When you travel out of your home country, one of the most challenging tasks is deciphering signs, and some of them are important, like the sign at the cemetery advising when to leave to avoid being locked in overnight. Seriously. Good to know.
And this one:
Don’t touch this. Got it.
And this one:
Even without knowing French, you’d understand this sign if you saw this on the other side of the fence:
He did NOT like having his picture taken.
Some signs are easy to understand:
I bought un nouveau chapeau in this shop, since we’re spending so much time out in the sun. (And because it’s super stylish, let’s be honest.)
Some signs are sort of inspiring, in a vague, literary way:
“Street of the Brave . . . er. . . Certain-Style-of-French-Poetry”?
Some are just slightly beyond my level of French:
I think this means: “Fashion worn by dogs and cats” but I’m not sure about the à portée de part. Glancing in the door, there seem to be lots of posh pet things, but since I have neither dog nor cat, it’s not really something I absolutely need to know.
Some are cheerful:
It doesn’t really explain what kind of food is offered, but at least they seem to be in a good mood. (It says, “The sun shines for everyone Restaurant”)
Some make you go, “Huh?”
So if you stand here . . . what? . . . you’ll make friends?
How about this one? This means pedestrians yield to traffic, right?
But whenever we wait, the cars all stop (well almost all), just barely in time, it’s true, but they stop, and the drivers tend to look a bit irritated that we’re not halfway across already. But there are just enough cars that don’t stop to make us believe the yield sign is actually for us. Wouldn’t that be REALLY good to know?
Some are completely incomprehensible. Even my French tutor doesn’t know what this one means:
Is it saying: “No cars, no bikes, no pedestrians and all you lawbreakers who are going to come this way anyway, go 20 km/hr”? That can’t be it. The road has to be for someone, and lots of us use it all the time. But today I noticed this exact sign, but without the red stripe a block earlier, so now I have a new theory. The first sign with no stripe is saying, “I don’t care if you’re a car, a bike, or a person. Don’t go over 20 km/hr because you’re all sharing this tiny street.”
At the end of the block, with the red-striped sign, I’m going to go with, “All bets are off. Go as fast as you can.” Based on how these little cars scream around bends, I think I’ve got it.
Onward and upward. Here’s to greater understanding wherever you are!