Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Panda? Maybe not

On Monday, July 15, I traveled by train to Amsterdam (walking 3 km at 6:30 am to get to the Loppersum train station, nearest one to Zeerijp - some good exercise) where Cynthia Freivogel and I rehearsed all day at the lovely home of Julie and Frans Muller. The following day I made my way to Schiphol where my husband Dongsok was arriving from the US via Dublin on Aer Lingus.

After finding each other (not without some difficulty) we proceeded to the rental cars. I had reserved a Panda, which every European knows is a small car, much like those old Honda Civics. The lady at the desk, when she had given me the papers, had looked at me funny when I said "three people, all of whom will want to be able to drive."Apparently the people might fit, but not the baggage. Hmmm. So she quoted us an amount to upgrade to the next bigger car (a Toyota Auris, like a Prius, which sounded a LOT larger, but it wasn't all that much money) and said we could exchange in the garage if we wanted. You have to also understand we had a supergreat deal on the price to start with - less than the cost of two trains to Switzerland, our next destination.

Down in the garage, a very nice young fellow led us to our Panda. Very cute car. 40 mi to the gallon or more. Four doors. Very tiny looking.

OK. I looked inside. Yes there is a back seat. For midgets. Midgets without legs, clearly. Dongsok opened the back and tried to get his large suitcase in. No go. Tried putting it in the backseat. No go. At least, not with a person there too.

OK, it was looking like the Prius. Oh well, trying out an electric hybrid sounded like fun. And not much more $$ than a day at Disney World. But the nice young fellow said, "Wait! You're dropping this off in Germany?"  Yep.

"I may have something else for you. Same price."

After consulting his computer he led us to two different cars. My choice: A Mercedes station wagon or a Jaguar sedan. I was dubious. "For the same price???" Well, he admitted, yes, the Mercedes for the same price - but the Jaguar "just a little more." I admit, I thought about the Jaguar - for about 10 seconds. Then I remembered how often the '68 XKE I used to own would break down (dashboard caught on fire, hood latch broke on the highway, you name it). Sleek as the Jaguar was, it was not for me. And besides, even more extra money was NOT on the agenda. So it was Mercedes or Auris - well, how could I turn down a Mercedes? Black elegance, nice large backseat, huge area for luggage. And also 40 miles to the gallon. Our drive to Switzerland & touring around in Holland & Germany would be totally comfortable for us and my niece, who would be joining us in a few days.

So we took the Mercedes! Not bad: reserve a Panda, drive away with a Mercedes.

Here's the nice man from Hertz who got us our Mercedes: Barry van der Heide, station supervisor. (Hertz, take notice: give Barry the Employee of the Month award!).
And here's me with our Mercedes, and driving (taken by Dongsok).

No comments:

Post a Comment