Wednesday, June 24, 2009

roads in the South of France


Beziers after the wind storm, originally uploaded by Paul Grand.

When I first arrived in France back in 2000, I asked a French friend about speeding on the toll roads, if they were monitored for speeding?
He said; "No, ze French would never stand for zis", going on to quote; "liberty, fraternity and equality."
Just a year or so later, after the most horrific death toll in the whole of Europe, the cameras arrived. So much for my French friends belief in 'Liberty, fraternity etc..

The French around here, near the border with Spain, often blame the tourists or Spanish truck drivers arriving on French roads already drunk.
But if this were the case, why do I see so many French cars on their backs, smashed into trees, driven into fields etc, every Saturday morning?
They do seem to go just a little bit crazy on a Friday night..

The national mobile police often set up speed traps at the edges of Vineyards, hiding their motorbikes behind vines etc.
Friendly passing motorists despise this practice, and will often flash a warning to oncoming cars of a speed trap ahead.
The correct etiquette is to acknowledge thanks by giving a quick wave, but never let the cops see you flash, as it's illegal.

Recently, cops have started surveillance in cities, following the UK model on a tiny scale by just using the odd camera for a short while.
The other day, after countless night time arson attacks on big council Wheeler bins, the police put cameras on a square, thinking they might capture some hoodies,
but were surprised to find another strange crime.
A mother with a pram and couple of kids were seen near cars, the cops thought they had dropped something, but no, it turned out they were tampering with the parked vehicles.
The police gave chase and found instead of a baby snuggled under fluffy blankets, a several gallon container filled with freshly siphoned petrol...

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