Monte Carlo or Bust

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August 22nd 2008
Published: August 22nd 2008
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The CasinoThe CasinoThe Casino

Shaken not stirred?
I normally hate traveling tired and hungover, but much of this is due to the fact that I am always apprehensive and stressed about flying and the hangover just exacerbates this. I was not worried when I awoke this Tuesday morning, because I had a car and driver bringing me to Monaco and I knew I could sleep in the car. Being as I was out until 6am the previous night, I had not packed. I got up around 11:30, drank all the evian remaining in the room and started to put my things together. I was still slightly drunk, so I hoped for the best and trusted I would remember everything. I checked out of my room, not in the greatest room both because of my lack of sleep and because I was sad about leaving St. Tropez since it had been so much fun (always, but especially this year). I was about to get more upset. My incompetent driver was not there at noon. He was not there at 12:15, he was not there at 12:30. I was very pleased that I had set a wakeup call, packed and been ready on time so that I could wait for HIM. I called his company and they said he was late due to heavy traffic. Probably the worst excuse I have ever heard. I spend maybe 1-2 weeks a year on the French Riviera and I know how bad the traffic is and plan accordingly. They expect me to believe someone who drives people around in this area for a living can't be expected to do the same? The moron finally arrived near 1PM. The car was a Mercedes of some type, OK but a bit short on leg room. The driver insisted on speaking French to me, despite me having my earphone in and sunglasses on trying to go to sleep. I finally told him I was tired and didn't want to talk. I tried to pass out and get some rest, but I kept drifting in and out of sleep. I tried to listen to "Monte Carlo or Bust" to get me in the mood and it worked a bit. I listened to some Charles Trenet and tried to understand the words. We made it to Monaco in a very reasonable 2 hours and 30 minutes as the traffic was very heavy getting out of St. Tropez but
Grass chairGrass chairGrass chair

This was weird looking so I took a picture
pretty light once we got to the A8 (main highway for getting around the Riviera). The day was not to improve anytime soon. I got to the Hotel De Paris, the bellman took my bags from the car and I went inside. I checked in and they brought me to my room. A lovely room, high ceilings, spacious, view of the port and... 2 twin beds. I told them I had a reserved a room with 1 King bed and I did not need 2 beds and I did not want to sleep in a twin. They apologized and back downstairs we went. They had another room with the same view and a king but it was not ready. I would have to wait 40 minutes for it to be made up. They offered that I head to the bar or Cafe De Paris and have a drink while I waited. I had a perrier in the Bar Americain and was not pleased about the delay. On the plus side, the potato chips they serve (along with assorted other snack things) are definitely handmade and were very good. At 4PM, back to the desk I went, then to the new room. It did indeed have the same port view, but the room was very long and narrow (not nearly as big as my previous room) and the chair near the window was ripped. I was not paying their ridiculous rates to stay in a room with ripped furniture and I thought if I complained (with valid grounds) a bit that maybe I would get a free upgrade to the next class of room. I got a free bottle of wine, but no upgrade. Back to the desk we went. They said they had a larger room with a king but it was city view. This room was much better, nicer bathroom, 2 balconies, etc... I finally settled in near 5. Once I had unpacked my things I walked through Place De Casino and up along the water towards the beach clubs. I walked up some random streets but sadly I had forgotten my camera (there were some cool little alleys). I had lunch at a little cafe (jambon fromage, not bad) then I walked back to the hotel down Boulevard D'Italien and Boulevard De Moulins. I toyed with the idea of going to the gym but instead fell asleep. This was probably good given how little sleep i'd gotten the past week. Camille had gone back to California, but Constance and Solene were in Cap Martin (right near Monaco) so I called them to see if they were up for drinking. We agreed to meet at Bar Americain around 11 since it was in the hotel lobby, it's nice and I'm lazy. For dinner I had a salad from room service for a mere 42 euros. My favorite part of the ridiculous hotel room service pricing was that during normal hours, a hamburger is 45 euros, however if you consult the night menu (11PM-6am) the very same hamburger now costs 52 euros. The hamburger is not made of platinum or gold (it's a normal although rather good burger) and I suppose the sneaky hotel figures that drunk people are not going to notice the even more extreme extortion when they order a sandwich at 4am. Sneaky bastards. I met Solene and Constance in the bar a bit after 11. Solene was very proud of herself because she had texted saying they would be there in 20 minutes and had actually arrived exactly 21 minutes from the timestamp on her text. I had many jack and cokes. In the bar they have a string quartet, a guy on the piano and a singer. The singer looked American but he spoke French, he may know languages but he didn't know the songs very well. He was clearly reading the lyrics off a sheet for much of the time, even for songs EVERYONE knows the words to like Hotel California. C'mon champ, you're better than that. Constance was drinking some revolting drink made up of Vodka, Champagne and Get27. The always amusing spectacle of very old men with women who were blatantly hookers was the height of hilarity as usual. I always wonder how they make their peace with that, I mean everyone in the bar knows they are with hookers. Does it not bother them? Oh well. Ilkem (the Turkish girl we met in St. Tropez at dinner) and her friend from dinner were in Cannes. They called and said they were going to come to Monte Carlo for the night, so we continued to wait at the hotel bar. The Turks arrived, more drinks fell and around 2 we were all ready for Jimmy'z. We asked for a car and everyone was worried as to whether we would need 1 or 2. The hotel provides a free shuttle between the hotel, the beach club, jimmy'z and a few other places. The shuttle is usually an A8, but I remembered from the previous summer that they have one of those Mercedes limo's that you normally see escorting heads of state around, the the passenger doors that open both ways in the back. They still had this car and it was sent for us (sadly I had no miniature American flags to pin on the front). We got to Jimmy'z and had out first round at the bar, then we were bored and asked if we could take a table. Normally you need to have a reservation if you want to get a table at Jimmy'z and I was sure they would want 3 or 4 bottles or give us a table way in the back near the bar and far from the dancefloor, so I was pleasantly surprised when they brought us to a table right on the dancefloor, said only 1 bottle (complimentary mixers including Red Bull which is legal in Monaco) and asked if it was OK. It was definitely OK. I don't recall if I mentioned this, but the unofficial dresscode in St. Tropez is driving shoes, linen or other lightweight pants and an untucked dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Monaco is much stuffier and as a result the dress code is more my speed. I was happy to dust off the sport coats and pocket squares. I am sad to report the ascot (although packed in my luggage) did not make an appearance. Anyway, blazered and pocket squared I got very drunk and at some point I was trying to do my best "Cocktail" impression, throwing ice cubes into the air and trying to land them in my drink. Sometimes I succeeded but many times I failed. Around 4:30 I was so drunk that I literally could not see straight, I said goodbye to everyone, stole a cab from some hapless person out front, stumbled to my room and enjoyed a 52 euro burger. Solene and Constance apparently made it until 5:30 and were able to fend off the advances of some creepy old guy who kept following them around, waiting for one to go to the bathroom and then telling the other "kiss me, come on." Oh drunk shady old men.

Additional photos below
Photos: 20, Displayed: 20



Some tree in the park near Place De Casino

Shot towards the sea. Monaco is all up a mountain so the city is like levels sloping down
Out the window2Out the window2
Out the window2

Looking towards Place De Casino
From the BalconyFrom the Balcony
From the Balcony

Down the street towards Hotel Hermitage
From the Balcony 2From the Balcony 2
From the Balcony 2

Towards Place De Casino

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