So, we are both nerds and love to utilize gadgets, but we have had some issues. In a previous post, I mentioned the washing machine in Tremeoc which gave me some distress. The dial has numbers, symbols, but they still held no meaning for me. I thought I’d start a cycle and an hour later, (honest, and HOUR later) the drum (a mini sized thing) was still doing two small rotations and then resting for 30 seconds, then two rotations, then rest…on and on. I am thinking that there is hamster in that drum running this thing. After an hour and no movement on the dial, I searched for Madame.
In my terrible French, “Laundry plus de temps? Plus tard? Beaucoupe de time, for Christ’s sake.”
She follows me to the machine and in rapid French, speaking to the washing machine, is vexed as well. Christian comes out to join in on the discussion, adding grunts and nods. Anyway, we got finished ….after a while.
Barry had his moments with the gas pump. To preface this, I have to say that Barry has done a phenomenal job of driving, figuring out the parking and staying calm in round-abouts. At one gas station, they would not take our credit card, and the cashier called two other workers in the gas station until one could get enough English across for him to understand that all non-French cards were declined today??
Before we left California, I was reading through some discussion boards and saw some references to the Europeans’ credit cards, which have “chips” in them and the difficulty of using our old fashioned American magnetic stripe credit cards in Europe. We carry cash for these situations, and good thing, our magnetic strip credit card has been turned down in a few places, but the chip card that we got JUST before we left is working and we have used cash too.
At another station, we pulled up to the self serve pumps and Barry was getting pissed off that the nozzle wouldn’t go into the car’s gas tank. I, trying to be helpful, suggest that the yellow on the pump nozzle matches the yellow on the inside of the car’s tank. “No, no!”, says he, in his most annoyed voice.
So, I turn to the poor soul waiting behind us. Again,using the French that a two year old might use, “Sil vous plait, ques que pump le diesel? Je connais pas…ugh ”
With a winning smile, the unperturbed fellow points, “Jaune a jaune – deeeesil”. (I can’t help but think if this guy were behind us in line in California waiting for us this long, I’d be afraid that he’d take out a gun.)
I say, “yellow to yellow, oui?”
He, “Oui, oui.”, again, smiling!
Poor Barry, I don’t even harass him, this time.
I packed my mighty circular hair dryer, coupled with my ceramic flat iron, I am expecting to have silky locks for the whole trip. I have 2 converters, so I should be able to do my hair, two-fisted, in no time. The first time I plugged in my hair dryer, with the electrical converter of course, it pops and smokes. Crap! I am afraid that I have damaged the electrical system of the whole hotel. Why did this happen? After a little online research, I found that hair styling appliances are often too powerful for the converter that I have. Though my iPad, iPhone, Barry’s kindle, my keyboard, all the other more valuable electronics are fine, the hair dryer fries! I don’t dare plug in my more expensive flat iron. So, friz-ville for me, even though we located a Monoprix store. (This is sort of like a Target.) I bought a small flat iron curler combo with European plugs, but it isn’t mighty enough to really to the job. Looking more like Roseanne Roseanna Danna than Cindy Crawford, I work with it. C’est la vie.
Life without our iPhones has been tres tragic! Navigating with an old, pretty lazy old garmin and communicating with sometimes spotty wifi (called wee-fee, here in France) is vexing. The hostess in our last air bnb texted and called me on the number that she had, but I very rarely turn on my phone for fear of overseas roaming charges. She told me about whatsapp, an app that lets you text with wifi. So, that helped communicate with her. I am using my iPad, rather than my computer and am finding that some of the programs are “slimmed down”, such as iMovie and iPhoto.
BUT, SERIOUSLY, technology is pretty awesome! I was able to download and watch few movies from Netflix, but I can’t watch any shows on xfinity/comcast. I was able to order a couple of books for the dear grandkids on Amazon prime and they were delivered in a couple of days in California. I logged into audible.com, which is an amazon company, and got my two monthly audio books. I can facetime with Jon and Heddy and skype with my folks in San Diego, pretty cool! I love being able to save the photos that Barry had taken to my iPad and the cloud to have that backup each time we are online. I love watching youtube videos of places that we are about to visit and LOVE making the videos of the places where we have been to post on there. I am constantly checking trip advisor and even Rick Steves for information on places to see and restaurants at which to eat. Google maps, when we do have wifi, helps us see the overview of our routes for our next drive and where the local drugstore is, since we ran out of toothpaste. The best technology is being able to travel with my family and friends online. So, Really….Tech, YES!