Thursday, March 24, 2005

French Driving Logic?

While in France we drove a considerable amount. This lead to several discussions about French driving logic. Granted, we had the shittiest tour guide of all time. I mean this thing was a total piece of crap, but we DID have the mind to get a driving map before we left stockholm. Only one of the smartest things dad and I did before we left. He did most of the planning, leaving me to implement the plans and navigate. It worked okay until we ran into french driving logic -- if we can even call it that.

When in Paris. You need a really great map, tenacity and the patience of a saint. Agression helps, but usually only gets you in trouble. good reflexes and immunity to flinches when you see people clip one another are essential. Of course you should note that not everyone yells, but shouts probably equated to "Mothah fuckah, I'll fecking cut you!" Of course, being french, it was not that simple. It probably sounded more like, "You fornicator with female child bearers, my new smart car will decimate and render useless your pathetic peugot." Very similar to another french taunting that comes to mind, "I fart in your general direction ... your mother was a hampster and your father smelt of elderberries!" Of course you add in the gutteral nuances, epiglotal stops, and nasal sounds and it just kind of blends in with traffic and horns blowing.

Around the countryside. Signs on the road mean absolutely nothing. I'm dead serious. If they say, "Paris 123 Km." It means, "We measured this from an arial view making a straight line form the point where you are, more or less, and your desination. However, we asked the highway planning department to make the road as curvy as possible, for your pleasure, of course." The numbers had no correlation to the actual distance. Bastards. The more important disconnect though was the road signs and the directions to other roads. Well, we must assume you don't want to be on ONE road the whole time. Or at least you'd like the option of derevation from the main road. Oh, but wait, the signs, they point you to this fun traffic circle. You go through the traffic circle, not seeing another indiciation of where to go. So you pass through. Still no signs. Use the next circle to double back. Go through the circle again, try a new exit. This one, also wrong. Do it again. Finally you get the right one. You know how it's right? About 1 K down the road there is another sign that says, oh by the way you are on the right fucking road. This happened at least 6 times. We were in some pretty isolated areas, but damn, it takes a while to get that all down.

What do we take away from this? Give no credence to road signs, until you see the reminder sign that says you've gone the right way. You are fucked if you ever want to know exact distances, so dont bother. Oh, and if you want to go into the more isolated areas, bring at least three maps, the rotaries make anti sense, and we did it deliberately to taunt you. "Now be off with you fake Arthur King, or I shall taunt you a second time!"


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