Thursday, November 17, 2005

A lazy weekend on the French Riviera...

Who knew world travel was so rough, eh? After dropping my parents off at Milan's airport for their unfortunate reentry into the real world, we took the "screaming kid special" train to the little town of Menton, France. Waiting in Menton were our friends Lene & Cedric (who we'd stayed with in Lyon) and Cedric's parents France & Michel (who were nice enough to open their home to us sight unseen).

Despite the fact that Cedric's promises of nothing but beach and sunshine on the Riviera were quickly nullified by rain and thunderstorms for most of the weekend, we had a blast. We spent Saturday afternoon touring Monaco and the Monte Carlo casino. For me, I was finally able to see one of the minnows of Europe (we'd narrowly avoided Luxembourg and Andorra so far). Of course this minnow is filthy rich, has its own royalty and is home of some of the richest professional sports names in Europe (thanks to the minimal income taxes paid a la Florida and Texas). Preparations for the fieldtrip were a bit improvised; to meet the dress code in Monaco Becca had to borrow a top and shoes that were a size too small from Lene (prompting Becca to utter "I'm practicing for China") while I was somehow able to make the cut with what I had in my bag.

After spending the entire drive from Menton to Monte Carlo touting my superior packing abilities, we arrived at the casino only to find out that it didn't open until noon (and that it cost 10 euros to go in, above any of our budgets). We then headed off to the side casino where the four of us were able to turn 20 euros into 55 in just over 30 minutes at video poker. Thankfully the blackjack tables (and their 25 euro minimums) weren't open otherwise I might have tested my luck to disastrous results. Add in the fact that Lene was practically giddy every time one of us cashed out and it was a good time. Plus we can all now say we took on Monte Carlo and won :-)

Sunday we visited the Riviera town of Nice to visit some of L&C's friends. Nice enough town though the highlights were Cedric's go-kart style of driving and finding out that everyone locks their doors when they enter Nice. Evidently the local crime de jour is to come up beside a car in a scooter, open the back door, grab the person's bag in the back seat and buzz away. Got a chance to admire the waterfront both here and in Menton though in amongst the various storms

The rest of the time was spent eating good food, having great conversation (including me being France's testing board for her rapidly improving English), learning the card game belote (highly recommended though not late on a Sunday night) and just enjoying the french life a little bit more. Many thanks again to the whole crew for a wonderful weekend and just a ton of perfect French hospitality.

Who says the Riviera is all sand and sun?


PS Promotional Hamsters Cheap Here.

No comments: