Monday, June 21, 2010

Bad news.
The music festival yesterday was called off on account of the rain. That means no film and no photos.
I feel like a Bad Mom that I didn't do better at their last concert. I can't imagine how I LOST the video off my cell phone.
But I guess that's just how I roll....

Today I've been busy setting up things for our trip to the USA- we leave in 13 short days!! The last time we were there was in 2007, so everybody is pretty excited.
I've managed to get JP's visa sorted out. (He's currently in Ouagadougou, melting in the heat and enjoying only sporadic internet access.)
I've also booked and paid for our campsite in South Dakota.

Now I'm looking at rental cars. I often end up on sites written by French people, advising fellow citizens on their upcoming USA trips.

Here's one that I enjoyed that really gives a feeling for the differences between driving in France and driving in the USA. (I'll translate for you, but you can see the original here, which was written about Arizona):

"Coooool! Firearms may be freely sold here, but it's no problem- Americans are very respectful of the law. It's one of the paradoxes of this great country.
Forget about your latin driving. Here we've never hear a horn honking. And it's not because the light is green that you're not going to let a pedestrian cross.


In the city, you'll have the impression of seeing a film in slow motion. And in front of a school, slow-motion slows down even more.
And everyone respects the speed limits! Forget about passing 'à la Français' and "yes, but the light was orange". Try that on a cop over here and see how far it gets you...
The sign below perfectly summarizes the sense of humor of cops in the USA:


Interesting, huh? From what is said about the USA, you can derive a pretty precise picture of what driving in France is like.

In a word: insane.

People pass on blind curves like they (and everyone else on the road) are protected by magical powers.
And it's open season on pedestrians. Moms pushing strollers containing adorable babies, cute kids walking home from school- everyone is fair game....

And it isn't just me and the internet "authorities" that think so. Every anecdote I've heard from every French person I've ever met that has driven in the USA says the same thing: Americans are polite and sensible drivers and the French are maniacs.

I still drive like an American (safely and kindly) and make the other drivers here a little crazy- especially when I stop to let pedestrians pass, rather than running over their toes as they try to get across an intersection with their lives intact....

7 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

You think driving in France is insane, obviously you have not been to Egypt or South Africa. I feel very safe on the road here by comparison! Diane

Beth said...

No, I haven't been.
On the other hand, I did live in West Africa for nine years, so I did see some pretty bad/crazy driving there...
I guess I think the French are worse because it's such a huge deal to get your permit here. It's hours and hours of expensive lessons and they STILL drive like merde.

oreneta said...

Things have improved a great deal here in Spain since they introduced the point system. Before that I believe they had the highest traffic mortality rate after Portugal.

So sorry about the concert.

Joy said...

13 days to go!! Very exciting! I hope that your trip goes smoothly, and that you enjoy the calm driving in the USA. My friend was in Florida recently, and was commenting on how fast everyone drove on the freeways, and how quickly she drove just to keep up with traffic. I'm starting to get a wee little inkling of just how slow we drive, here in Canada. ;) But oddly, I didn't find the driving in the Tarn to be that crazy. Barcelona, however, was a crazy cacophony of horns, from the start of the day to the end.

babzee said...

Having moved from NY/NJ to AZ many years ago, I was quite stunned to learn the respect with which the AZ pedestrian is held. The law is "pedestrians have the right of way in a crosswalk whether the crosswalk is marked or not". This is pretty much "create your own crosswalk" country, and (at least when I lived there in the early 1980s) it was strictly enforced! I have seen such things becoming law across this mild-mannered country of ours since.

This article -- how hard is it to understand a Frenchman with his tongue-in-cheek? -- give the impression that if any European ever did get their hands on a loaded gun -- watch out!

Kelly said...

Ha ha! This is so funny. Yes, the French don't like babies in strollers. I have to agree with the one comment regarding S. America. Rio de Janeiro was crazy. Luckily, I didn't have to drive--I was only a (scared) passenger.

Have a great time in S. D.

Teacher Mommy said...

I wonder if they'd feel the same way if they drove in, say, New York or somewhere like that? Hmmm. Made me laugh, though.