France 2000, Day Two in Nice
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 100 18:59:37 -0700
Subject: France 2000, Day Two in Nice
X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649 -=[ Fun_People ]=-
The second day in Nice started out just fine except that Miki was a bit
out of sorts from the jet lag. So we had a little breakfast brought up to
the room while she got herself together. After an hour or so she felt a
little better so we decided to take a cab down to the Mephisto shoe store,
down town. Usually we'd just walk but she didn't feel like it today.
I also had to get some french franks so the driver dropped us at an ATM
next to the store. I've learned that the cheapest way to get foreign money
is at the ATM or by charge card. You get the best rate that way. If you
get it from the changers, they charge a stiff premium.
So off to Mephisto... These are such great shoes, really comfy! They are
three times the price in the US so we always wait till we get here to get
new ones. I got some sandals and Miki got these really great looking shiny
black pumps. Maybe I'll trade with her...
It was lunch time so we went right around the corner to a little outdoor
cafe for a salad and some Rose. Just after we sat down and ordered, it
hit me. All of a sudden this wave of fatigue and nausea, I guess some
delayed jet lag. I almost fainted out of my chair. I've never felt it
this bad before. I guess all the excitement of getting here kept us from
slowing down to get used to the change. After about an hour of feeling
like shit and not being able to eat or drink, we had to make our apologies
and start the walk home. The restaurant workers are much more sensitive
to their customers in France. They really want you to like the food and
get very worried if you leave too much behind. Miki explained the problem
and we able to leave without too much ceremony.
The walk back was tough but we made it OK. I couldn't wait to drop into
bed until dinner time. I went right out and slept like a log for about
four hours. All I can say is don't take this jet lag stuff lightly, it
bites back hard.
By 6:00 PM, we were ready to go back out to see Jean-Claude's shop. I was
still a little fuzzy so we took a cab again. His shop is down by the art
museum and twice the size of his old shop in Grimaud. It's all antiques
and fine art. He even has a hand blown pop art chandelier from the '50's
that can only be described as wild...
Then he showed me the antique pistols he had mentioned. There were a couple
of fairly plain, matched cap firing derringers and one nickel plated rim
fire match pistol. Then he pulled out the catch of the day. My eyes nearly
popped their sockets! Jean-Claude handed me a Louis VI flint lock
blunderbuss in nearly mint condition. It still has the original flint in
the hammer. It also has some of the nicest gold guiding on the barrel I've
ever seen and silver chasing all around the wood butt and stock. Needless
to say, this will be the prize of our collection. I won't tell you what
we paid for it but I will say I could get eight times that tomorrow in the
states. I'm always amazed at the bargains here...
Then we waited for Jean-Claude to close the shop. What a vault this place
is. Steel bars on the windows, roll down metal doors, four foot limestone
walls. You'd need a BIG tank to get into this place. Jean-Claude says
the insurance companies demand it or they will charge very high premiums.
It takes about 15 minutes to secure the place...
Then off to dinner in Old Nice with Jean-Claude, Mimi (Miki's other life
long best friend), Mimi's husband Alain, and Mimi's three kids (Nadege,
Latecia and Soliane). Jean-Claude drove down to Old Nice, which I thought
was nuts, and we looked for 15 minutes for parking in a city that is twice
as bad as San Francisco to park in, until he finally went over to the
underground (pay) parking. In Nice, it's hard to find parking for motor
scooters, much less cars, that's why we don't drive around here.
We went up and found a brasserie with a table outside. Nice, like Paris,
has taken people watching to a high art. People don't sit inside and watch
TV very much. The houses and apartments are too small and depressing inside
(high density housing) and there isn't much on TV because nobody stays home
to watch it. So the night life starts at about 8:00 PM and goes on till
about 4:00 AM. People sit outside under the incredible night sky in shorts
and tee shirts mostly. That is, except for most of the girls that spray
on their pants and tops (figuratively speaking) and strut their stuff
(thousands of them!!!). Jean-Claude has a great saying for it.... he says
'The girls dress like girls tonight because they want to have fun'
(translated by Miki, of course). I have to say, again, the French girls
are the most beautiful and exotic in the world, I should know, I married
So we sat for a while and watched while Miki and Jean-Claude sipped on wine
and I sipped on a Gin & tonic. I discovered something else really cool on
this trip, Gin & Tonic works better than all those Tagemet drugs out there
for settling the jet-lag stomach. I guess it's the quinine in the tonic
water. It can't be the alcohol because up till now, wine has been making
me sick (can you imagine, wine making Gary sick???). But whatever, it is
it seems to work great.
Mimi and the family finally showed up and we went off to find a table.
You have a huge square in night time Old Nice, filled with tables belonging
to about 50 different restaurants to choose from. In the day it's a huge
market filled with fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. You just look for a
menu that looks good and sit down. So we put some tables together and all
sat down to wait for a waiter. Dinner was pretty good, although Mimi's
and my steaks were a bit over cooked. I ate about half and gave the rest
to a little dog that was cruising for handouts. Dogs are welcome in all
restaurants in France. He ate about half of what I gave him and left the
rest. He ate all of what Mimi gave him after that so I know it wasn't
because he was full. Mimi pointed this out to the waiter when we asked
for the check, you know, 'even the dog wouldn't eat it!' The French are
brutal about their food if it's not done right, so he took them off the
By this time it was about 9:30 PM and we had been sitting there having
dinner and talking for over two hours (very normal here). Jean-Claude,
Mimi and family wanted to go sauntering around the market for a while. On
the outskirts of the cafes, people sell all kinds of crafts, jewelry, etc.
I was still feeling kind of weird from the jet-lag thing so we begged of
and said our long 'en revoir's' (with kisses) to everyone and walked the
15 minutes back to our hotel through the lively streets of Nice. We ordered
two cognac's in the room and hit the sack. I was so tired I didn't touch
my cognac, it was still full in the morning.
One last thing I learned today. As I was talking to Miki about the 'Cote
D' Azur' and butchering the pronunciation as usual, she finally laughed
and told me that all of this time, instead of saying 'the azure coast', I
had really been saying 'the rib of the dog'. Like the trouble the French
have with American words like cane & came, woman & women, etc. She had
been letting me sound foolish for some time. I'll get her later...
© 2000 Peter Langston