Monday, June 26, 2006

My Nice Vacation by BB

This is my last day in France and I finally sat down to write an entry. For my vacation this year, I decided to visit Gem and Jube in Nice. I could not have asked for better hosts. For my first trip to Europe, they have spent a lot of time, money, and patience on making me enjoy my visit.

One of the things I noticed was the number of English t-shirts. The best one I saw said "I want your skull". The second best was probably "Guns and drugs will get you 5 years, guaranteed". This t-shirt was worn by a waiter at the cafe where I had my first taste of Desperados, a beer with tequila. I also have plans on making a "BB de Menton" t-shirt (It's funnier if you actually know me and it's even funnier if you've seen the movie Brice de Nice).

I enjoyed going to my first topless beach. Your first time is always special. I think I only made one girl nervous by talking about her within earshot, since she probably understood English.

I had a lot of good food. The mussels I had were great. Un-bearded ones are the best. I even had two at once a few times. My first time with mussels came late in life, but I think I made up for it by eating as many as I could in one night.

Last Saturday, Jube and I went to Thor, a viking bar. After the World Cup game, a band called Karma started playing. They were pretty good. Make sure to check out their Dates page. Despite not being played on the radio a lot, hard rock and metal (read: good music) are well represented in Nice. Half way through playing A.T.W.A., a bunch of guys came in and started grinding on everyone, but mainly with each other. They were pretty obnoxious and were blocking everyone's view. Jube leaned over and said, "They must be from Paris".

Today, Jube and I went to Cannes and hung out on the beach. Later, while at home and talking over a pizza royale from Pizze Leo, we saw Toad the cat, a huge lizard, and a lightning bug. I have not seen any lightning bugs during my time here, so I'll take this a goodbye from the wild life of Nice.

This has been a perfect vacation, I loved seeing France and Italy, and I hope to see Jube and Gem again soon!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Some Interesting Stuff

Looking back on my entries, I see that I haven't written... well... ANYTHING of what we've been doing. The short version is: we went to San Remo, watched a lot of World Cup games, swam in the pool, watched Some Kind of Monster, and stayed out until 2am celebrating the Fête de la Musique. The longer version might be written by BB later; I'm just going to talk about some highlights here.

First, we went out to have pizza and enjoy the ambiance of the France-South Korea World Cup match. It was great when France scored about 10 minutes into the match. Everyone in the bars around us jumped up, screaming. We could barely give our orders to the waiter. After we finished our meal, we walked along the Cours Saleya looking for dessert, when we heard two small voices screaming. We looked over at them, and they seemed to be the only South Koreans in the area. All of their barmates looked at them a bit quizzically, but not at all aggressively. We found some crepes to eat and listened to the French fans groaning about the tie with South Korea. As we walked along the Promenade des Anglais, we heard someone shouting Allez les bleus! I thought it was kind of odd to be shouting for the team after they had effectively lost. We all looked around, and finally found the supporter neck deep in the Mediterranean, with two friends holding his clothes and laughing. When security showed up, complete with a big German shepherd, the laughing bet-loser climbed out of the water and flashed all of the spectators a quick view of his thong.

Then, on Wednesday, for the Fête de la Musique, we headed out to centre ville. It was packed with people dancing, singing, eating, and (above all) drinking. We went to an all-you-can-eat mussel restaurant where Jube and BB packed away 3 1/2 bowls of mussels (I had another 1/2) and then walked around trying to find a rock band. We listened to two or three (one of whom played Master of Puppets, which Jube and BB both sang), passed a few of Jube's students, and then saw something we had never before seen. A young boy sprinted across the road into the Jardin Albert I followed by two policemen. He circled around towards us again when a police car tore into a U-turn and blocked his escape. Finally he was led out of the garden with his hands behind his back to join a group of youngsters already being held in custody by the policemen. We don't know what they did, but they were definitely caught. In fact, the whole centre ville was full of police officers. We saw them simply patrolling, listening to the music, but also jogging in formation towards an unknown emergency. Luckily we weren't caught rocking out! Well, that's because we didn't really rock out, although Jube did dance with me twice and BB sang most of the songs he knew.

Finally, on Thursday night, we invited Jube's colleagues to come over for a barbecue at our house. We are the only members of the group with a yard, and although I sometimes wish we had a larger apartment or lived closer to town, it's nice to see our apartment through other people's eyes; I realize that our little garden is just what they want. I made big juicy hamburgers, deviled eggs, and fresh spinach salad. Jube grilled it all up and had also bought shish kebabs, but my hamburgers were so American almost no one could eat more afterwards. Some even turned down dessert! We invited four friends, and two of them really made the effort to speak English with BB, which was really nice. He basically followed along with the conversations until we started talking about politics, which I didn't bother to translate. I don't think he knows who Sarkozy or Royal or Hollande are, and since we only talked about Chirac in relation with them... well... I didn't translate.

Today I start my job in town. I'm a little bit sad, because BB doesn't leave until Tuesday and Jube doesn't really start vacation till then (he's been grading the Bac since last week). I'm going to be living with a group of high school students and arranging all of their evening programs for them. It really ought to be interesting, and it's certainly well paid and a good experience... but I can't help thinking about how little time I have left with Jube and (more generally) in France. I'm leaving on August 3rd to start grad school in Virginia, and I'll have to wait at least another month before Jube comes to join me.

That worries me too. I haven't talked about it on my blog because I've been very stressed out about it, but we applied for a visa for him, and we haven't received any news about it since mid-May. We haven't received much mail for the past two weeks, either, though... we're hoping that it's just another example of slow post office service. I'm feeling more stressed since yesterday Jube received word that he has been granted a leave of absence from his job for a year... more pressure. I'll be sure to update you when I know more.

And now I'm going to leave you. I'll try to write more while I'm at work, and I'll force BB to write a nice entry about France before he goes.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Quickie for My Dad

Last weekend an automatic radar caught a British man speeding. He was driving at 250 km/h (166 mph) on his way to Le Mans.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Abbreviated Vacation! Summary

Since my last post, a lot of vacation has been happening. BB, Jube and I met Sam for lunch on Wednesday. It was my first blogger meet up (and hers, too), so we didn't know exactly what to do, but we had a good time trading stories and talking about our summer jobs.

After she left (running to the train station), we hopped in the car and went to Eze. We did NOT tour the Fragonard perfume factory, which disappointed me. Afterwards we went to Monaco, where BB sent off some postcards.

On Thursday, I went to the doctor for a job physical, and then BB and I went to the beach while Jube proctored the Baccalaureat exam. That evening we ate at l'Arum and then went into town to have a beer while watching the end of the Sweden-Paraguay game.

On Friday, we went to Italy--Ventimille. We bought some gelato and some alcohol.

As you can see, I've had a busy week, which is why I'm not writing more. I'm tiiiiired! Maybe I'll write some more soon... (or convince BB to do my job for me!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

BB de Nice

Well, BB arrived as expected on Saturday, and we've been hanging out around town ever since. He basically beat jet-lag right away, although he almost fell asleep on his feet while we were waiting for a taxi on Saturday evening.

Why did we take a taxi? Because it was Beau-papa's birthday party on Saturday, and Jube took the car out to Montpellier where the belle-famille partied at a Syrian restaurant. I was very disappointed that I couldn't go, but I'm sure we will have other chances to party together... I hope sooner rather than later!

The weather has been wonderful here, sunny and not too hot (unlike the rest of France, from what I've heard!), although today was hotter than it has been yet. So what is on the program for the rest of BB's visit? Well, Jube and I had already decided to go to Cannes, Eze, Monaco, St Tropez... the normal Riviera stuff. But, it's already Tuesday and we haven't left the city. I think we're having a good time, though--no complaints yet! Tomorrow we are going to meet Sam around lunchtime, and then we might go somewhere OUT of the city. I'll try to keep updated--and hopefully the next post will be more interesting!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Perdre la tête

Last Saturday I went to the English language library in Nice. The woman working at the desk offered me an invitation to the opening of a photography exposition, so of course I took it. The event took place this evening, so when I had finished my last lesson of the day, I took off for the gallery where I met Jube.

I really enjoyed the exposition, which was made up of black and white photographs around the theme "perdre la tête," or "losing your mind (head)." There were photos of people whose heads were hidden by objects, people making crazy faces, photos commemorating the bicentennial of the beheading of Louis XVI, and some that looked as though the head had been removed from the negative.

The librarian who gave me the ticket had described the event this way: "There will be a lot of ni
çois and there will probably be a speech by some politicians, and afterwards there might even be a little buffet!"

As soon as we arrived, I sniffed out the buffet, but of course we had to wait for the speeches first. We checked out the photos in the meantime, and when we were called for the speech, we met one of Jube's colleagues, the librarian at his high school. What a character! He looked like the drawings of the devil, with a pointy beard and mustache, and one of the first things he said was, "Isn't this a nice gallery? It's even better because there's a buffet!" I certainly wasn't going to say it, but I agreed wholeheartedly.

After the speeches, including one by the photographer (which was, of course, more interesting than the speech from the Minister of Culture), the hoity toity art crowd threw themselves at the buffet. Made up mostly of older women and chic middle-aged couples, they stationed themselves in front of the buffet tables and snarfled down the petits fours. Lucifer had managed to sneak to the front of the room during the speech, so he had already eaten a few hors d'oeuvres. Jube and I hovered on the outside of the crowd, unsure of how to push our way to the table and missing out on the treats! Lucifer felt sorry for me, so he snuck back up to the table and handed me some food. He also got me a small cup of champagne--"Real champagne!" he bragged.

I had a fun time, and realized that cultural events, and the people that attend them, aren't always as classy as you think they are--although Lucifer managed to pull off Class with a capital C. (Well, if anyone could, it would be him, n'est-ce pas?)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This is my last week of work. Suddenly, all of my students are cancelling! If only I'd decided to finish one week earlier... Yesterday, Jube and I woke up around 7am to the sounds of more rain dripping on the skylight. It was closed, but we both realized that our laundry was drying outside! Usually it's hard for me to get out of bed in the morning, but I rushed outside to drag all of our clean clothes inside. I drove Jube to his bus stop in the rain, and I headed to work until 2pm.

Now, if you're not living in France, then you might not be aware of the controversy surrounding Monday, June 5th, 2006. It is Pentecost Monday, and traditionally it is a holiday in France. Recently (as in, two years ago), the French government decided to change it from a holiday to a work day (jour feri
é to jour travaillé). That means that I had to work, and so did Jube, although primary school teachers had a teacher workday. But, when he arrived at his lycée, the doors were locked. No one had come to work--and worse, no one had told him! So he took the bus back home, but since the buses were running on holiday schedules, he didn't arrive back until 1pm. Poor Jube.

When I got home, we settled down on the couch for a relaxing afternoon at the French Open. I love watching tennis in France, and I think I act the Frenchest that I ever will when I watch Roland Garros here in France. My obsession with Roland Garros started in 2002, when I spent the end of May at Jube's family's house. He still had come courses at the university, and I spoke almost no French at all, so my days with his family had to be filled with something I did understand--and I knew the rules of tennis. I started to love the announcers, who unabashedly took sides, even when the players weren't French. I picked up the specialized French tennis vocabulary, including numerous "oh l
à là"s and "oh que c'est beau"s as well as the more useful filet for "net," sur la ligne for "on the line," and de hors for "outside." I also bonded with Beau-père while watching Agassi. I discovered the particular ambiance of the French Open, with whistles and claps and innumerable alleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! The players argued with the spectators, the line judges might come and check the marks in the clay, and the head judge had to ask the crowd to quiet down over and over: "S'il vous plaît, les joueurs sont prêts."

So right now, during my break from work, I'm watching the French Open, and enjoying almost every second of it.

A quick note about our laundry: I did another load yesterday, because my friend BB is coming to visit on Saturday and I want to have our apartment presentable. I went out this morning in the early sunlight to see if the clothes were dry, and I turned the sleeve of one of my shirts inside out. I heard a kind of snapping noise, and I realized that a spider had made a web covering the inside of my sleeves. I continued turning it inside out, to break the web and clean out my freshly laundered shirt, and when I finally turned it back the right way, a big fat spider fell out and scuttled away. I'm glad that it didn't happen to one of Jube's shirts, since he hates spiders. As for me, I was just glad I hadn't seen it while it was still inside the sleeve!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I knew that I shouldn't have written that last post! Yesterday, just as I arrived for my first lesson at 11:30am, I noticed the sky darkening. "Hmm, well, we're due for some rain," I thought, "it hasn't even sprinkled yet this month." No big deal, just a spring shower, and I have an umbrella in my purse all the time.

Two hours later, while lingering over my lunch to avoid sprinting to my car with an umbrella that came free with the magazine I bought during my March layover in London, I realized that I had left the skylight open. After our magnificent weekend, I had begun leaving it open to air out the house while we were at work.

Then the rain turned to hail--and on the higher ground, turned to snow! Of course I had chosen to leave my jacket at home, because who needs one when the weather is so wonderful?

When I got home, I checked the floor under the skylight. It was stained with something rust-colored. I apprehensively looked upstairs to our loft, directly under the skylight--and also where we sleep. Jube noticed my hesitant glance. "Our mattress is soaking wet."

We slept on the futon last night.