Friday, January 15, 2010

Driving in France

Driving in France, to me anyway, is easy. There’s no wrong side of the road, like in England. There is no 200 miles an hour like Germany. There’s no rotary every 20 feet , with rabid drivers like in Italy, and there’s no truck with an oversized farm trailer in every town like Greece. Nope; I honestly enjoy driving in France, the French grow up knowing about automotive history it seems. Every where I’ve driven is pretty much civil, balanced and courteous. The only minor exception is when driving in a small town, or city, someone will park in the road on a one lane road, get out of their car and go in to a Tabac, ( small local tobacconist store) buy a pack of smokes and then race out and drive off. In the states that’s justifiable homicide, here it’s, “Hey when you need smokes, you need smokes (or whatever item it is)it’s going to happen to everyone, so we are paying it forward”. It’s actually kind of neat, it forces you to think, wow so I loose a minute, traffic could easily account for loosing that amount of time, then you relax. (Even though by definition this guy doing this is traffic delay) We looked at so many options for getting around while in France for six months, car rental, long term lease, buying an older car and selling it before we left. The new car lease was pricy, but viable. The buying an eight year old Peugeot 406 break (wagon) for four thousand dollars was my preference, but then there’s insurance, paperwork, reliability. Anyone in their right mind who after being questioned by their ball, by their spouse about “What happens if it breaks down?” and proceeds to buy a used car, deserves the four hundred “I told you so‘s” they get at the slightest sign of any trouble.
“The radio station is fuzzy, I bet a new cars radio would sound better in this subterranean garage.” Luckily Cindy or Caleigh don’t do that, that’s why we ended up Leasing a year old Citroen C4. Fun little diesel 5 speed four door. Good gas mileage, well diesel mileage, and peppy. The first thing I noticed while driving was, when you turn the steering wheel, the center of the steering wheel and horn hub don’t turn, just the steering wheel aspect. It was really disconcerting as we’re pulling out of the Nice Airport parking area, turning the steering wheel, car responding and the center hub with some controls on it not moving. I’m thinking “jeeze there’s a disconnected bolt in the steering column and I’ve got to return it and ask what the… are you guys renting me?” After a few blocks I relaxed and actually enjoyed the disconnected aspect of it.
“Hank, stop looking at the steering wheel and pay attention to those spike strips in the road, you are going the wrong way, where do you think you are England?”
Say Good night Gracie
Good night gracie.

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