Let me tell you a story……

Back in the day when I lived in Ireland, I had a driver’s license and a car. I would bomb all over Ireland in that great car (which has since passed away). This is the car, Suzy. Apologies for the fact that she’s sideways.


In the 3 years, I was driving in Ireland, I only got breathilised once.  And what a great adventure that was.

It was a Friday night and my sister, Kathryn (I have 2 sisters) and I were returning from a Chinese in Nenagh.  We were driving the home car.  At the time, I’m pretty sure Suzy the Suzuki wasn’t yet on the scene.  It was a really quiet night and there were hardly any other cars on the road.  We were almost out of the town when we saw the flashing lights and realised that we were going to be stopped at the checkpoint.

Normally, this would freak people out but for me it was the first checkpoint of any sort since I got my full license so I was pretty excited.  We drive up to the Garda, roll down the window and after the usual small talk (where are you going, what are you doing here etc) she asked if she could test my breath for alcohol.  By this time, I was so happy that it was really happening that I replied “NNNNNNNOOOOOOOOO problem”  The Garda looked at us and said ” I thought you were saying no. I’m just out of Templemore*, I wouldn’t have known what to do”. When I stopped laughing at this she gave me the instructions,

1. Blow into the bag

2. Stop when you hear the beep

It was that simple.  Not knowing how long it would be until the beep, I took a deep breath and blew into the bag. However, after about 2 seconds I heard a beep so I stopped.  It was more of a puff than a breath really but a beep is a beep.  At this stage, I’m pretty sure the Garda thought there was something wrong with me (possibly I had been drinking????) So she had to change the bag and then gave me the second set of instructions,

1. Blow into the bag

2. Stop when you hear the big beep.

If she had said that the first time, there wouldn’t have been any problem to start with.  So, once again I blew into the bag.  Except this time I almost ran out of breath listening carefully for the damn beep that eventually came.  I passed (surprise) and so we went on our way back to Ballybrowne.  That was the last time I was breathalised until………..a month ago.

Skip 5 years to my driving in Korea.  I’ve had my car (Spuddy) since November. In the last 4 weeks, I’ve been breath tested 3 times. That’s twice more than in my 3 years driving in Ireland. But the whole experience here is a little bit of a let down compared to the adventure in Ireland.  My first breath test here was driving home from Ilsan.  At first, I thought it was an accident scene, until the traffic was reduced to two lanes.  It eventually dawned on me that it was a drink driving checkpoint and again I was super excited.  I knew there was a blog coming out of this.

I drive up, roll down the window and expect to see a device similar to the one in Ireland.  Instead the police officer put a rectangular shaped device in front of my mouth and told me to blow into the square.  It took a full 2 seconds before the light turned green and I had to drive away.  What a let down.

The other two times I got stopped were coming home from Munsan and randomly outside my apartment complex in Geumchon.  I think there’s a conspiracy here somewhere, but that’s for another day……….

*If you’re not Irish;

a Garda is a police officer

Templemore is where the Gardai train

Nenagh is in Tipperary

4 thoughts on “Let me tell you a story……

  1. You brightened my day sooooo much with this blog. To be fair the breath test in Nenagh was far more exciting becasue it was a traditional going out night on a long weekend and we decided to mee the gang for the Chinese and be good girls and not go to the night club. The garda was more worried than we were the poor creator. You couldn’t blow into the bag the second time becasue we were laughing too hard. Now adventures in Suzi deserve another blog. The luminous shoelaces on the way home from Galway, the trips to the drive thru… need I continue ???

  2. The reasons why there are many drink checks is because there are many Korean people who drive after drinking alcohol. If I have a chance to drive in Tipperary, I never have problems with Irish Garda since I don’t drink alcohol when I drive.

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