Saturday, May 25, 2013
My Sincere Apologies to Parisian Drivers
"In foreign countries such as Italy, the
government puts strict-looking speed
limit signs everywhere, but no one ever
sees them beause light does not travel
fast enough to catch Italian drivers."~ Dave Barry
"Italians are good drivers," my friend repeateddly tells me as she simultaneously yells at her husband, Peppe, to slow down. "We have to be because of all the narrow and winding roads." Dutifully, I nod my head. I'm not sure if she's trying to convince me or herslef. "Peppe, my God. Slow down a little bit." I didn't think he was going that fast, to tell the truth. "When we go to Rome from Sulmona, it takes one hour when Peppe drives. I'm-a gonna divorce him on the way to Rome some day."
"I know what you mean. Mike tailgates," I reply as we all laugh.
"Noooo. Not Michele (pronounced Me-kay-lee)." I'm not sure if she's really shocked or just pretending to be so. "Peppe, my God," she interjects and rattles off something in rapid-fire Italian that I can't understand but I think is telling him to slow down and be careful.
"Nove!" Peppe exclaims as he waves his hand at the windshield and answers in more rapid-fire Italian that, I'm guessing means he *is* being careful.
Italian — and other European — drivers are pretty famous for the way they drive. Fast. We were coming back from getting the rental car last week, and the speed limit on the highway was 90 kilometers per hour. (Don't get too excited. That's only 55 mph.) People were blowing by us. We were on a 50 kph, narroa, winding road going to one of the little towns in Abruzzo last week, and some dude blew by us on a curve.
To turn the corner a bit, let me also discuss Italian parking rules. Apparently, there aren't any.
You may remember, if you've read this blog, that I calld the Parisians crazy for having parking lots on sidewalks and in the middle of the street. My sincere apologies, my dear Parisian friends.
Italians park when, where and how they want. If you look at the photo at the top of the blog, you'll notice that there are four cars parked on the sidewalk. That's the parking in front of our apartment. (A tiny and interesting fact: The Smart Car at the front, the one that is completely on the sidewalk, is ours.)
Note the good job that the owner of the while car did while parking his car near the basilica in Sulmona. The road looks wider than it is, and there is parking on both sides of the one-way street. A bus has to squeeze by as it is. I guess the driver of that car isn't worried about getting hit,
Across the street froj our building is a row of businesses and flats. The sign you see on the right side designates the parking space as a handicapped only. The silver car does not have a handicapped sticker, and the red one avoided the whole problem by parking on the sidewalk.
Note both the photo above and the photo below. This is actually my favorite way the Sulmonans park. Parallel park? Pull completely into the space? Heck no. By the way, the guy in the teal car above pulled into the crosswalk, got out and ran into a bar next to the jewelry store. Maybe the caffeine will help him park better next time.
So, citizens of Paris, take heart. You are *not* the world's craziest drivers. . . or is that parkers?
By the way.... If you read yesterday's post, you might remember that i mentioned going to an Arichoke Festa in Riana tonight. We didn't. It was cold today, and it rained off and on. I'm also feeling quite under-the-weather, so there was no way I could be out in it.
"I really don't mind if we skip it," Mike, the artichoke hater, said to me this afternoon.
Of course he didn't.