Friday, January 10, 2014

Google maps got us lost

We had to head over to an office for immigration paperwork set up and get an appointment for fingerprinting/photos. My wife's office sent her an email with the address and so I put that info into Google maps because that was the best way to find out where anything is here. So I put in the address and it says that the office is only a 30 minute walk away. We figured that we could do that super quick and head out in the afternoon.

We get 10 minutes into the voyage when the street we are supposed to be on veers off to the left but the walking directions never mention this. We figure that we're probably going the right direction and so we keep on the road until we walk what seems farther than the time/distance google maps says we should be walking on that road. We walk into a store and ask for directions to one of the streets, the first two employees had no clue where the street was but the third employe walk out of the store and tell us that we need to make a left at the second block and that we'd find it. We thanked her and headed out once again when we realize that we are like a block from the lake and that can't be right.

We walked into a restaurant and ask them for the street we were looking for. Three people and once again only one knew(or at least said he thought he knew) where the street was. He told us that we needed to turn around and head in the direction that we were coming from. We thanked him for his help and walked some more until we pass the block where we got directions from the first person. After a while we were starting to get seriously tired so we walked into another business and ask for directions. Now this place was an office of some sort and while none of the employees knew where the street was, one of them looked it up on google maps. She said that the first person's directions were correct and that we needed to head back to the lakefront to get to the directions google maps had for us.

She asked us where we were headed to and she looked it up and printed out new directions from the office. We thanked her profusely and set out on what was now only a 15 minute walk. We finally get to the destination and for the life of us we could NOT find the damn place. The way addresses work here is that you have Street name number. Similar to our way of addresses except for the fact that you can have one street with several street names on it. So you could walk down a street and see Apple 3 right next to Orange 1. Thankfully this doesn't happen too often but when it does, it can confuse the hell out of you.

So back to the story, we get to the street and find the street name BUT not the street number. It was a multi-floor office building so we figured that maybe it was on one of the floors but not marked. We saw an elderly gentleman outside and asked if he spoke english and he responded with "I am English!" We asked him if he knew where the place we needed to go to was located. Unfortunately he had no clue as he had only been in the country for five days. We laughed and told him we'd been there two days. He apologized for not knowing where it was and directed us to a building entrance where he said someone might know.

We walked into a police station and we figured that if anyone knew where things were located that it would be the police! We asked an officer for help and explain to him what we are looking for. He asks us where we live and says that we are looking for a police station but the the place we need to go to is on the other side of the lake. He couldn't help us because we were not in his station's assigned district. At this point we were tired and so we asked him if he could direct us to a taxi so we could get a ride over to the correct place. He tells us where to go and we get there to find several taxis just sitting around waiting for people to show up.

We asked a taxi driver if they 1) knew where the place was located and 2) if he could drive us there. He had absolutely NO clue where it was but he walked over to ask several other drivers and they gave him directions. We got into the cab and figured that we'd at least see more of the city since we'd have to go to a new place. He drives in the direction we started out from and drove past our street. We figured that the place was 30 minutes in the opposite direction from where we went until the taxi turns off the street two blocks later and goes two more blocks before stopping. He points to the place and says that we need to got here. We thanked him and payed the fare and walked into the place.

We get everything settled and get our appointment time/day for the remaining stuff we need to do and head back outside. We walked six blocks back to our apartment. I will repeat, we walked SIX BLOCKS back to our apartment. The return trip took us five minutes and that was only because we were tired and walking slowly. FIVE! Not the 30 that google maps gave us. I personally was so mad that we wasted the entire afternoon trying to get to a place that was no where near where our directions took us. We found out two things that day: 1)google maps can suck sometimes and 2)even if people don't know where a street is, they will still try to give you directions.

Damn nice people the Swiss are. Not always helpful but very nice.

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least you got your exercise, got to see some of the town and met some nice people! :)