Sunday, October 14, 2007

Test Drive

We almost bought this car. As I write we have a 24 hour deposit on it. But after reviewing lots of websites we decided against it. We were offered $A15,000 + stamp duty for a February 2006 model that had driven 14,000km and was still under the manufacturer's warranty. 1.6l engine, automatic transmission and most of the amenities you expect on a modern car. The passenger seat seemed as roomy to Moom as a much larger car as we zoomed up ANZAC Parade and onto Limestone Avenue (that's where the Australian National War Memorial is at the foot of Mount Ainslie). Moom reckoned the driving position was just about acceptable to him too. But stumbling out of that position his trousers caught on some huge lever attached to the driver's seat and it snapped right off. "Don't worry: we'll get it fixed under warranty". But we began to wonder how good a car was where that could so easily happen. Earlier we test drove a Toyota Echo.

Here Moom's knees were almost knocking against the dashboard on the passenger side. The ride was harsh on the bumpy Australian road. It looks like we'll go for a much larger car a few years older. The downside of large cars is their high urban fuel consumption. Petrol costs nearly $US5 per US gallon here. We don't expect, though, to spend time stuck in traffic jams. A Holden Commodore gets about 21 mpg in urban driving and 34 mpg in highway driving. It has a 3.8l V6 engine. Maybe we don't need to go to that extreme. But Moom didn't seem to fit into a Mitsubishi Lancer for example.

I also testdrove the Australian medical system on Friday. The doctor took the documentation I brought from my previous doctor in the US and took all of it and what I said at face value. He checked nothing. Then he charged me $A60 for the visit on top of whatever Medicare (the government) gave him. He did prescribe me 400 days of medication for a condition I have and said to come back when it was near finished! Maybe he'd do some tests then...

So far this month we're spending roughly in line with Snork Maiden's salary (she hopefully will get paid this week). This means that whatever I can make will go towards increasing net worth or non everyday expenditures, which reduces the pressure to make winning trades, probably a good thing.

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