Published: April 19th 2007April 19th 2007
So to cut a long story short, I did not like French people. I do not speak a lick of French. I had no intention to go to France on this trip.
However, like a Hollywood film - the hansome main character changed his mindset and ventured into the unknown. Oi oi!
Initially I was in communication with Lara Thomas to visit over Easter in Paris.
James Bourke contacted me later with the news he had a month contract in Nice starting the day I left London.
So I planned to book a London - Paris - Nice - London. Fitting in 2 more friends in less than a week.
My plan morphed and changed several times whilst I tried to organise making it a reality.
Attempting to book flights late, at Easter and across 2 airlines is not possible.
So I came through for James, deeply upset that I had to pull the plug on Lara. Sorry babe!
So anyway, to the story of Nice.
Amazingly I spotted James with his 50kgs of bags by the baggage claim - his plane was delayed.
So we hauled his gear and eventually
negotiated taxis, narrow roads and small lifts to get everything into our hotel room. Then we set out on food mission. We found an amazing seafood restaurant and I had a squidilicious concoction. James and I found an icecream shop, so followed up dinner with a Corona icecream. Yeehaaw!
All the excitement was too much and James crashed which also gave me my first night off the turps in a few days. Ahhh relax and recover.
The next day, we went for a random stroll around the wonderful city of Nice which is nestled in a valley. The city is framed by steep mountain cliffs, which would not have been out of place in South Italy.
We found ourselves charging up a hill and cracking open a couple of Kronenbergs in celebration. For not the first time on the trip before midday. It as a sunny day and James was still definately on NZ time. 6 down by 3pm and suddenley we are wondering around France half cut and still speaking no French.
I spotted NZ playing in the cricket, so we passed the avo chatting to tourists and watching cricket. You can not take me anywhere!
Boys in black
Represent! Nice marina! Hook it up!
After a fantasy icecream (which included 4scopes of chocolate varieties), James had commered out again. So the day was over around the same time you would expect to put an 8year old to bed.
The following day, we took off on a bus to Monaco. I surrendered my seat to a crabby little lady before having 30minutes of holding on with white knuckles as we swung around the cliff hugging roads. The stuffy packed bus had me feeling like we were on a road in the Bay of Islands.
Welcome to Monaco the second smallest nation in the world and the richest per capita. It has the inverted flag of Poland. Not something you learn everyday.
We checked out a superyacht or 70 before walking the narrow F1 race track, browsing the fancy shops and the rich people on the way.
I chased the the bus but had to give up when it did not stop. So humilating. I had to do the walk of shame and wait another 30mins for the next one. How rude!
That afternoon we headed out to Marina Baie des Anges marina with James' client who just flew in. The marina
Down at the beach
We found out that despite it being around 20degrees there was still plenty of women getting their kit off!
sports a complex hotel pyramid. Amazing!
This was the most distinct structure coming in to Nice by plane and I found myself gazing off one of the balconies! Very nice place.
We had dinner with the client before adventuring back to Nice for a kip.
My final day in France, I left James to hunt for boat parts. I won most of the battles eventually - 1hour of fighting French keyboards on the net and finding the best waffles with nuttella. For some reason nutella tastes better in France. Two acheivements which are not to be underrated.
I met up with James that evening, scoring a bed at the clients apartment.
James and I drank a few cans on the pebble stone beach. Adding 2 and 2 together, soon I set up target practice with the empty cans. I am a class act. A contact of James rocked up who was heading out on it with some crew members on a super yacht in Antibes.
Of course we checked out the vessel and I had my first beer on a superyacht. Then we headed out for a French cuisine adventure I could have only dreamed of.
Bourkey trying snails
Using all the equipment
pate. Apparently they fatten up the geese before they make the muck on the plate. I found this extremely strange but it was tasty.
Our main course was the tenderest steak I had ever had. Still makes my mouth water. Great feed.
We finished off with some port, then some Grand Marnier. I was finding it hard to keep up with the super yacht crew by this stage.
However, we pushed on to some bar playing crazy live music. We got jumping around around to it before it all stopped suddenley. I was spooned by the bouncer. Translation: the bouncer entered the dance floor and singled me out, smashing me in the face with a spoon ??? Unorthodox but very effective, everyone was stunned and backed down like smacked childeren.
We hit one more bar before slipping out. The trains had stopped, giving James and I an hour walk back to the resort.
I awoke, still intoxicated. The shower in the room had 5450 functions. I was twisting knobs and pushing buttons and water was coming out of the most unlikely places. Got to get one at my place! The place was a palace man and
Monaco hair pin
We decided to walk the track. Mean and lean. Here is the hairest corner on the descent just before the straight...
somehow I had scored a bed there for my last night.
James escorted me to the airport... ending my rapid introduction to what France is all about.
Despite not speaking the language, France has aspects which I found no where else in Europe. Bigs ups!
There are more photos below