We decided that today would be a fun day to pretend we are contestants on The Amazing Race. So last night, we parked our car in a garage that was about a six-minute walk from our flat. Dave left an Air Tag in the glove compartment so we would be able to quickly find the vehicle the next morning. This turned out to be a smart move after we discovered that the door we exited last night was nowhere near an entrance this morning. But due to the Dave’s foresight, we quickly found the car and headed toward the Paris-Orly airport. The time was 6:42 am. We were poised for a successful and timely arrival at our gate.
But. It turns out that GPS in France does not use traffic pattern data to predict your trip time. For future reference, you should always add 40-60 minutes onto your travel time when driving to your destination if, let’s say, you have an important appointment, or a plane to catch. As we neared the airport and traffic slowed down even more (we were now traveling at a brisk 22 km/hr), our GPS helpfully re-routed us, promising to shave 6 minutes off our time. However, the new route also took us away from any signs that would have pointed us directly toward the car rental return. So, Dave switched our destination from Orly Airport to Hertz Rental Car Return. This new route consisted of commands like “stay in the far right lane” followed immediately by “turn left now.” At one point, it directed us to a lane that required a badge to enter. Not surprisingly, we did not have a badge that worked and so I had to do a quick reverse and back the car down a ramp at high speed to avoid being hit by an oncoming bus. Fortunately, I have seen this done many times in the movies and I felt confident in executing the maneuver.
As we got closer to the actual terminal, the poor little GPS became confused and started sending its little location dot careening around the entire airport region. This led Dave to begin issuing commands like, “take a slight right here . . . no, wait, go up one more . . . crap, that’s a parking lot . . . ok, now it’s saying make a U-turn . . .”
At some point, due to pure luck, we passed a sign that said "Location de Voiture de Retour Automobile" which means "car rental return" in English. At that exact moment, "The Sign" by Ace of Base started playing on the radio. Ok, that part didn’t really happen, but it would’ve been awesome if it had.
The rest of the trip to the gate was uneventful except for the brief period of time when we thought we were in the wrong terminal with only about 15 minutes to boarding. In the end, our flight was delayed by about 35 minutes which gave us plenty of time to stand around waiting.