Monday, 29 August 2011

Day 9, in which the British really shouldn't

Today we took charge, as promised, and we took les enfants canoeing along the Dordogne.  We'd found a place that bussed us 14 km up river and gave us until 7pm to find our way back to the car.  We figured the 11:30 departure should give us plenty of time.

We hadn't figured on two children that can't manage a canoe paddle to save their respective lives.  Gah!  Two canoes may not have been the smartest choice and next time Dave and I are sharing a canoe and the kids can make their own way.

I jest, sort of, although it did take us until 5pm and we were the last of our group to make it.  I guess that means there might have been people who didn't make it, but who am I kidding?

Canoeing is a fabulous, relaxing way to see the country, and the views from the river were outstanding, not to mention the non-stop sunshine.

The only fly in the canoeing ointment, apart from the delightful damselflies that accompanied us, was an international incident.

There is a lot of macho bravado on the river.  There are men who "own" the paddle and who are "in charge" of the canoe ensuring their ladies are safe and reach their destination unharmed, there is the horseplay of young men tipping canoes over and generally larking around, and there is the football hooligan who is seemingly lost.

We came across a few canoes exchanging insults.  Effectively there were canoes containing British hooligans who were goading a group of French young men.  There were insults flying in French and English and the English guys were timing their insults such that they thought they could paddle their way out of danger if necessary.  I know this because I heard them discussing their escape strategy.

It escalated to the point when one English lad shouted up river to the French group "Come and 'av a go if you think you're 'ard enough!"

The French decided the English boys, with their all too obvious insecurities, weren't worth the trip.

I was embarrassed for our nation.

1 comment:

Usti said...

It's not just young male Brits either. When I lived in Spain, I was in the local cathedral when I heard a commotion. Despite 'no photos' signs in a side chapel, this older British lady was taking photos of a ceremony. The verger (or equivalent) had seen her and was asking her to stop, but she kept snapping away before walking away sniggering.

So she didn't understand stand English nor he English, but she knew damned well what she was doing. She pissed off the verger and pissed on local custom for the sake of a couple of photos she'll hardly look at again. Pure ignorance and no bloody respect.