Thursday, December 9, 2010

My International Driver's License

While researching our upcoming holiday trip to Bali, source after source mentioned how an international driver's license was required to drive on the island. I honestly neither knew this license existed nor how to go about getting one. If caught without a license, the punishment varies but the prevailing scenario seems to be that one pays the cop off at the going rate, somewhere between $10 - $20, depending on how much cash the cop thinks you're carrying. Since we're planning to spend a majority of the trip driving around the island, I decided to lock in my expense and get the license. Perhaps I'm more risk averse than I like to think.

What does it take to get a license? You pretty much go to this website, fill out the application, send in an electronic copy of your signature, passport photo, and current valid government-issued driver's license, select your method of delivery, and two to ten business days later you have a license.
Pretty sure if there's ever a "wanted" sign for me, this is the picture they'll use
The most impressive part of this entire process was that I actually received the license. With time being of the essence, I was forced to select DHL international express shipping, which goes for the low, low price of $59. Or, said another way, three to six Indoensian bribes. Not needing the undo attention in the event of pullover or two (which apparently are fairly common for visitors), I easily justified the added expense. Having placed the order on Monday morning, I was shocked when my driver pulled it out as he dropped me off tonight. And yes, I realize that sounds ridiculous, but thankfully both our drivers are friendly with the building guards and have some sort of system worked out to get us our packages. Whatever it takes; I'm not one to complain.

With my new international license in hand, which even though until two weeks ago I had no idea even existed is valid in any United Nations country, I'm allowed to drive just about anywhere. I can't wait to whip it out to my trusty driver Kailash, tell him to hit the passenger seat, and take him on a little ride through the streets of Gurgaon.


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