It started with Sumner's visit...
We had quite the adventure, traipsing about
Four days after that (four days of class and re-packing!) I was headed to
The Mallare's Do France – Top Five Griswaldian Moments
#5 – I booked almost every hotel we stayed in… except in Dinan. Dad gets to take all the credit for that one. Our room was at the end of a long narrow alley, surrounded by graffiti covered walls. The room was just large enough for three beds – a full and two twins. The bathroom was hardly big enough for the tub. There was however a lovely vase on top of the 6” TV filled with dusty silk flowers from the dollar store. Oh, and two teeny hanging pictures of ducks. Did I mention the lock-down kitchen? It was in the corner… literally, locked down – almost like a closed vendors stand – with a metal sliding door pulled down over it. Needless to say, if the alley weren’t so sketchy, we would’ve made dad sleep outside in the doghouse.
#4 – We never did quite figure out the toilets. There was the one that spun around after you flushed (mom was very frighted by this) and also the one that sounded like a large barking dog when you flushed (dad said something about flushing upwards…?). But by far the best was the toilet in St. Malo. You had to pay to use it – 30 cents. We tried the first door but it took our money without letting us in. So, we tried the next. Mom and I went in together in an attempt to save money (as if dad’s hotel wasn’t enough…) and just as I went to sit down, the toilet seat went down. Almost as if it were possessed. Honestly, I hadn’t even noticed it was up in the first place! So mom and I finish up but can’t for the life of us figure out how to flush. Whatever, we said. We go to the door and let dad in (that’s 30 more cents saved, you know). And no sooner does the door click shut when we hear the loudest sound of gushing water followed by the sound of Dad screaming. Mom and I frantically tried to open the door, but with no money, we were helpless. Personally, I figured dad had tried to flush the toilet by unscrewing some valve and now the bathroom was flooding! After a few seconds dad comes to the door. His look says it all. As do his soaking wet pant legs. Turns out it was an automatic cleaning bathroom. Dad described it as: water gushing out of the walls.
#3 – The entire driving experience was quite the… adventure. First of all, we couldn’t go anywhere without being noticed because we were sporting a huge diesel minivan that towered over all of the teeny European cars. Secondly, we’re still not quite sure what half of the road signs mean! The day we went to get the car we walked into the rental office only to be told that dad needed to have his passport. I tried my hardest to explain to the man that we could bring it back to him after he gave us the car, but he wasn’t falling for it. So dad and I went on a 90 minute trek – walking to the metro, waiting for the metro, on the metro, switching metros, on the metro again, walking to the hotel, finding the passport… and then back again. When we finally got the car it was filled with dirt and trash and peanut shells (or were they pistachio?). I asked the man if we could vacuum it out but he told me it was too much trouble to get the vacuum out. Just go before we can’t anymore, I told dad. We spent over an hour going the less than 5 miles back to the hotel. Who knows how many times we circled the same roads looking for one that wasn’t one way in the wrong direction! We finally got there, loaded up the car and headed for anywhere but here. Unfortunately, within a few minutes we found ourselves in the middle of a “pieton”: pedestrian only zone. I have no idea how we got in there and am still amazed at how adeptly dad reversed his way all the way out. I could go on, but needless to say, I’m happy to be back to public transportation!
#2 – As soon as we got out of
Oh no, he says
I never paid.
You never paid?
I never paid for the gas.
You never paid for the gas!?!
No, I never paid for the gas.
While everyone watched out the back window for the cops that we were convinced would be behind us in any minute, I found the number for the gas station of the receipt for my water bottle and called them up. In French, I tried to explain that we were the people who had just gotten gas at pump 3 but forgot to pay. I asked if I could give him a credit card number over the phone. He said no, it was better if I just came back. I said, sorry sir, but there’s no way we can do that… we barely found our way out of there and there’s no way we can get back! He said, ok. I said ok. And then we hung up! Dad, of course, spent the next few days worrying over his transgression and having nightmares about being arrested at customs on his way home. Luckily he made it home just fine and there’s been no word on the stolen diesel (or was it unleaded?!).
#1 – The number one griswaldian moment… Friday morning. We were getting ready to head out of
So there you have it… I could go on, of course, about the number of times we ordered food and got something other than what we were expected, about how ben ate steak tartare, about when the bird pooped on me, about ben’s nightly staring contests with the unabashed French women in every restaurant, about sharing one hotel room and one bath (that’s bathtub – as in no shower) with four people for eight nights in a row…
Despite it all, I was happy to have my family in
As they were headed for the airport, I was on my way to the south of
And so, I’m back in
Not that I’m complaining or anything :)