Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Riddle for the day: What does a Swiss man notice in Paris?


What does a Swiss man notice in Paris, the most beautiful city in the world? If you answered a) one of the famous monuments, b) romantic restaurants or c) seductive Parisian women, you haven't met my husband. Come to think of it, while I've occasionally noticed Stéphane's eyes following an attractive female long after she has disappeared in the distance, he's always smart enough to fervently deny it. So, even though c) could potentially be the correct answer, it's not.

Last Saturday night, while walking home with some friends from Bistro 31, one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, I overheard Stéphane say that he wanted to show them something. Intrigued as to what it could be it, I was surprised when we stopped in front of the Volvo dealer and he pointed his finger at the Volvo V60 in the window. Can you guess what caught his eye? Although the answer is fairly obvious if you're Swiss, you may want to click on the photo to enlarge it if you're not. And, no, the answer isn't simply "the skis" (they're Rossignol and not Stöckli, anyway!). That would be too easy.

Personally, I think that Stéphane's just upset that he hasn't been skiing this year. It's really hard for a Swiss guy to live in a place that doesn't have mountains and easy access to the slopes. Plus, there's always a bit of one-upmanship between the Parisians and the Swiss French, where the Parisians usually have the upper hand.

Answer: Just as a Parisian man would notice if the Mona Lisa was hanging upside down in the Louvre, Stephane saw that the tips of the skis were pointing towards the front of the car rather than the back. Thinking that aerodynamics may not play such an important role with more modern ski racks, I did a google search and found that it's still the recommended way to transport your skis. Needless to say, the incorrect placement gave Stéphane a good chuckle because the city slickers at Volvo don't know how to load skis. To make matters worse, I'm fairly sure that the Volvo salesmen thought that I was interested in purchasing a V60 when I asked if I could take photos of it for my husband. 

My apologies if my comment that "the answer isn't simply 'the skis'" was confusing. I was trying to give you a bit of a hint by using the word, "simply" but was told by my daughter that I actually made it more difficult. I'm sorry!


11 comments:

  1. Although I'm not a car guy, I like the profile of this car. And I love the chains on the tires. Besides skiing, is the accent the biggest bone of contention between the Swiss and the French? How is Stephane's accent perceived? (I won't question yours as you're American.)

    I remember flying over the Italian mountains once in winter and couldn't believe how gorgeous they were covered in snow. I've never visited the mountains in winter, but feel I should one day. One day.

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    1. Since we currently drive a Volvo, I'm happy that they aren't as boxy as they used to be. The profiles have definitely improved.

      As far as Stephane's Swiss accent, I've been told by his French colleagues that he doesn't have one. The problem arises (or the teasing starts!) when he uses Swiss expressions that aren't used in France. He told me that he confused everyone during a recent meeting when he said that they should "tire les puces" (pull the thumbs), instead of saying "cross our fingers". I've gotta say that I'm with the French on this one!

      Spectacular - that's the only word that I can use to describe the mountains in winter. That and awe-inspiring. And I'm not even a mountain person.

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  2. Bonjour
    Being a car guy, I noticed that this is a front wheel drive car which is not ideal to have as a car that you would want to use to travel in the mountains; so they are displaying chains to compensate. This is definitely a "city" car!
    This is so much like a Paris fashion window that has a display of a really nice coat and then gets decorated with a scarf (-:

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    1. Bonjour, Conrad,

      You were on the right track but my comment about the answer not being "simply the skis" was too confusing. My apologies.

      Is there a "right" way to transport skis on a ski rack in Canada?

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    2. And just to let you know, I haven't forgotten about making a return visit to the area around St. Eustache and having a hamburger at Drole d'endroit pour une rencontre. I just haven't gotten over there yet.

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    3. Bonjour MK
      After I posted I did think about the skis facing the wrong way. )-: Lately there are very few ski racks on cars; it seems everyone has gone to the roof boxes made by Thule

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    4. Yes, Thule roof boxes are prevalent here as well.

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  3. I'd never have guessed that. I was thinking it was something to do with the snow chains. Thanks for that snippet of advice. If we ever get into ski-ing then I'll know how to transport them around without looking uncool!
    Do you miss your ski-ing?

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    1. I miss the mountains but I don't miss skiing. Stephane misses it enough for both of us! I do miss snowshoeing though.

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  4. Maybe the skis pointing to the front means you're on your way; pointing to the back, means you're returning home. I like that.

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  5. I like that idea, too! It would be like a secret signal amongst skiers - kind of like when motorcycle riders acknowledge each other. :)

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