he’d said. “Look, you’re on holiday now and if the car is drivable, just take it back at the end of the contract. Don’t bother with the rigmarole and lose even more time.”
While I wasn’t certain then and am not in the habit of taking the advice of drunks in bars, by following morning (after another mostly sleepless night) I’d pretty much decided he was right. Headlights worked, turn signals worked, no alignment problems, and the car wasn’t leaking any radiator or other fluids.
If I’d taken the car back we’d lose even more time than we had already. The rental company probably wouldn’t have let me keep the car so my existing contract would end. IF they’d re-rent to me, it’d likely be at a much higher rate. On top of that, the accident technically occurred in a different country, since I’d rented the car in the Republic of Ireland but had the accident in Northern Ireland (UK).
Worse, I’d waived the car rental agency’s insurance. However, knowing that I was going to do that, I did confirm with Mastercard before I left that the car rental insurance program benefit for cardholders was valid in Ireland. It just means more paperwork for me. The car rental company will charge my card for the amount of damage plus loss of rental fees, and I’ll have to claim it and be reimbursed by Mastercard. In theory. I have complied with all terms, so lets hope it happens that way and this doesn’t end up being the most expensive vacation ever.
And that was only day two… I’ll post the rest soon.