First, I have to explode a stereotype. We have been to France
three times in
the past two years. We have NEVER encountered a rude
take that back. We have encountered lots of rude people, all of
American. Every other person we have run across in France was
and courteous. We noticed, however, that other Americans seemed
ask to be treated rudely.
Regardless of the situation, the French always begin a conversation with a pleasantry, a simple greeting. Whether you are asking for directions, making a purchase, addressing the President or paying to use the bathroom, each conversation starts with "bonjour" or something similar. Most Americans, however, seem to walk right up and ask a question, no pleasantries. That must be jarring to a polite person. If you treat them politely, they treat you politely right back. We tried to speak to every person in French. Our attempts were laughable, but each person we tried to speak to went the extra mile to help us out.
Next, bus tours have their plusses and minuses. We have been on a
few bus tours. The trip to Normandy was a one-day tour,
booked through a tour company based in Paris. If the bus is not
full, it can be comfortable.
If full, it can be miserable. Bus tours, especially short ones, can be
scouting missions. A disadvantage, you do not get to choose where
go. We got to stop at Omaha Beach, but not Utah, Gold, Sword or
Also, we drove around the town of Bayeaux, but did not get to go to the
museum, home of the famous Bayeaux Tapestry. Another point, you
meet some great people on a bus tour, if you are lucky. Of
you can meet some real creeps, too. But after the tour you never
to see them again.
Third, people are nuts. Plain and simple. You think you have seen the maximum nut factor, then someone else shows up and says "That's nothing!" Case in point: As we were coming back to Paris from the Normandy tour, we learned that Turkey had won a World Cup Soccer game. We learned this by seeing the following scene:
The red you see are Turkish Flags. These turks were obviously happy that their team had won the game. Lets look a bit closer:
These cars were going down the freeway at 60 miles per hour.
As I said, when you
think you have seen maximum nut factor, somebody will prove you wrong...