Driving Licence

Mine is a fairly strange case.  I was born in England so I have a European passport.  But I grew up in Australia. So all of my papers are Australian.  This seems to cause a whole lot of confusion. Take, for example, the case of my driving licence.  I found some seriously conflicting information about how you convert an Aussie licence to a French one and realised that a trip to the prefecture was on the cards.

Once there, I hand my papers through the slot, thinking that this all seems a bit easy! Well, it wasn’t long before the bubble burst! I was politely informed that my papers couldn’t possibly be taken – I had filled in the form in blue pen, not black!  And I wasn’t even in the right place…  All things concerning driver’s licences are dealt with in St Paul.   I took another application, reminding myself to fill this one out with a black pen, and headed back to St Paul… only to be told that all things concerning driver’s licences are dealt with at the prefecture in St Denis!!  AAAhhhhh!

Back in St Denis and I’m determined to get this sorted out! I hand over my papers and, upon seeing my Australian licence, the lady asks me for my visa. This is where it gets interesting! I explain I don’t have a visa as I am English by birth and have a European passport. « Where is your British driver’s licence? » she asks.  I explain that I left the UK when I was 11, so I don’t have a British licence… « But, why not? » she asks… Uuummm, 11 year olds in the UK don’t get driver’s licences!!  She seems to think this is quite strange, but finally accepts it!

20 minutes later and she suddenly « realises » that this is all pointless and says that I don’t need to change my licence at all!! It’s fine for me to use my Australian one.  Unbelievable!! So all seems well.

That is until I was pulled over by the cops for a random check. The prefecture was right… I can use my Aussie licence… But only for 6 months!! So now I have to head back to St Denis to start the whole process from scratch!!

Vocabulary

to grow up = grandir
to seem = sembler
conflicting = contradictoire
Aussie = Australien
a trip = un trajet

on the cards = inévitable
slot = la fente
to burst = éclater
politely = poliment
to fill in = remplir

to deal with = traiter
to sort out = résoudre
to hand over = donner
birth = naissance
strange = bizarre

pointless = inutile
to be pulled over = se faire arrêter
cops = les flics
to head back = retourner
from scratch = de zéro

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Wedding Bells in Reunion

Having been a photographer and photographing a lot of weddings, I always knew that organising a wedding is a big task.  Well, when you get married in a foreign country, the number of things to get ready goes through the roof!

There’s all the normal stuff – booking a place for the reception, deciding on the menu, hiring a photographer, getting the suit…. And then there’s the paperwork! After visiting the Town Hall in St Paul to book the date, my wife and I very quickly realised that getting all the papers for the Town Hall would be no small task.  We received a list of the required documents and it was clear we had a lot of work to do.

There were documents that we’d never even heard of! And some that only exist in France! For two of them I had to get a letter from the British embassy explaining that they didn’t exist in England!

After a lot of long-winded overseas phone calls, we reckoned we were on the right track to getting all the things we needed.  But it wasn’t over yet! A month later the papers arrived, but to our dismay, they had got wet somewhere between England and Reunion!!  They weren’t destroyed but we were pretty anxious about whether the Town Hall would accept them with watermarks.  It was a nervous week waiting to hear from the Town Hall for the OK, but finally we heard, with great relief, that everything was fine and we could go ahead and get married.

By Reunion standards, our wedding wasn’t a huge one.  We had 80 guests on the day, but over 50 of them had come from either Mainland France, England or Australia.. So on top of organising our wedding day, we had a lot of people to accommodate.  A few of the English and Australians hadn’t even heard of Reunion, and before they booked their tickets, had to look it up just to see where it is!!

You can’t come to Reunion just for a wedding! There is so much on offer here and we wanted all our friends and family to make the most of their trip and see the real Reunion.  We took them hiking in Mafate, scuba diving at Cap la Houssaye, canyoning in Trou Blanc, paragliding in St Leu and they all got to taste a real rougaill saucisse and sample the local rum!

Vocabulary

wedding = mariage
suit = costume
Town Hall = Mairie
to book = réserver
quickly =  rapidement

embassy = ambassade
long-winded = interminable
to reckon = estimer
on the right track  = sur la bonne voie
dismay = consternation

wet = mouillé
watermarks = tâches d’eau
to go ahead  = avancer
huge = immense
to accommodate = loger

to look something up = rechercher qqch
to make the most of = profiter au maximum
hiking = randonnée
paragliding = parapente
to sample = goûter

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