|The coach chauffeur for our bus was a great guy named Francis Van Crombrugge, a Belgian with a Kaiser Wilhelm mustache, a big pot belly, and usually about 3 inches of visible butt crack whenever he stood up. I really enjoyed him and always exchanged some funny conversation with him as I got on and off the bus.
Francis managed to thread that huge bus through some unbelievably tight streets (where, I swear, if we opened the bus windows, we could have closed the shutters on the buildings on both sides) and around a lot of hairpin turns on one-lane roads in the mountains. So many of the places we traveled to in France were in rural areas fed by one-lane roads. With the Great War Centennial coming up and so many visitors expected, many of these places were told by the French government that they would need two-lane roads. Therefore, it was very common to see a one-lane road with a new stripe painted down the middle of it, converting it to a two-lane road. Voila!
Although his native language is Flemish, Francis speaks all the European languages, as well as heavily-accented English. When I was saying goodbye to him in Paris, he said “Zhaine, you must come to Belgique and you can sleep with me and my woman.” And by that, I’m pretty sure he just meant I could stay at his house.