On the one hand, the car is the size of a yacht, on the other the streets were built for donkeys. On the one hand there’s a fabulous GPS system with a dynamic screen in the car, on the other, it’s in French. On the one hand, I speak French and it was not all that hard to follow her, on the other she’s very inconsistent in her style of directions. One minute she’s telling you to turn left when the road only curves left. The next time she is silent when there is clearly a decision to be made. The French itself wasn’t that hard but for instance, “tener la droite,” “stay left,” sounds very much like “tourner á droite,” “turn left” which mean different things obviously. And she might say “tout droite” which means go straight for some reason, and can, when you are at an intersection being confronted with 3 trucks, 17 scooters, a bicyclist, an impatient Range Rover, and 4 nuns crossing a street that is 4 foot wide street, be confusing.
Putting the address of arrival into the car before you leave and knowing you will get there without having to unfold maps and decipher mysteriously arcane city street signage gives you a certain peace of mind. After the first day of behind-the-wheel terror, I calmed down and driving was not so trying. The car itself contributed to my sense of safety because the sensing system that detected anything within 4 feet of the vehicle let me know that I wasn’t going to scrape the side of the car on the toll-collecting booth apparatus so all I had to worry about was that I was in the correct lane so I could get the gate to go up. Not always so easy to understand and accomplish.
And if the GPS was not responding as well as we liked, the Royal Indian Mounted Food Control Police had Google Maps on his iPhone at his fingertips. So when Poubelle, our GPS lady, as we affectionately named her, failed us, as she occasionally did, the google came through. Technology. It’s amazing.