Monday, July 28, 2008

Round round get around, comment on get around

There are obvious things that are different about being in Paris vs. New York. For example, everyone is speaking French and the streets are paved with pastries (in a manner of speaking).

There are surprising differences that, perhaps, should not seem so surprising. The alphabet on a French computer keyboard is laid out differently from a US computer keyboard. The concierge at the hotel I was staying at asked me if he could try something on my laptop when I had trouble accessing the wireless internet. The whole time he kept asking me where the "M" key was. And I didn't understand why. Until I went to an internet cafe later in my trip and found myself asking the exact same question.

Yes, they have buses and we have buses.
Yes, they have cars and we have cars.
Yes, they have the metro and we have the subway.
Yes, they have bikes and we have bikes.

But. They also have the Velolib:


In Paris there are several bike stations at which you can rent a bike with a swipe of your card or a pass. You can ride the bike wherever you want around the city and simply deposit it at another bike station. Like the metro, you can either purchase a pass that allows you to use the bike whenever you want over a set period of days or you can pay as you go. And overall it seems to work. Somehow the bikes get distributed around town.

I very much wanted to try it unfortunately, the stations could not process my US credit card. Damn regional banking! Interestingly, every time I got tired and was not near a bus line or metro stop, there a velolib station would appear. So to my mind, they were excellently placed, at the very least.

They also have the minicar:


Which is indeed a mini car. I tried to get a poodle or a pug to sit still in the shot so that you could get a send of relative scale, but you know how hard it is to get those critters to sit still.

They also have this semi-covered scooter thingy:


I did not see any Pedicabs. But apparently there is a proposal to roll out electric car sharing, the Autolib. I can't wait to go back and see them and have my credit card rejected yet again!

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