Saturday, May 17, 2008

Life in France...

It's been two weeks now since I've moved to INSEAD Fontainebleau, and it's been a 180 degree change from living in Singapore. Good part is the weather is nice, bad part is that nothing is nearly as efficient, and things are a lot more expensive.

My roommate and I nearly had our first disaster within the first week. We have a car that we're using from the student that we swapped apartments with. After class, we wanted to go back home, and I needed to email an assignment out at 7pm. Around 5:30pm, we go back to the car, and for some reason, the key doesn't even turn! Checked all the normal things, battery seemed OK, etc, so we decided to get some help. I was starting to panic, because it was close to 6pm, and I hadn't done my reading required for the assigment due at 7pm.

When we went for help - the secretary was not exactly helpful. She said she couldn't help us call the service line (we were looking for a French speaker), and referred us to some other staff. We went to the other staff, and she said it's not her responsibility either. Luckily, we found somebody else in another office that was much more willing to help. She calls up the service line, asks a bunch of questions, then the technician asked "did you turn the steering wheel?" - then she realizes that we made a simple mistake.

There's a steering wheel key lock!!! I've NEVER heard of this before. Granted, I have a French Citroen, so everything is kinda weird. With this lock, you have to turn the wheel and the key at the same time. I guess it's to prevent kids from starting the car, but it's wierd that it only disables the key sometimes - defeating the purpose of being a safety lock. Ever since that day, I"ve noticed it 'locking' the key only once. (We drive 2x per day). How frustrating - and a nice start to my time here.

Otherwise, it's been nice, each campus has its own student culture, and it's interesting to see the differences. We live in a little old village called Bourron-Marlotte, complete with small streets, gray-stone cottages, etc. It's kinda cute - very quiet, and reminds me of Wooster on the weekends. More photos to come later..

Photo of the Chateau de Fontainebleau via Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

How strange... My saab did this sort of key lock a couple of times. It took a lot of wheel wiggling to get it unlocked! What I was told is that the key locks when someone turns the wheel AFTER the car has been turned off. I wonder if that's what happened with your car, rather it being some kind of regular locking-unlocking mechanism...

I hope you managed to email the assignment on time :) I have to say I was trying to imagine you freaking out and couldn't!


Kent said...

Yeah - I've heard from others that this key lock is only after the wheel's been moved after the key is removed... must be a recent thing. My old honda didn't have it.

My assignment: well, I was lucky. With 1 hr left to go (for reading and analysis), i completed it at 6:55. After submitting, I checked my email and found out that the poll was extended until 8am the following day!