We Have the Car!

[This is Andrew posting an email we just got from Anand. Exciting times!]

I made it to France and got the car. I’m in a hotel somewhere spending the night now. The next challenge will be getting across the border. If being a pain in the arse were a video game, England would be the final boss.
For your reference, here’s what happened so far:
  1. Printed out maps to Sandra’s house. Forgot to note phone number
  2. Took bus to Luton & flew to Bordeaux
  3. Got to Bordeaux having to pee; walked straight into women’s bathroom, sat down remarking to self at how I didn’t know they don’t have any urinals in France. Heard unfamiliar sigh of relief from next stall. Reality of situation dawned. Waited for quiet then left at brisk trot.
  4. Pointed at Rauzan on map in attempt to communicate with helpful bus driver, who responded “403 a Targon, et apres… Puf!” Took bus to Targon.
  5. Bus driver of 403 took pity on me & made husband drive me 10km from Targon to Jugazan.
  6. Spoke to many craggy Basques in Jugazan. All eventually gave up and took me to the neighbor’s house.
  7. Eventually reached a nice woman who spoke Spanish. Her mother drove me 1km to Joinin.
  8. In Joinin, drove around the block looking for people who were home. By luck, stopped in front of Sandra’s house at dusk. Prevented from reaching door by aggressive dalmatian. Sandra’s daughter called off dalmatian.
  9. Sandra and husband came home, called family friend Romain, who spoke English, to translate.
  10. Family nicely guided me through the paperwork, offered me coffee, showed me all the car’s controls, fussed over the coolant, laughed about the rally plans, etc. Dark fell. Romain directed me onward: “Go left, then right right right to Libourne.”
  11. Turned left to find myself on a grassy tractor path in the middle of a vineyard. Followed it until it petered out in the forest. Turned around; halfway back to the house, encountered Sandra jogging after me. Received new, incomprehensible directions in French.
  12. Sandra’s husband accompanied me to highway. His parting directions were “Tout droit a Libourne.” This jibed with Romain’s instructions, “right right right.”
  13. Took first right; single-lane road eventually petered out in barnyard.
  14. Decided to reinterpret “right” and “droit” as “straight” and headed back to the highway.
  15. Reached Libourne; everything closed. Decided to follow yellow signs reading “Paris”, and various other things.
  16. Many roundabouts. Many signs indicating I am leaving or entering Libourne. Fuel ran low.
  17. Stopped at Hotel Etap somewhere; ate pizza. Nothing around.
That brings us up to date. Off to bed now.
Anand

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