It hit me on the shuttle bus while making my way back to the port that I had been looking at the traffic in Noumea all wrong. Admittedly it takes twice as long to get back to the ship as it does to drive out of the working port to town due to the one way system of roads but still, this is not something that I should have missed the last time I was here.
Ok, so I was enjoying the fact that it was back to the European driving rules (side of road, international signs and all of that) which meant that I was automatic on checking for traffic in the absence of one-way systems and I knew which way to look for trouble but still. This parking thing should have been noticed.
You are all aware of the standard parking lot – pull in, pull out, send the people around you scrambling to get out of the way or to grab your slot before the next car. Of course there are parking meters all over the place – also no surprise. Hardly a city or town in the world who doesn’t appreciate a bit of revenue donated to the city coffers in exchange for occupying the curb.
[picture to follow – no breath holding please]
and you are all familiar with the standard parallel parking complete with challenges and hazards. Perhaps decreased in the case of one way streets. Park along the curb – (or kerb). Left side, right side – only varies with driving rules of the country in terms of how closely packed, how wide the spaces or how much life and limb you risk in the process. Especially in the case of the driver having to exit the car into traffic.
[yea, another picture to follow.
But here they were – angled parking spots. Now I am sure that you are not terribly surprised to know that the French have discovered angled parking. It is not all that difficult a concept. The car sits at an angle to the sidewalk. Where the length of the cars does mean that there is more width taken out of the road offset by the fact that you can pack in more cars for the length of the block.
But there was something not all that subtly wrong about what I was seeing. Then it struck when I saw someone pull out and the next car back into the slot. All the cars were facing out into traffic rather than toward the curb. All were backed in and the angle ran in the forward direction.
[yet another delayed photo…
Where I come from, it is called combat parking. Back in so that you can take off at a moments notice. I am not sure what the danger is in this particular town, but it is the only place that I have seen it. Or perhaps the French have a secret that I don’t know. In any case, it should make things much easier for the robber with a get away car……