Friday, April 10, 2009

International recognition dissing

Browsing the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs' website (as I do) I came upon this travel advice page for French citizens traveling in the United States. It mentions some things that are probably true: don't raise your voice or lie to the police, and a "monokini" is probably going to get you in hot water.

It also has a comically incomplete map of American cities and neighborhoods to avoid under "Sécurité." It has a brief description about Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, Houston, Saint Louis, Atlanta and Los Angeles, but no map. There are maps showing supposedly dangerous areas of New York, Washington, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami and... Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh!

We can argue about whether it's fair to classify the entire borough of the Bronx as unsafe to travel alone and I'm not sure I'd draw the line for "Quartier Nord-Est" in Washington exactly where they have it, but somebody must have been throwing darts at the map to decide to map those seven cities.

I'll leave it further to neighborhood partisans to assert that Hazel Wood [sic] is in fact safe to visit, even at night, but even my rudimentary French skills leave no doubt that "Sixième Pont" means "Sixth Bridge," not Sixth Street Bridge, as it actually is.

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