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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Thursday, October 26, 2006

International car rally roars around mountain

This was an unusually noisy day in the Alps, with the Rallye international du Valais (read that: Valais int. car rally), starting its first day under my nose. The starting point was precisely in front of my house, with 100 cars gunning their engines, drivers pulling down helmets and rolling up windows, and then roaring off. Rallies are noisy beasts.

I've posted a series of photos on GenevaLunch, with a short news report. To give you a flavor, here is one.

I pulled weeds while the racers lined up, since it was too noisy to work. In addition to car engines being revved, helicopters flew very low, right over us. We have the rally here every year although most of the time it finishes a little bit above us rather than starting here, and I see coughing cars and sweat-soaked teams whipping off their helmets.

This year I had more time to observe the spectators. There are more, far more, men than women. Most of them do not look very fit but they are willing to park their cars further down the mountainside and walk 30 minutes uphill to get a good viewing spot. For some reason I can't fathom, the number of people with canes, wheelchairs and crutches is relatively high. People with small children have to carry them uphill, even though the mostly little boys are clearly thrilled with the racing cars. Mothers, rather than fathers, tend to carry them. People with dogs have to carry them, for the noise makes them skittish (so why bring poor Mutt, I wonder?). No one looks at the view. Strangely, for I have a lot of flowers and people driving normally look at them, no one looks at gardens. No one looks at the sky, which is spectacular on this warm late autumn day.

The first car misses its sharp turn, which has a very steep drop into the woods to one side, and I remind myself how I always take it slowly. The team ends up near the top, however, so they know more about recovering from a missed turn than I do.

Supporters drift down for an hour after the last car has left, and they all seem happy.

I think it is mainly a guy thing, and if I live to be 100 I probably won't get it.


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