Sunday, August 9, 2009

France and Ireland

I had a really great time in Paris. It was nice to get away from the Texas heat and I got to see things like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Pompidou, Orsay, walk down the Champs Elysees and more! It was awesome, and pretty uneventful, besides me getting separated from the rest of my family a few times in the airports, which was kind of frightening (we went on a total of 6 flights).

Arc de Triomphe

After spending 5 nights in Paris, we flew to Dublin, Ireland to spend two nights there. It was quite a change of scenery from Paris, but nice nonetheless. When we got in, we found a taxi to drive us the 45 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. We could not believe how friendly the driver was, chatting with us and giving all sorts of tips about thins to do while we were there. He was quite funny, and was constantly making jokes. None of the cab drivers in Paris were nearly as friendly! My family wondered if all Irish people were so nice, and it seemed that they were!

One thing that I noticed in Dublin, was that in nearly every public building (airports, hotels, etc.), there was this handy little sign.

I guess Ireland is much more "hearing-accessible" than the US. Unfortunately, I tried multiple times and activated my T-coil whenever I saw the sign, to no avail. I couldn't hear any better, and I was only hearing through the mic part of the MT, nothing was coming through the telecoil. When we were talking to the lady at the front desk of our hotel, she showed me a little microphone that was sitting on the desk that is supposed to be what I hear when I turn on the T-coil. I tapped the microphone to see if the sound was coming through, and it wasn't. Oh, well. Maybe there is some sort of trick to it...

We were pretty exhausted from all of the sightseeing we did in Paris, so we settled on going on a bus that brought us around to all the sights, recommended by our oh-so-awesome taxi driver. When looking at the brochure, we saw that some of the buses had "text for the hearing-impaired." Might as well try it out!

We had to wait for a certain bus that had a screen with a transcript of what was said. The screen was on the indoor part of the bus (it also had an upstairs part without a roof), and you had to sit in a certain spot in order to see the screen. I was pretty grateful for it, since everyone else had to listen to it using earbuds that plugged into the bus. Half of them didn't work, and I'm pretty sure I would have trouble understanding a recorded voice with an Irish accent using earbuds.

The thing is, the bus was realllllly hot, and I'm one of those people who tends to get motion sickness while reading in a moving vehicle. Plus, it's really hard to look out the window and see something when you're also trying to read about it. So, after about 10 or so stops, I gave up, and went upstairs for some fresh air. The information was getting kind of boring anyway, so I didn't really mind!

We had to catch a flight the next morning to spend another night in Paris (it was some sort of special deal, that we had to go to Dublin and back to Paris and it made the whole thing cheaper, supposedly) and went in another taxi. This time the driver was in his own little world, and didn't really say much. We noticed how we didn't go on a highway this time, or pass nearly as much scenery. We got to the airport and he charged us 20 euros. That was when we realized the super-friendly taxi driver was not what he seemed to be at all. We had paid him 70 euros. We could not believe it! We had been ripped off! That incident made me lose some trust in people..

Overall, it was a great trip and I am so glad we went! There were a few times that I was frustrated that my French vocabulary wasn't bigger, and my entire family pretty much relied on my sister to be our interpreter. It was fun though!

1 comment:

  1. They have those signs all over the UK too. The trouble is that the loop is rarely set up properly, or even switched on. I used to make a fuss about it, but gave up in the end


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