Tuesday, August 28, 2012
calamities of the la cote d'azur
Am back from the land of sunbaked terracotta, cheese and endless lavender. Rolled into London, we did, last night.
Four days of Franco wonderfulness, but definitely not without it's calamities. No better place for calamities, mind, but we did have a few interesting moments in the south of France. And with calamity (read: fuck ups), comes a wealth of discovery.
I got heatstroke
I see you there, in your chair, laughing uproariously, and I raise you my middle finger.
I don't know if this is the unofficial line one crosses in becoming British, or if it's just an embarrassing body ailment, but the conclusion here was this: I cannot handle heat anymore.
I've always handled the cold better than I have the heat, but hot humping hazelnuts, I got actual heat stroke.
Nausea, dizziness, the drinking of four litres of water in a day and still being parched, that was kind of expected. But then there was the fainting in the restaurant in Villefranche-sur-Mer, followed by a puke and a Coke.
The dude let me lie down on the cold floor in his restaurant, while the Brit pressed ice packs to my face, while the droning heat outside (about 32 degrees) basically didn't end for the four days we were there. I couldn't face standing in the sun for more than 11 seconds, it was just too intense.
The Brit accidentally took three grams of paracetamol
The Brit also found the heat relentless, and so to quash a headache, went to la pharmacie in search of pills. His shirky grasp of French meant he swallowed three pills, and when I idly asked why his head was lolling to the side and why he looked like he was about to fall asleep, I realised he had taken three fucking grams of paracetamol.
"DO NOT FALL ASLEEP. LOOK AT ME. TALK TO ME." (Me still pressing an ice pack to my face in a heat-frazzled state).
Basically, what the Brit had done was this: Most pills are 250 milligrams, 500 tops. Which meant he took the equivalent of twelve tablets. Or six 500mg ones. People get their stomachs pumped on less. He thought he was told to take three.
"Your kidneys. FUCK. Right drink this." I made him drink Coke to keep him awake and another eight litres of water, had to drive the hire car back to our hotel along the winding coastal roads, while I dealt with the shakes of heat stroke.
Perhaps it was the delirious states we were in, or maybe that we hadn't really noticed the giant dent in the door before - but after parking on the beach, we saw the damage.
For fuck's sake.
Then after much deliberation and cursing the car that had hit and run, we realised it had been there the whole time.
The boat driver lost the plot
Perhaps he also had heat stroke. Either way, we took a boat trip around the coastline, where the captain would talk us through all the opulence and wealth we could see through a massive loudspeaker.
He was kind of droning on and on, "This was Bridget Bardot's house..." (Whatever, pass me the water, bitch). When entering one of the bays, a boat cut in front of him and he completely went off his merry little rocker.
Not sure whose fault this actually was, but a large argument ensued, with the guy continuing to use his megaphone as his instrument of choice.
"What the hell do you think you're doing? I am WORKING here. YOU'RE FUCKING DRUNK MAN! Look at you in your British boat.....Now on the left you'll see the mansion of Mick Jagger, the pink house over there, and on the right the house of Elton John."
He just kind of carried on like nothing had happened, while all his 'fucks' kind of reverberated around the families and children around us. Obscene, yet highly amusing.
We went to Monaco, missed our train back
Quick history lesson. Monaco has highest GDP in the world, Most densely populated country in the world. Has the most super cars in the world. The prince of Monaco married a South African. (She also tried to run away, apparently). It's casino is the most famous. It's a tax haven. No one pays income tax, people are more loaded than Boris Yeltsin after a vodka convention. Last time I saw Monaco, I was backpacking and had no money. I ate a dry baguette from the one supermarket there and then went back to France.
The Brit was dying to see it, bless him and all the Ferraris there, and we had a few drinks and some dinner at this beautiful beach club. Then we missed our train back to Nice by one minute, and ended up paying 100 extra euros to get back to our hotel by taxi.
Despite all of the above, we had such a lovely weekend. If there's a place you want to get heatstroke, overdose on medication and have your car sideswiped while a man loses it over a megaphone on a boat, this is it.
The place reminds me of Cape Town. the difference is, that it's really the full package. You can swim in the sea (it's beautiful and warm, shark-free and there are no waves. So you can just float, endlessly, on your little pool noodle all day long if you like). The food is amazing - slap my thigh and call me Elodie - we had cheese, endless sorbets, fresh fish and tapenade.
We drove up into the mountains to see two places of interest - the first was Eze ('Airs'), with a little medieval town perched precariously on the hill. You wind your way up through the higgledy-piggledy paths, stopping for a drink and plump marinated olives.
We also drove to Grasse, the perfume-making capital of the world. Like one would do the wine route, you can literally do a perfume route in around Grasse. There are centuries-old perfumeries operating there, and the town smells of violets, lavender and vanilla, at every turn.
Again, with small cobbled streets, blue shutters, and sunbaked buildings everywhere. The south of France is a hedonistic explosion of smells, sights and flavours.
Oh, and don't get me started on the crepes.