EuroTrip 2010: France

June 8, 2010

Arriving late at night in Nice, France, we manage to get ourselves quite lost (even with Will, the navigation extraordinaire leading the way) until we get directions from 2 nice French ladies who “draw us a very nice plane”, leading us to an alley way where we miraculously see a small 2 inch sign, “Hostal Smith”.

We walk up the staircase, our cell phone lights leading the way, cautiously open the hostal door, to be greeted by… no one. A few moments later, an older English man staying at the hostal kindly shows us to a room with some beds, and we plop down, exhausted from our days travels. So unfortunate there is a loud party going on outside the room, and snorers within the room.

The following day, we once again spend the day sightseeing by foot. Sam (name has been changed to protect the non-innocent) demands a wheelchair. I buy ear plugs. Sam pees in a bush because he is too cheap to pay .35€ for a toilet. Life is good.

Cute French street side cafe

The next day, we travel to Montercarlo, Monaco, home to 007’s gambling spree in “Casino Royal”. Sam, the big spender, gambles 5€, loses 4€ and calls it a day. We walk (S wheelchairs) past a sea full of yachts, and I ask Bharath whether he`d rather have a yacht or a jet-ski. He responds, ” I’d take the yacht, sell it, buy the jet-ski, and invest the rest”; what an i-banker! Strolling along, Sam points out a yacht with a heli-pad, 2 jet-skis and a boat ON the yacht. It`s a rough life…

Monte Carlo Casino

Yachts galore!

It’s A Small World Afterall :

As I am about to walk out the door of our hostal, I notice a vaguely familiar face. When I ask the girl I run into where she is from, she replies “Dallas.” Upon further inquisitions, I find out she is from UT and her, Sam and I actually worked on a biology project together sophomore year of college. What a small world!

Longhorn Reunion

Beach with the fellow Longhorns

*Interesting Find* Sam’s rendition of the “Cost, Time, Quality” business triangle is “Effort, Money, Starvation”. Because he is unwilling to expend too much effort to walk towards food, and too much money to pay for food, we have noticed he normally chooses starvation.

Original Triangle

Sam’s version

The French Promenade

“You should rollerblade up and down the promenade–its right up your alley!”, states Steve, who spent a month studying French here in Nice, France. The physical activity, he is correct, is right up my alley. The fact that I dont know how to rollerskate? Just a technicality. I get a crew together consisting of Will and Renée, our French Canadian friend, and we set out to commence the rollerblading adventure!

Suiting Up

At the skate shop, I am the only one who opps for protective gear. As it turns out, the protection was a very good move…

Within a few minutes of rollerblading along the coast, where the path is paved and smooth, we see there is construction blocking the rest of our way. Not one to be turned away, we continue along the streets of Nice. That’s right, along the bumpy, cracked streets that require quick stops and fast releases to cross the street and avoid cars. It’s really too bad I don’t know how to stop on rollerblades. I have a small run-in with a street pole (the street pole wins), but it only gets better….

2 hours later, I am slightly getting the hang of this new sport, until we cross a busy interaction which quickly turns into another street. I am going too fast to jump the curb onto the sidewalk, and I am instead skating uncomfortably quick in the street, with a parked car about 50 feet ahead. Debating how to stop, the decision is quickly answered for me. A car pulls up rapidly behind, honks loudly, curses in French, and makes a sharp turn to avoid me. The parked car is now a mere 10 feet in front of me, and I know I must stop myself before going headfirst through the back windshield. Throwing my arms in front of me, I Superman dive headfirst into the pavement, skidding to a stop a mere feet from the parking car. I pause for a split second, send a quick prayer I have made it out alive (okay, that’s a lie, I don’t pray), launch myself onto the sidewalk and pause to reflect on how remarkably uninjured I am. 30 more minutes of dodging pedestrians, cars and my own shattered confidence, and I miraculously make it back to the skate shop, where I gladly return my skates. Good riddance!

Pre Accident, still smiling

Post Accident, turned that smile upside down

Next stop: Rome, Italy to do as the Romans do…

Au Revoir!

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