Major Adventures

Just a bloke's records of how his life unfolds.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The French Are Crazy - I had forgotten how CrAzY!

A week in France: the perfect get away from London. Travel, dog in hand and hop in one Renault Twingo, direction - Central France. Of course, not having functioning windscreen wipers can dampen the spirits of adventures, however, the prospect of having Renault in France fixing them and replacing the broken window and mirror for a fraction of the cost is a driving force.

French Situation One:
Arriving safely from London some 10 hours after leaving Streatham at 7am, I took El Gringo - the guacamole green Twingo to Pithiviers Renault, where I bought it. Leaving the keys and explaining things that needed to be done, at one desk. Then we were instructed to go to another desk to check in the car, we were then directed to line up at the next desk (part of the same bench, but different person) to discuss costing and parts. Then, to be sent to the 'parts' man to buy the parts need for the car. From arrival to departure, just to check in the car and do the work for these French people, 35 minutes.

French Situation Two: The Police
Having just picked my car up, some 1 day, 7 hours later, I was driving to Orléans to visit the gorgeous Sarah, please note I am now 1 day late to Sarah's. A big police van pulls out in front of me, with just enough space and timing, anyone else did it you would tutt and flash your lights at them. There was a tractor lawn mowing heavy machinery clipping the sides of the roads as they do in the country, but on double white lines (i.e. no overtaking), the Police? (Consequently me too) Overtake the machinery on the double lines at a speed 15kms above the limit. I did manage to get into Orléans faster thanks to their speeding and my tailing them. CRAZY.

French Situation Three: Shop Assistants
There is this magic invisible wall between you and any shop assistant in France. I think, in fact, it is a one way mirror, you can see them, but they only see their own reflection. This ignoring of customers until they are ready; have finished the conversation with their colleagues or their designated 'break time' is finished is so typically French. At Renault, the lady on reception was opening talking about us to her colleague as if we were not even there, and then chose to acknowledge us.
At the supermarket last night, the check out lady said Hi to us as we were processing the groceries and bagging them up, and then started a conversation with the customer behind, pointed to the amount on the till, still in conversation. Sarah and I assumed she was finished with us and we didn’t want to disturb her conversation (how rude to do so) so we walked out. As we were leaving she said in a very brash, annoyed tone, Bonsoir Monsieur-dame. How peculiar are the French?

French Situation Four: Government Road Workers.
Driving through Pithiviers on the way to Orléans, I was stopped at a zone of tree lopping on the main road from Pithiviers. Finally I was allowed to pass only to discover 4 men eating their afternoon tea and sipping coffee from their thermos. No work being done, no shame in having the traffic being controlled over their tea break.
This country is CRAZY.


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