Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ipad & Le Flash

I took my sister and favorite bro-in-law Martin to the LAX today; they are going to visit our ancestral villages in axis of France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Martin speaks very good French, and is our family genealogist, so this is an ideal trip for him.

Last week, my sister decided she had to have an Ipad for the trip. On the Ipad, she reasoned, she could save trip photos, view road maps, watch videos, and read books and Vanity Fair on the airplane. All in 1.5 lbs and .5 inches. Go almost paperless. Sound too good to be true?

Yep. I went to the Apple Store for her, and told the greeter at the door that I wanted an Ipad. He might as well have laughed at me; he asked me if I was "on the list." There is a 10 day wait for an Ipad. The store was so packed out, you'd think they were giving electronics away. I ended up finding her one on, and left my name on the wait list at the Store. On further investigation, the adapter to download photos has a 6+ week wait. Vanity Fair is not available on the Ipad yet and when it is, it will be more expensive than on the newsstand. The road maps will not be available for my sister in that region of France because she will not have internet access outside her hotel.

I had hoped to be able to blog and save photos on my September trip to Beaune, but with a compatibility issue with Blogger, I am shelving the Ipad for now. Not ready to be an early adopter; I'll get by with my cumbersome yet functional laptop.

I sent Martin off with my 2009 medium-sized Michelin road map; I would not travel anywhere in France without one; it's a spiral-ringed book with detailed map pages of every corner of France; I buy one at CDG on each arrival, but you can find all of the same detail plus more at ViaMichelin HERE.

Besides the peage or toll roads, one of the big differences for France is the radar speed traps. They started to appear a few years ago and now they are all over Europe, not just France. In France, these automatic controles take your license plate photo with a bright camera flash; for this reason, in France they are known as "Le Flash." There is a Radar logo sign on the road that warns you a kilometer or so ahead, and the new Michelin maps also have the location of each Flash indicated; I made sure to explain to Martin.

In Paris on the peripherique, everyone used to zip around; frequently careening around after lunch; now no more; you get a fine and points on your license with each offense; no wonder there is a backlash against it:
and here too; only the French would do this~

how about a little controle brulee, just add a tire:
You will often see the Gendarme on the side of the road with radar goggles; it is far too expensive to have the manpower out on the road as we do here; too much petrol, too little density:
As far as I know, Le Flash has not been extended to rental cars; for this reason I have some times blown through le Flash; but I warned Martin of it; you can not speed around France today; one day soon they will catch up to the rental cars too!

Would this be a good idea here? We have the same devices as some intersections, but not on the freeways. Every day I see dangerous speeds, but I also resist the Big Sis/Big Brother idea.

What do you think, of the Ipad et Le Flash?


  1. We have them in AZ and I ABORE them. Awful. Awful.

    There has been so much negativity that they will be pulled out of service at the end of July.

    One man racked up 100 tickets all while wearing a monkey mask. Hee Hee.

  2. They do something similar in England, too. My relatives have to deal with it! But in general, it is a good thing, after all.