Côte d’zur.

Posted by Mydnight on July 28, 2015

I’m not trying to be fancy, it just simply means “the blue coast.” For years it’s been famed for being THE place for uppity, European aristocrats to sunbathe in thongs and moor their yachts while drowning in champagne. It seems the masses have wedged themselves in between that tired Hollywood cliche and how the rest of the world travels: economy class and train. The remainder of us can see through the looking glass into their gated communities, 5* hotels and their huge boats gleaming in contrast with the endless blue. They are probably drinking the same cheap wine like everyone else; it’s that good.

The area around Cannes, Montecarlo, Nice, Antibes, and Villefranche are all lined with water bluer than toilet cleaner. The Mediterranean seems twice as salty as the Atlantic so only a fool could possibly drown. It’s best to spend as much time doing aquatic activities as possible and doing shutterbug activities involving the water as the other “sites” seem  

The hidden cove I swam.

 slammed with tourists and not really worth it. After visiting Grasse, I felt like an absolute failure. Keep in mind that on Sunday as well as Monday in France, hardly anyone works. Wait, it’s just in Asia where Sunday isn’t revered as some special day. Been away from civilization too long and worked on so many Sunday’s, it’s chipped away at my humanity.

Grasse could have been a odoriferous day trip as it’s famed for being the birthplace of the perfume industry, and that’s an important distinction. Whereas the other ancient areas of the world used colognes for culture and goD, the French were some of the first to sell it and get rich. They followed the trends and the pop culture through the centuries like David Bowie changed his sound to fit the decade. I learned that Chanel #5’s bottle design was special for being ordinary and out of the bombastic trend of the day. Hindsight, didn’t feel it was really worth it to bus/train back and forth to this place to visit a museum with broken exhibits; it all seemed half-assed and a theft of 6 euros. Wikipedia has better info.

Nice is nice. Just stay here the whole time and eat sandwiches and take out pizza. The Metroprix had choices a gourmand would nod at with a shaking triple chin. Do cook if you have the facility. About 80% of the restaurants here are disposable and are looking for the single serving diner. In the middle of the “ancient area” mess is an oyster shack called Au Posiedon. It’s much better than Cafe du Turin on the main drag and has nearly the same selection of fresh shellfish. Even with no French, they are happy to help and the service is no nonsense and prompt! As for the pizza, straight down from Place Garibaldi and around a corner near Le Port Is a joint by the name Pizza Snacks. Really, no other ad. You can get a margarita pizza for like 8 euro which may come as a welcome change from mini serving sizes on huge plates.

As for the water, walk down to the port, hang a left and make your way around the rue in the opposite direction of the famous beach area. About half a  kilometer up the road, you’ll see several small shoals below with people sunbathing and swimming. These are the places the locals and other European frequenters relax. The beach area for tourists is also beautiful but rife with scammers and thieves.

I will absolutely come again and next time spend 2 weeks.

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Parisian dialect.

Posted by Mydnight on July 24, 2015

You will need 5 days. Not because the sprawling expanse of France’s capital city is oppressive and obstacle-full; it’s because the locals move quickly through the public transport hubs and that’s the only situation in which they are actually spry. I had dinner in a great local restaurant/cafe/bar called Le Plomb du Cantal and it cost nearly 4 hours. Where we sat, there were several folks that had been there since the afternoon and were still there carousing as we departed. Time is unrelenting to those that lack it and unforgiving to them that need it.

I was absolutely abashed at their dinner culture. Afterall, I hail from a country where we eat fried chicken and pizza with our hands and live in a country where you could encounter a deficating baby being held aloft outside the door of a restaurant. I was unable to wield fork and knife anywhere near an adult level and the lack of glasses upon the table amused the bartender.

Yeah…5 euros.

A negative level in French while traveling in France is shy but bearable. They laugh at your ignorance in a forgivable way if you fain attempt and utter a few pathetic words. Be wary, those that don’t respect the French language, you might be barred service or accosted. Nod and smile, grin and nod.  

Notre Dame is a massive facility, dripping with history and gargoyles burnt by acid rain. It’s worthy a few visits, but the trip to the towers is debatable. You could get a good view of the city and the surrounds from Montmartre or Sacre-Coeur without the hour+ queue.  A great afternoon could be spent just walking about the small islet that houses this gothic cathedral. Views of the Seine’s many bridges and bikini clad sunbathers are some of the other sites. Small streets also house hidden gems. I found a place that fresh squeezes OJ for 5eu a liter. Totally destroyed my jet lag.

The Louvre is a must but either do research before entering or grab your audio guide for 5 euro (for the apt: rumors circulate that the audio guide was pirated online). It’s like any major museum or temple – sans a specific understanding of what you are looking at, it all gets to be extreme in culture. You’ll suffer painting boredom. It was too post modern watching people selfie with the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Is it deemed evolution to photograph ancient works of art or forgery? Plagurism? It seems ugly behavior to me. Why can’t they just stand and enjoy?

The cemetery that holds Jim Morrison’s bones closed at half 5. Missed it. People ARE strange.

The tower is the tower. The cost to go up is against backpacker norms and oozes tourist, just find a nice hill to snapshot from. It’s free and with no pickpockets.Two.point.Five days is a sad attempt at conquering Paris and merely breaks the egg’s skin. I missed the snobbery that this place is famous for. Being told to pointlessly stand at the bar to be seated by the boss after the waiter told us to sit down wasn’t that at all, it was education. He was teaching me how it’s supposed to be. Thanks for the unforgettable lesson in the Parsian dialect. I will ask for a table using it when I return.

Now on a second class sleeper to Nice. Will get some pics up when I remember how I did it last time.

Topics: General Mess | 2 Comments »

By the Liter.

Posted by Mydnight on October 16, 2014

Real men drink beer by the liter. Beer isn’t meant to be sipped, and with a liter, one huge slug won’t half your glass.

What is this nonsense with with ounces and pounds anyway. Metric is so much more logical.



Topics: General Mess | 1 Comment »

GT Club

Posted by Mydnight on September 23, 2014

“Beer?” “Ya, don’t want to drop several hundred on misinformed booze.” One hundred and fifty RMB later, we were faced with six sad cans of Budweiser between the two of us. We were informed of the occasional promotion where 220 can get you 24 cans instead of the usual 12, but it still wasn’t very appealing. “I don’t think this is the kind of place I would bring my girlfriend,” Liu said. It’s the kind of place I wouldn’t even bring someone else’s.

“What do you make of those lights? It’s like Disco Inferno meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Liu chuckled missing the references, “It’s to see the girls clearer; people like shiny lights. It’s comforting to them.” The exterior is simply sleazy. It’s looks pre-adult entertainment crackdown with its LED runners flashing in a random patterns around the entry way. We drank our warm beer from shot glasses and waited for something to happen as the place felt as if some eruption was imminent. The floor in the center of the bar is raised like a cat walk and the girls occasionally pranced along it to Timber, mimicking with suggestive, faux-burlesque gestures. “I think I am in love,” Liu smirked, pointing at a leggy lady in a dress more resembling a loin cloth.

“Man, the prices on the menu are pretty shocking. This is absolutely not the kind of place to frequent to save some dimes.” “It’s a bit of old Dongguan for me,” Liu said, “back when expense accounts would be reimbursed with no questions asked. More than a thousand for a bottle of alcohol was nothing in the past.” The uneasy bartender kept trying to push modestly priced Long Islands and Mojitos on us like a corner dealer; a low quota could mean his job. “Yes, coming here has definitely been an education, surreal even.” Ms. Leggy playfully blew a kiss to Liu and he turned beet red.

“Pretty nice big screen, though. We could have some mad parties here with the right music.” “It’s a bit too backstreet for me,” Liu remarked. Actually, he was right, GT Club is situated behind two or three other clubs and down an alley away from any main thoroughfares. “Far enough away from accountability for you?” “Exactly,” he smiled.

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