99 - Carless in Reunion - Vocabulary

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Drivingthrough St Paul at seven am, or better yet, driving to St Denis when the coastalroad is closed and you are forced to take the winding road throughLa Montagne. I think these are the moments that make any resident of Reunionwish that they were home in bed, or riding a bike, or doing anything but drivingin their car. In 2014 there were an estimated 336,000 cars on the island;that’s almost one car for every two inhabitants (and many of those inhabitants are not even of legal drivingage.) That’s a lot of cars, and now, a few years later, I can only assumethat there are even more!

Since arriving on the island almost four years ago, my partner and Iare on our fourth car.  We soldthe first one, broke the second one, the third one is still going strong, thankgoodness, and I bought the fourth one just last week. After breaking thesecond car I decided to go without a car, I let my partner take the third carto work each day, and I stayed home. I was the literal definition of a stay-at-homemum. After spending seven months of being trapped in the hillsof St Leu with an infant, I gave in and I bought a car.

If I stilllived in Japan, going carless would be simple, hop on a bike, metro, train, orwalk. But in Reunion living carless means riding a bike up huge hills (bythe way, I live five hundred metres above sea level), walking on the road,since sidewalks are almost non-existent, or waiting forever for a minibus with seven seats and sporadic hours. Not that I am criticising thebus system, actually I’m impressed at some of the roads that they ventureonto. I was just not ready to wait in the sun and hop on a bus with my diaperbag, stroller, beach gear and new-born in arm. I chose to buyan inflatable pool and stay at home instead. But now that the poolturned green and my son is almost walking I decided that I needed to get out ofthe house. So, car number four is in the driveway.

 

Sitting intraffic on my way to St Paul last week didn’t feel so bad, even if thenew car is making weird clunking noises, it’s all a part of the game. Ihave accepted the fact that in Reunion a car is almost a necessity. Unless ofcourse you live along the coast, close to everything, but then you have othernecessities... Like air conditioning. 

Vocabulary

 

coastal - littoral
winding - sinueux
to assume - supposer
partner - compagnon, compagne
thank goodness - heureusement 

stay-at-home mum - mère au foyer
trapped - bloqué
in the hills - dans les hauts
infant - nourrisson
to give in- craquer 

by the way - à propos
sidewalk - trottoir
to criticise - critiquer
venture - se risquer
diaper bag - sac à langer 

stroller - poussette
newborn - nouveau-né
inflatable pool - piscine gonflable
driveway - parking
traffic - bouchon 

clunking - bruit sourd
air conditioning - climatisation

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