Hurray! I finally got my driving license!
But first, let me apologize from not making any posts lately because I was so occupied to get my driving license last March. Well, I’m still overjoyed and can’t believe that, finally, I can drive legally in Oman. Yepey!
My smile reached from ear to ear after hearing the line “ok, you passed!” from the Police officer whom I took the road test with in the early morning of March 19th .
You see, a rookie driver like me who practically had zero knowledge on road driving and traffic rules and had a terrible frantic emotions over big trucks on highways, getting a driver’s license at early thirties was an ultimate achievement!
Since young, it was my dream to have my own car and drive the highway with all the confidence and enthusiasm while traveling to nice places in my home country. But, because during those years, my income could not sustain for the car mortgage and having a car in Philippines was considered a luxury. So, I just simply set aside that dream behind my mind.
Not until I came to Oman in 2008 and found out that having a car here was actually a necessity especially if you have your family and little children. So I pursued that dream. It was a long and challenging journey for me, actually.
My husband and son came to Oman on the later part of 2009. It was also the time that I decided to start my driving lesson. I took my “blue book” at the Royal Oman Police in Rustaq before taking proper driving training. I don’t know why it is called a “blue book” when in fact that pamphlet-size-softbound-book came in navy green color. Anyway, I underwent eye test to know if I still have the correct eyesight that was crucial for driving. I paid 5 Omani Rials that’s roughly $13 USD for the little book.
I searched for a lady trainer and I found “Nadya”. All driving teachers in Oman are Omanis, so I really wanted to have lady trainers because I would feel more comfortable with them. Nadya was a nice lady in her early forties. She’s fluent in English Langauge. She had also handled Filipina drivers before. She charged 5 Omani Rials per hour for the training while the actual test fee depends on the result: once I failed have to pay 20 OMR or if I passed, then it’s 25 OMR. However, I only have one month driving lesson with her because after I failed on the first drum and slope test, I realized it’s difficult for my situation considering I traveled forty minutes back and forth from home in Muladdah to my training site in Rustaq after my office hours everyday. It’s was totally inconvenient for me.
Then, years have passed.
When we relocated to Muscat, the capital of Oman, in 2013, again I felt the necessity to drive independently because in the city everything that you need were there and every places that you wanted to visit were just within your reach – hospitals, supermarkets, recreation centers, schools, amusement parks, and beaches! There were times that I wanted to go to a thrift shop in Ruwi, the old and busiest district in Muscat, or simply checked the newly opened stores in Muscat Grand Mall but I need to ask my husband to take me there. I said to myself that “only if I knew how to drive, I have the independence and I can be my husband’s reliever when we were traveling to our workplace.”
It truly sounded practical and very encouraging so I continued my plan and renewed my blue book.
It was on the middle week of August 2013 that I passed the Drum and Slope Test, after two takes, with my trainer Mr. Maheer.
This time, I have a male teacher because in the city, most of the male driving teachers were more fluent in English Language than females. I paid 6 OMR per hour training while for the test: 35 OMR for passed and 30 OMR for failed. But my driving teacher suddenly refused to teach me because he couldn’t accommodate my schedule. He have so many students to handle. So he returned my blue book. Then, I became frustrated for the next four months. I was really hoping to get the driver’s license before 2013 ended.
A good friend of mine and colleague Tamila passed the road test on January of this year. She gave to me the contact number of her teacher Mr. Mohammed.
Since my blue book already expired, I have it renewed again for the third time. Mr. Mohammed worked full time at the Military and a part time driving teacher on weekends. I went for driving lesson with him every early morning of Saturdays for three or two hours. But his fee was bit higher because per hour driving session was 7 OMR and for the test were 35 OMR for failed and 55 OMR for passed.
I began my road tests on February 2914 but I was never lucky. Taking a road test in Qurum was very challenging considering the heavy traffic during rush hours and sometimes the crazy drivers that you encountered on the road. I felt the need for my teacher to explain to me clearly the traffic rules and the tips for safe driving. But since Mr. Mohammed is just a new teacher and had the difficulty with his English communication, he just referred me to his wife Salma, who is also driving teacher for twenty-four years!
Indeed, Salma was my angel! She’s a woman of courage and wisdom. She’s like a vacuum that extract all of my energy just to let me learn the proper way of driving. Each time I have lesson with her, she always gave me so much inspiration. It’s like keeping me empowered!
March 19 was my day. A very good day indeed!
I have never expected to pass the road test after the police let me drive around and through the major roads in Qurum area for 15 minutes.
Before the police came, I was praying intimately inside the car and was singing Praise and Worship songs. Then, I felt very light and my mind was very clear. I also felt the sudden rush of energy running through my veins.
When I was driving, I was really comfortable and everything went smooth from getting out of the car park, cruising into the small and big roundabouts, and lastly, parking the car back to where I started.
Just when I changed the gear to P or Park and pulled the hand break up, the police announced the words I’m longing to hear for months- “ok , you’ve passed”. Truly the happiest moment of my life!
Four days later, I went to Royal Oman Police Office to get my driving license. And it’s indicated on the card that my driving license is valid for 10 years! Whew! That will take me a decade to renew and it’s worth every penny that I have invested.
So now, I am quite learning the roads and studying the behavior of Muscat drivers. I’m enjoying the trip from home to work and back – that will take me one and half hour drive.
Hope you learn something from this story of mine. And if you are in Muscat, I encourage you to learn driving, because it is not only the confidence that you get but the satisfaction and independence of traveling all alone around the city.