Monday, November 08, 2010


Monday night (wow, has it been a week already?), after we got home and dragged our bags up to the apartment, we attempted to drive to the store to get milk and stuff.  The car was dead.  Our neighbor who had agreed to start it at least once a week, forgot to do it.  Tuesday I called for the Smart roadside assistance.  Because it has only been a little over a year, it's covered by warranty and it cost me nothing.  The guy came and got it started, after I showed him where the battery was located.  Forget normal cars.  In the Smart Car, the battery is under the carpet on the passenger's side of the car. Talk about a pain in the butt.  There are so many things to love about the Smart that you've got to shake your head in wonder at how they could have ever come up with such a stupid idea.  I drove it for about an hour and a half, but as soon as I turned it off, it was totally dead.

Wednesday, I called roadside service again, and they came with a tow truck, got the car and took it to the dealer who put in a new battery.  All at no cost.  However, they did rip us off big time for an oil change and rotation of the tires.  I couldn't believe they charged us $35 for one (count it - ONE) quart of oil. The total bill, which did not include the towing or the battery, was over a hundred dollars.  I'll never change the oil there again.  But in Florida, as in most of the US, you must have a car.  As much as I love riding the trams and buses and métros in Europe, I really miss being able to get into my car at my convenience to go, or return from, wherever I want.

It seems so strange to be back to our normal life.  One of the things which takes a lot of re-adjustment for us, is the never ending number of commercials on American televison shows.  This was driven home when I attempted to watch a football game on Sunday (an hour early because we hadn't set the clocks back).  Thankfully, we don't watch that much TV, but it's so annoying for those few times we do.  You would think American businesses would have figured out by now, that almost no one actually sits there glued to their TV screen during their (usually) obnoxious advertisements.  It just seems like a hell of a waste of time and money to me, or do they really gain or lose sales this way?

Hasta la próxima, amigos. 


Megan said...

You have a smart car? How cute. Anyway, hope the battery works okay now. And sometimes I miss the relative easiness of driving in the US! Big roads, lots of parking, etc.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Glad you got home fine. Must be warm there. Thanks for all the entertainment you provided on the blog during the trip. I enjoyed the stories and the pictures. Ken

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

So glad that you are back with us, but I really enjoyed your stories. I leave in less than three weeks. Any "must do" items I might have missed?


Jacob said...

Hi Bob...glad you made it home OK...didn't know you had a Smart car...we've got a few here in Ocala.

Our daughter has a Dish system for TV and it allows her to swiftly dispense with the commercials...pretty neat.

If you have to watch TV, of course. It's so bad we usually end up watching the Weather Channel or HGTV.