amalthya: (veronica mars: narrating)
Wednesday, 11:09
May 30th, 2007


Wow, it's my last day in France! I just walked down to the city center, mailed my postcards, and had some breakfast.

I couldn't help but think of Seinfeld's Susan as I licked all those stamps -- you'd think that a country that can adopt the Euro would also get on the boat of self-adhesive stamps.

It's really over -- they were taking apart the red carpet today as I walked by. But it's been a wonderful time, and I feel as though I know the city by heart.

Of course, I was imparted with the visions of an old woman with a cane, wearing a black Italian-grandmother-style-dress, walking through the surf and getting her feet wet.

Or two old men, sitting at an outdoor café at the table next to me, smoking cigars and drinking huge mugs of frothy beer... at 10 am on a Wednesday.

My taxi comes to take me to the train station at 3, so I've got a good 4 hours to hang out at the pool, shower, and put on my traveling clothes. I did most of my packing yesterday, and am proud of the way I made everything fit even better than it did on the way over here.

My train leaves Nice at 6-something, and arrives in Florence at 7 am, so I'll be away, but wish me well!
amalthya: (redhead + cat)
Monday 12:40 pm
May 28th, 2007


The wind billows through Cannes like it's trying to get rid of the last of the tourists. As I walked through the festival grounds today, watching them "strike the sets" it struck me as such a different place. Even as of last Friday, the frenetic energy that had been coursing through the Palais was diminished, but today, it was just gone. No more badges, no more twitters of various languages, no more madhouse crowds, no more Festival!

Even the red carpet was dirty and covered in leaves.

I found myself amused too that they'd taken down the Die Hard 4.0 billboard across from the Palais. What, does one just rent the ad space for the duration of the festival and scrap it after those two weeks are up?

The wind today really has been something -- yesterday at the pool they forbade people from using umbrellas because the wind was breaking them all. But today, as I walked down to the Palais, along the beach, I understood why all those desert travelers had pock-marked faces. I still have sand stuck to every bit of me, in my mouth and the crevices of my teeth.

Additionally, how bizarre to see the beaches empty and smooth today, with the wild white waves crashing against the shore. I wonder what all the beach people do when they're not at the beach!

Once again, I was foiled by the Post Office. What the hell is Pentacost Monday? When is the post office ever open? I'll head into town again tomorrow to try to mail my postcards again.

I'm wondering whether I feel like going to Monaco tomorrow, since I don't feel much like gambling and I've already seen all the non-gambling sights. I could just relax poolside and pack. I'll decide later.

I did, however, buy my train ticket to Florence on Wednesday. [livejournal.com profile] infd, could you ask the guy if it'd be okay if I showed up a day early? If not, it's okay. I'm sure I can find another place to stay.

Speaking of where the beach bunnies go when it's too windy to sunbathe, I'm wondering what exactly I'll consume myself with today. It really seems too cold to sit by the pool, and I'm out of books to read (drats!). It seems premature to pack for Wednesday too.
amalthya: (oh really?)


  • There is a little man on a moped who patrols the sidewalk along the beach, and his little moped has two little vacuum cleaner hoses. He vacuums up the dog poop on the sidewalk along that beach. Not trash. Just Poop. That is his job.

  • I'd thought that the fact that there is a Cannes Bentley here that sells nothing but Bentleys to the elitists of Cannes was indicative, but I have to say that walking past the Hello Kitty Victoria Couture shop really opened my eyes.

  • All the people who drive here seem to know one another, and make a point of dangling out of their car/bus windows to greet one another at intersections. Whoever said the French are unfriendly needed to be more specific -- they're unfriendly to the non-French.

  • Every single advertisement for food has a disclaimer that food makes you fat, and you need to exercise in order to be healthy. I wonder if it undermines the corporations, who strive to convince you that "Twix is delicious!!" while a little scroll bar, white on black, tells you sternly that Twix is naughty and full of fat. mangerbouger.fr

  • There are an exceptional number of very hot young girls here. Very hot, and very young. I would imagine most women coming here would be intimidated by it. But I noticed that there seem to be no hot women over 25-30. Clearly, the only rational explanation is aliens. Aliens have come to France, stolen the hot women to breed hot alien hybrids, and left nothing but the ugly French women who live past their 30s.

  • There is porn on regular channels on the TV. And because channels seem to duplicate themselves, it's actually on 3 channels. The same thing. During the day, it's usually just women undressing very slowly, on repeat. There's even porn on Sundays, and it's quite funny to scroll past the channel showing Catholic mass and end up on Porn.
    Often times, it's dubbed over American porn. Who dubs Porn? Can you imagine that on someone's resume?

    Job Experience
    Voiceover Artist, Chocolate Hood Pussy 12, Skank #2

    Special Skills: Convincing French Orgasms (Ooo la la!)


  • They port the strangest American shows here. They've got Law & Order: Criminal Intent except it's called NEW YORK. They also seem to be fond of Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and, of all things, Nip/Tuck. All dubbed into French.

    The funniest thus far has been Les Simpsons which is not only dubbed into French, but the VO actors are clearly hired for their similarities to the original family's voices. They're nearly all dead on -- the Homer, Bart and Lisa especially, but the Marge just CRACKED me up. First of all, Julie Kavner sounds pretty unique, but this woman trying to do some sort of Kavner impression, in French, was too much. Most of the supporting cast sounded completely weird and foreign.

Weirdness

May. 28th, 2007 09:36 am
amalthya: (isolation)
Maybe it's because I'm hungry, or because I'm not used to being in the hotel by myself, but [livejournal.com profile] bigrob left this morning and it feels so strange to be in Cannes without him!

Today I walk into town and mail my postcards, perhaps also walk to the train station and buy my roundtrip ticket to Monaco and my one-way to Florence.

See, the thing is, perhaps 2 weeks is really too long for one town. I've literally walked from one end of town to the other. So it's perhaps good that I go on Wednesday.

I'm so used to/proud of my ability to travel alone.

But I am. I'm lonely. ::sigh::
amalthya: (reading)
Saturday 8:09 pm
Saturday, May 26th, 2007


One of the things you take for granted is the still life of Africa. You look onto the horizon here and see the silhouettes of mountains against the blue of the sea. It reminds me of Nyiragongo, and Congo, and Lake Kivu.

But at night -- that pitch darkness, despite the life on the mountain, is somehow reassuring. Things are still, serene...

It was so shocking to see the mountains bordering the Riviera lit up and sparkling and rimmed with glowing roads and houses and activity.

I'm reminded of sitting on a veranda along Lake Victoria in Uganda, watching the complete tranquility and the small, quivering dotted lights of the intermittent fisherman, nightfishing (though being careful of the shrieking eels).

Today after the rainstorm, I was surprised to look down and see a snail, moving quickly across the wet cement and blending in completely were it not for its little orange-tan shell. I'd always thought that snails moved slowly -- of course that's the old joke -- and while I'd seen giant jungle snails in Kenya, they usually didn't move at all.

But this snail was resolute, and there was a certain elegance to its movement, that although he was obviously undulating and propelling himself across the ground, his little antennae stretched out in front of him. What do snails even eat? I realized I didn't know.

I found it even more interesting than my current book (I'm a biologist for a reason), One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, which I borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] bigrob since I didn't have another book to read. I'd never read it before and I should update it on goodreads per [livejournal.com profile] lauren_lief's example.

Silliness

May. 25th, 2007 11:34 am
amalthya: (gearslut)
I have to say, still reeling from the fun of yesterday. I expect that one of my new backup-jokes-for-any-situation will be my impersonation of those screaming Spanish girls in the video I posted last night.

I also had a hilarious morning, sorting through the photos I'd taken from arm's length away to see if I'd gotten any stellar prizes. I'll steal from my conversation with [livejournal.com profile] mgrasso and say that it was like playing Where's Waldo, except that "Waldo" was George, Brad, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Elliot Gould, or Angelina.

Is that Andy Garcia's profile? Or maybe that's the back of his head?

I think that's the bottom of Angelina's dress in the lower righthand corner!

Oh, see past that guy's arm in the foreground? That's Bai Ling!



And yes, I'm aware that it's completely silly, but I don't care. Nyeh!

Also, the new photos are up. I'm just tagging and noting the famous people in each one. Enjoy the Where's Waldo!
amalthya: (euphoria)
Friday, 12:45 am
May 25th, 2007


There are some days that just make the Cannes experience. They're the celebrity-riddled equivalent of going into a Nile Crocodile pit and helping check a croc's stitches.

Of course, these are superficial and involve Brad Pitt, but they are no less of an experience when compared to the whole of the beast.

Holly and I decided yesterday that we were going to see the Ocean's 13 premiere. We thought that getting there 2 hours ahead of showtime would give us adequate space to situate ourselves in good celebrity-photographing areas, but of course we were wrong.

The day was spent staring at people's asses. Not lovely toned/liposuctioned celebrity asses, but the asses of people who are far from celebrity, and who spend their days on their 10 foot stepladders, keeping the little people from seeing the stars.


... And it was wonderful. Crowded, smelly, surrounding by Denim Underpants, Holly and I braved every bit of discomfort for the chance to be excited and girly for a day. I had been feeling tired and sluggish earlier in the day, but really, the chance to see a big Hollywood premiere movie at Cannes is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you simply. don't. pass. up.

And we did it! Taking photos and video, yelling at people who attempted to elbow their way in, kicking, screaming, become deafened by the screaming of others -- we did it all. After it was done, we felt like we'd been through the trenches together. I decided to take video instead of photo on my camera, because I wanted to remember the whole experience.

And then, for the first time, I enjoyed Cannes at night. Holly and I went and had a nice dinner, and then wandered around, riding the carousel, catching Kimora Lee Simmons and Djimon Houson (sp?) rushing into the theater late to see Ocean's 13.

Honestly, sure, I didn't have a badge, so I didn't get to see films. But today was such a Cannes experience that I will never forget. And hopefully, thanks to my video and photos -- neither will you :)

Now, off to sleep I go! Will write more in the morning.

EDIT:

Check the video of my afternoon:

amalthya: (Hi F)
There's a moment where you look around, and everything around you is just so beautiful that it nearly breaks your heart that you'd never be able to capture it on film.

Everything just syncs together in your mind -- a tune wafting through the air, and the brilliant blue sky emblazoned in the stillness of the water as the tide gently laps the sand.

The sand and sea were the same color, and one could barely distinguish one from the other. There was a thin band of yellow-blue that could barely separate them at the horizon, silhouette by the enormous yachts that sat serenely still on the surface.

And I was so happy.

Today was a wonderful day -- I finished writing the last of my postcards, and I'll go to the post office (which I discovered today) and mail them out tomorrow. I spent the morning with Lloyd Kaufman -- founder/owner of TROMA -- and responsible for such classics as The Toxic Avenger and their new film -- Poultrygeist. Funnily, my mother saw my photos on Flickr and reminded me that I'd played with their daughter at the Junior League as a child and that she was friends with Lloyd's wife Pat. So, that was fun, walking around and talking to him.

Eventually, he needed to go into somewhere that required a badge. Despite my ability to sneak past security early in the day, the Badge Fascists stopped me, so we exchanged mobile numbers.

I then walked over to the beach to have some lunch -- I found this place that was right on the beach and ate a delicious salad. They had chaise lounges also - same as Africa, charging me for the use of the mattress/towel (a nominal fee). And then I sat, writing postcards and sunning myself.

I've never considered myself much of a "beach person" -- I can't imagine that most people from the New England do -- but I'll say that being here definitely acclimates me to the possibility! I did get hideously sunburned without realizing it on my walk to the festival.

But I also met a nice girl from LA and we plan to go and ogle the stars tomorrow at the Ocean's 13 premiere.

It's always amusing how English speakers bind together in foreign lands.

More funny musings:


  • Dr. Scholl has lost his European medical license. In France, he's just Scholl.

  • They have pharmacies everywhere that have Durex condom vending machines outside.



I'm getting continually excited to see [livejournal.com profile] infd, Charles and Yenni in a couple days in Florence. I need to go find out about my train situation to Florence, but of course, tomorrow is Celebrities Day.
amalthya: (love happy calvin)
Tuesday, May 22nd, 1:56 am

I'm feeling completely, utterly happy right now in one of those manic-type excited states. No, I will not drink European soda again.

But I might do some more sit-ups, just for the hell of it.

Just being here, in France, is thrilling. I'm contemplating all the things I will do tomorrow.

I just needed to make note of that :)
amalthya: (oh really?)
Monday 6:54 pm, May 21st, 2007

One of my absolute favorite things about traveling is doing the things in the city of choosing that would ordinarily seem completely plebeian. For example, today I walked through the town of Cannes on my way to the grocery store. I love finding the things in different countries that don't change -- and honestly grocery stores seem to be one of them. As I wandered through the aisles, no one had an idea that I was a foreigner. As I selected my fruits and veggies, I reveled in my cultural anonymity. I even managed to camouflage myself as I went to the cheese counter.

Of course, I pronounce everything in my head first. As I walked through the parking lot, I giggled at a van that had a big dusty back window in which some person had scrawled "wash me, please!"

Honestly, I feel almost guilty when I come to another country and do touristy things. I love acclimating into the local swing of things.

Some things are definitely different. So many people have dogs, but no one seems to be looking for dog-appreciation. You can see a cute dog and smile at the owner, but they don't even notice. I always feel like Americans are cruising for dog-reassurance.

Seeing funny old men out on their balconies is quite something too, with their reddened, leathery skin and hairy French chests. It's so natural.

And yes, ladies sunbathe topless. But when they do push-ups next to their pool chaise, they apparently put on bikini tops. Seriously.




French supermarkets are wonderfully nature-conscious. They don't have plastic bags. You must buy this woven plastic bag. It's sturdy, and costs 59€ (probably about a dollar). You're welcome to bring your own bag, and I'm sure after spending a certain amount of money you'd eventually bring your bag back. But what a wonderful practice to be endorsing! I wish that Whole Foods, at the very least, would start it. Ah well.

And with that, I scurry off to enjoy the rest of the day night!
amalthya: (moving right along)
Sunday May 20th, 10:31 am

I've been itching to email my two French professors to let them know how well I've been doing with the language while here in Cannes. Of course, there are still funny cultural idiosyncrasies -- or just plain idiocy.

A LOVER!

A LOVER!



What's that you say? I read this on several billboards and posters all over town. With phone numbers under it. My my, these French ARE cheeky! With their naked-bottomed post-shower-lotion commercials running on repeat...

...then you realize that it really says A LOUER - meaning, of course, FOR RENT.




I've been doing a considerable amount of exploring since I got here. I don't remember enjoying France this much when I was here in 2002 with Justin, but this trip has been a fair bit more independent for me, a fact that I'm reveling in.

The hotel itself is gorgeous -- Chateau de la Tour -- and I've been enjoying room service and the pool. The first day I was here I sat out reading His Dark Materials by the pool and roasted my legs foolishly. Additionally, whoever heard of a cold water jacuzzi? `

I asked the maitre d' about the cold jacuzzi, in my confidently bad French, saying,

The water in the jacuzzi is cold!

MD': Oui?

Is it always cold?

MD': Oui?


Oh, the French. I won't say my opinion has been totally changed regarding French. Of course, the people themselves are still rude. Oh so rude!




I spent the majority of yesterday standing with the paparrazzim waiting for ___???_____. Things I've neglected to bring to Cannes:

  • My 10 foot stepladder
  • My 4000mm zoom lens
  • My parasol for celebrity-waiting


Silly me. So no, I have not seen any celebrities as of yet -- but I've taken lots of photos and hopefully tomorrow I'll head down to the beach. I also succumbed and bought some fresh (?) Camembert and a baguette. May I just say though, that Frommageries (cheese shop) smell AWFUL. I nearly walked out but the cheese, it held me in its Cthulhu thrall. And I bought some. And it was delicious.

Oh, mopeds are everywhere here, and I saw a couple both dressed literally in black tie, riding mopeds. In evening gowns!

I'm also reminded that really, the architecture here is not unlike that of Congo. In fact, if Cannes was dirtier, I'm not sure that they'd be distinguishable at all.

And for now, that's all! Hopefully I can plug in downstairs in the hotel and send this off to the internets.

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