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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The British are Coming! or: Cars, Cars, Cars

Actually, they're already here. The British, I mean. Our dear friends Klauser and Sue hopped on the train yesterday in London and arrived in Gent in a raging downpour.

They're now sleeping in our cozy little living room on air mattresses. Air mattresses! Can you tell Sue was once a Girl Guide? We are trying to make it worth their while by dragging them all over the country and feeding them until they explode.

But the cars! you exclaim. What do you mean by the cars?

Car 1: The bills for the parking ticket and towing of the car we rented back in February have arrived. They're in Dutch. There are long forms and letters. All in Dutch. Sadly, even in a foreign country, ignorance of the law seems to be no excuse.

Car 2: The Croatian car rental company has decided to charge us many, many hundreds of dollars for the scratch we may or may not have put on their car. There are long forms and letters. All in Croatian. Ignorance of the law may be an excuse, but I can't tell because it's in Croatian.

Car 3: Part of a tree has fallen on our Honda in Wassaic. Thanks to the swift and helpful intervention of neighbors Nick and Laurie and Joe and Janet, the smashed windshield was quickly replaced. No laws were broken, as far as I can tell.

Car 4: Today we picked up our rental car for Klauser and Sue's visit, a lovely little Opel. Imagine our surprise when, after a hair-raising drive through Gent (lost a good part of the time) after sightseeing, and a restorative beer at the Dulle Griet, where Sue had to give up her shoe in return for a beer, we could not unlock the car doors. Quite a bit of time passed while we pondered why the key wouldn't even fit in the door.

We were resigned to taking a taxi back to the apartment and calling the rental car people in the morning when Sue -- intrepid Sue! -- asked why the name of the car on the key was different from the name of the car on the car.

Yes, dear reader, Phil had picked up a set of keys in the rental car office that were not his own. He had two sets in his pocket, one set to our car and one to another car entirely. Presumably, the renter of the other car was not happy. It was well after five, so we drove by the rental car office and dropped off the unnecessary keys, with a humble note of apology, and went home to a very large meal with additional beers to make up for the stress of being unable to open the car doors. (There's ignorance, and then there's...well.)

Tomorrow we're off either to Wallonia to visit the Herge Museum (think TinTin) and various historic sites or to the Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands to visit tulips. Weather will decide. Whether will also be involved -- whether we can get into the car, whether we scratch it, whether it is towed, whether a tree falls on it. Think positive thoughts.


  1. A classic Bobu story. Love to Klauser and Sue.

  2. Wishing the best car karma possible. donna