Friday, December 29, 2017
Our car is old, 17 years. It is green which means I can always find it among all the gray, black and white cars. I love the color. It also means other people can find it easily.
In Argelès with its tiny streets we park in public lots.
Imagine our annoyance to find the driver's window smashed. They stole two neck cushions, a blanket and some change. Also our carte grise, French for registration.
Until recently to get a new carte grise, one went to the mairie (town hall). A clerk would fill out the necessary papers in minutes.
Now it has been centralized. There is an on-line form. Three computer literate people could not make the site work for about four hours.
Back to the mairie. This time I took a friend, a mother tongue Francophone for comprehension security. The clerk said I needed to go to one of the garagistes.
The garagiste was one of the places that buys cars. The man who said he would help us was in his mid twenties, cute with a warm, warm smile. And try he did until he gave up and called his boss, who had the day off. The good man came in.
Although I understood what they were saying, I didn't understand the technical terms. My Francophone friend was also confused at some points.
It took the two men almost two hours to get our request for the carte grise registered. They also had extra sites they could go to that weren't available to the general public.
Voilà!!! It finally worked. Sighs of relief echoed through the small office from all four people.
The garagiste said it would take about a month to get the official form.
The cost was 40 Euros.
We aren't alone. Seems our village, other villages and even Perpignan are under siege of some type of gang that spend their evenings smashing car windows. Most won't involve replacing carte grises because most people do not keep them in their cars. We won't either in the future.
The problem with new system of getting originals and copies of carte grises, however is major. A newspaper article said that the system was backed up by at least 100,000 requests.
Our little village doesn't want to post cameras. They don't seem to want to stake out where the window smashers work almost every night.
I adore living in France and I realize that this is a cross cultural problem so a couple of head bangs against a wall, I go get some vin chaud, cheese and freshly baked bread and think of all the good things I love about being here.
My husband has a dueling blog.
Posted by DL NELSON at 5:11 AM