25 March 2006


The theme of today's post is confusion!

Confusion #1 -Another bizarre sign

First things first -- the new contest. We spotted this sign on an entrance ramp to the highway that heads west out of Paris from La Défense. I am utterly clueless on what it is supposed to be advising drivers. I must figure it out, though -- this is the same road we'll be taking when we drive to Normandy with our parents (mine and Colin's, on different trips).

So, the contest is simple: write your own caption. As usual, I will value the funniest/most creative, but if you actually know what the sign means, I would really like to know! Post your entries in the comments section. Multiple entries allowed. Good luck, everyone!

Yesterday turned out to be more eventful than I originally expected. The plan was to eat lunch in the Latin Quarter, then head out to the cemetery in Neuilly to take a couple of pictures. Maggie and Rachel were good enough to join Colin and I for lunch, though unfortunately, we didn't do the greatest job picking a restaurant this time. I can't complain too much, though, since I got a main dish, dessert, and drink for 6 euros flat! I just wish the food had been more memorable. What *was* memorable, however, was our conversation. Hence...

Confusion #2: What are we really saying?

During lunch, we were talking about our recent experiences with the French language (successes, failures, helpful tips, etc), which is always good for a laugh. Maggie lamented that most of her conversations are more of a guessing game than anything else. For example, while asking for help in finding butcher-block oil, "I have a piece of wood in my kitchen. I cut things on it. The piece of wood is dry. I need some liquid to make it wet again." Ah, how many times have I played that game with salesclerks around Paris? The most memorable for me was the first time I went looking for dental floss, unknowingly using the Quebeçois translation of "soie dentaire" that I learned from a pack of floss that I had in Michigan. Of course, when the salesclerk corrected me (fils dentaire), I couldn't figure out why anyone needed to buy a dental son. It took a while to figure that one out...

Maggie's worry right now is that she is misunderstood when she thanks someone for their time and help. Why worry about this? Well, the word for ass is cul, so she thinks that when she says merci beaucoup, she thinks that the other person might be hearing merci beau-cul instead. (Thank you, nice ass!) In a way, I suppose it's a compliment: "Thanks for your help, and by the way, you have a nice ass." Maggie parted company with us after lunch (and a hearty exchange of "nice ass"), and the remaining three of us went on a hunt for the cemetery in Neuilly. Here it comes:

Confusion #3: Ceme-where?-ies

To make a long story short, there are two Neuilly cemeteries - an old one and a new one - and we went to the wrong one for who I needed! To make matters worse, we couldn't figure out how to get into the wrong one, so we ended up wandering around the edges for a good 20 minutes, culminating in walking along the side of a busy, dirty highway entrance ramp. (On the bright side, this adventure provided the fodder for the new contest.)

Thanks to a phone call from the folks at the new cemetery, we found ourselves in the conservation of the old Neuilly cemetery with a very helpful manager. Unlike the other cemeteries I've visited, neither Neuilly cemetery has a printed map or a list of celebrities that tourists can use. So, the very kind people who work there had to look up all six of my names in a computer. Even better, the head conservateur at the old Neuilly cemetery gave us a walking tour and pointed out many celebrities! As it turns out, he's writing a history on his teeny little cemetery, and is very curious to learn more about its "residents" from researchers who are visiting. He was so thoughtful and helpful, and the cemetery itself was really neat. It's very small, but well landscaped and very interesting. Thankfully, Colin was able to interpret when Rachel and I couldn't understand, so we got a good French history lesson.

The one drawback to this cemetery confusion is that there are no less than 5 entries for the same cemetery on the Find A Grave website! So, I'm holding off on posting new entries until the administrators can clean up the duplicate entries. And finally...

Confusion #4: DST, sort-of

We just learned that Daylight Savings Time starts tomorrow in all European Union countries. It does not, however, start in the US until April 2 (one week later). Geez, as if I had enough trouble remembering what time it was "back home" before now!

With that, I think I'll go watch a book or read a movie.


At 26/3/06 00:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sign REALLY means:

Closed To Vehicles Transporting Flammable Materials

In the US, however, it could indicate the correct location for Road Rage.


At 26/3/06 21:14, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about:

Caution - Mongolian Barbeque ahead!

SD Mom

At 28/3/06 23:40, Blogger Scott P. Shields said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 28/3/06 23:43, Blogger Scott P. Shields said...

Citing concern for motorist safety, the D.O.T. posted signs prohibiting the use of giant, flaming marijuana leaves as hood ornaments.

At 30/3/06 22:34, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely that sign marks the special lane--on the opposite side of the road from the car-pool lane--that is intended for cars that have spontaneous combustion engines.

At 30/3/06 23:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Je suppose qu'il faut se tenir èloignè pour ne pas rentrer dans ce camion qui, en effet transporte des produits inflammables...

SD mom

At 31/3/06 05:47, Blogger intercept774 said...

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At 31/3/06 05:52, Blogger intercept774 said...

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