So when my host mom was driving me home from the train station I told of my issues with getting lost- citing my adventure in Paris as an example. She decided, for my benefit to go through the University campus and drive me home the way I have to walk, making a point of informing how there was only two turns to get to the road. At the time it seemed really easy and I thought I had it… obviously I did not.
I failed to take into account several things. First, I’m nervous in cars- especially with strangers…apparently more so with French drivers. I was reminded of driving in Malaysia where I had to shut my eyes more than once because of the driving habits. I did not remember one landmark from the drive with Flo. Not one. The second thing I didn’t take into account, mostly because I didn’t know, was that street signs are rare and when they do exist aren’t noticeable in Pau. In Paris I relied on them constantly. In Pau, not even my map was particularly helpful. I can’t tell my way by cardinal directions (my parents gave up on that lesson years a go), so I do street signs…or more reliable landmarks. This system only works if you remember them though or can see signs..
So, for the second time this trip I got lost. For about an hour. I knew I wasn’t far off, so I started doing a radius pattern using the University as my center. I would go out one exit, walk for a few blocks until I knew I had gone too far and then go back and find the next exit. This wouldn’t have been so nerve racking if I hadn’t been running a fever (lovely summer colds right?) and carrying my groceries. [I still have bruises on my shoulder from my bag…I bought a big jar of orange juice along with other items.] Eventually, some friends- whom I love and adore- saw me from their dorm room and called to me. They invited me up for dinner and to relax. Then, they took a look at my map and figured out how I needed to go. After dinner I was escorted home…where I found my worried host mom who was scared something had happened to me (she figured I had gotten lost). I now owe said friends some wine (that was their stated payment 😛 ) and Flo drew a dotted path on my map so that I was sure not to get lost again…complete with a circle where our house is. 🙂
I’ve decided that for directionally challenged people phones are a must. Yes, I caved and I’ve purchased a phone because of this event. Its strictly for when I get lost though, so my initial reasons for leaving one behind are not being forgotten. (written June 30th)