jeudi 13 juillet 2006
I have finally, after about a year of being here in France, started to drive. It is so much easier to let him drive, as he knows where to go and how to navigate the narrow streets, confusing signs, and round-abouts.

The major things that freak me out are a) the round-abouts and b) parallel parking. Oh yeah, and c) the kamikaze motocycle drivers.
Whenever we approach a round-about I start to get nervous, kind of like Le Bise (see the February 9th entry). Oh no, here it comes. What do I do? Do I stop or go? Oh god oh god oh god.
It doesn't help that my depth perception is terrible.

Parallel parking- considering how most Americans have done this about once in their life for the driver's license exam, it is quite difficult. Especially when trying to get into a space a foot longer than your car, half of your car up on the sidewalk.
Finally, the kamikaze motorcycle riders. Do they want to die? One must always watch out for them.

I asked Alain if when he was little, his parents ever took him for Sunday drives. What are those? You know, when your parents stuff you into the backseat of a stuffy car in order to drive around aimlessly for hours "looking at the scenery" but really just as an excuse to get you trapped where you can't runaway in order to talk? Nope. Hmm. Strange. Must be because of the price of gas.

We have a diesel car, which is cheaper gas-wise but takes some getting used to. There is also no gauge to tell you how fast the motor is running, you just have to "get a feel for it." Alain keeps reminding me that I have to shift. Shift! Shift!

It is strange because you get an entirely different feel of the countryside when you are driving the car versus when you are just a passenger. We were driving on some backroads the beginning of June and it was so nice seeing the countryside, the vines, the lavender, listening to the cicades chirping away.

Once I get my resident card (see "I love the Prefecture" entry) I can exchange my Virginia driver's license for a French one as France and certain US states have an agreement. Which is good because that means I don't have to take the driving school and exam here, which is time consuming and expensive.

I guess all in all, it isn't that different than driving in the US.

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