Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Paris Diary part 10

Day 12
20°, sunny.

Lily & I spent most of the day near the Seine before going up to Montmartre later on. We worked at night, so we had most of the day off to explore.

The highlight of the day was riding scooters around the short and winding roads of Montmartre and driving a 1960s Citroën DS. Lily & I both have limited experience with driving scooters in Hong Kong, but I've driven more in Mainland China.

The Citroën DS was something else altogether. It looks different on the outside and feels different on the inside. The steering wheel was attached to the column at a central point just like any other car, but rather than have several spokes that branch out like most cars, this only had one arm connected to the wheel. It felt strange and looked like the steering wheel was floating in air.

But the most unusual thing about this car, in my opinion, was that the gear stick was mounted on the steering column. This may have been common practice at the time, but I have always driven cars with gear sticks between the seats. When coming to a stop, my right arm automatically reaches down, even when I drive an automatic. It took a while to get used to reaching up when I wanted to shift gears.

The difference between driving in France and driving in China is like the difference between eating a handmade chocolate truffle from a maître pâtissier and eating a lump of dog shit off the ground. Pardon my French.

I don't idolize France or French people. They have their own share of problems. But when it comes to following the rules of the road and common courtesy, the French are a million miles above the Chinese.

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