France ~ Côte d'Azur

Hello peeps, this is the last post to wrap up the trip in France. So the crazy me proposed the idea to Mau if she wanted to take a day tour exploring the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), but that tour started in Nice and we were going to stay in Marseille. She said okay. It's pretty crazy and very very gung ho of us, considering it takes almost 3 hours by train from Marseille to Nice but we actually did that. I was just curious about Nice and Cannes so I guess I was interested in seeing what they're like.

We made it on time. Were rather confused on how to meet the guide that supposed to pick us up but we met him. His name is Arthur and he was handsome and super cute. His company has a weird rule requiring him to dress formally with suit and tie. I was actually smitten by him when I got to talk to him, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's start with the trip and pictures. To be honest, I kinda forget the details of each of the places we saw. First stop was on top of a hill where we had a gorgeous view of Nice. The water and the sky was so blue and I have to admit that it was really really stunning.

I think we saw more of Nice and its beaches on our way back. I've seen the stunning Nice like the picture above, the beach where people suntan in the nude, as well as the city. It's a bit of a contradiction. The city is chaotic like any other French cities that are not small. I remember waiting to cross a street and there were teenagers girls screaming at each others at the top of their lungs. It was pretty scary for me, simply because I think I'm not used to these kinda things in the proper Singapore. Anyway, since we had time to burn when we were waiting for our train back to Marseille in the evening, we managed to go to FNAC and I got a picture book. I haven't started reading it though. Somehow I think it's important to get a book, one to help me improve on the language, two ... well just because I suppose to be the geeky one who reads :P Anyway I was rambling away there.

After that photo stop above, we went to Fragonard Perfume Factory in Èze. I love perfumes!!! We saw how they make soaps and perfumes and then we were given some perfumes to smell. I wish I can buy a lot of things there but in between not having much space in my luggage and not suppose to spend too much money unnecessarily, I only got 1 bottle. Then we explored Èze a bit. I remember thinking that it was quite pretty.

Then we were off to Monaco. I have to say it is a very very rich place. You can feel the rich atmosphere :P There were many yachts and when we were there, they're also preparing for the F1 race which took place at the end of May. The palace was a bit under renovation, it seems. I guess because the Prince is getting married in July, they are sprucing things up. Arthur did say that they are trying to fix everything so that everything will be ready to welcome all the guests for the wedding and obviously they want the wedding to be bigger or at least matches Prince William's. So anyway, in front of the Saint Nicholas Cathedral (where the wedding will take place), I had a little conversation with Arthur. Well he started it, asking me where I arrived from that morning. I asked if he's french because his english is pretty good and I wondered if could it be he's from Monaco. That would be something, wouldn't it? Meeting a citizen of Monaco. Well he's french, was bornt in St Barts, but moved to Paris when he was 2. He said the reason why his english is good is because he studied for his master degree in the United States. He tried to explain to me where St Barts is exactly but we just settled that my geography knowledge sucks and he laughed. Man! He's so cute when he laughed :P The curious me apparently wasn't satisfied that I told him his name was misleading and I asked if his dad was British. He said that yeah it's rare to see one being named Arthur but he said he sees more and more kids with that name but he's the oldest one he knows :P I asked what's the french version of it, it's basically the same, just with different pronunciation, that got us really laughing :D Anyway, on our way back from the whole trip, we found out he has a girlfriend (Sad!!! They always have someone, don't they? or gay?). His master degree was for Marine Biology from the University of Hawaii. Upon finding that, I exclaimed, you should be a scientist! In which he said, I am a scientist. So the curious (or kaypoh me) asked, why are you doing this then? He said when he was graduating, there wasn't any decent paying job. There was one in Kenya but the girlfriend wasn't ready to move there. Then there was a job offer from Exxon but he promised his teacher not to take it. Well he did get the scientist job in Nice but it's starting in June, so I guess meanwhile he's just doing this whole tour guide thingy. You know regardless of me being so "kaypoh", I did hold my tongue and I didn't say, well I hope you really end up with your girlfriend because you are making a life changing decision based on her. See, I guess I really don't know what it's like to have that one great love in which you are willing to let go big things in your life. I like to think that, that great love will always be there no matter what and allow me to reach the things that I want to reach. Let's hope that I'll have it someday and I'll let you know what it's like, if it's worth sacrificing the things in your life or if it's really like the fuel that help you reach your goal in life. Maybe it's both :)

Hmmm ... upon writing all this, I feel it's very very bad of me to be writing this guy's life here. I know I would feel rather annoyed and shock if someone write such details description about me online without asking my permission. Hmmm ... well maybe he will never find out? If he does, he seems like a nice guy and I will be more than happy to remove all that I wrote about him. So anyway, that's Arthur. Mau was amused in seeing how taken I am by him :D Well it's always nice to see a handsome nice guy!!! and he's real nice. Well maybe he's required to, to be polite and all, but he seems genuinely nice. I am blinded :P Okay, enough about the boy. So this is Fontvieille, Monaco. For more picture of Monaco, you can go here.

After Monaco, we went to St. Paul. There's a lot of art shops / galleries there. Some are interesting. Again like all the places in Côte d'Azur, this place is also for the rich and famous. Apparently Michael Schumacher recently bought a property there.

Next stop was Cannes. Err ... I can't say much about Cannes. People were preparing for the film festival at that time and by the beach they also started setting up tents and stages for parties and such.

The last stop was Antibes. We saw the old lighthouse and the view from the hilltop was amazing. The blue water and sky looked rather peaceful. Then we also saw some of the rich yachts docking.

Did I fall in love with Côte d'Azur? I have to say no, not really. Somehow I feel I'm not rich enough for it :P The blue water of Nice is amazing though especially on some part of the beach when there weren't many people. Anyway, I put everything in 1 set in flickr, except for Monaco because it's a country on it's own, you can see them here.

Coincidentally on the flight back to Singapore, I sat next to this french girl from Nice. She looked so young, at most 22, maybe not even 20 yet. I have to say, at my age, other people are most probably younger than me, even perhaps Arthur :( Anyway this young girl was travelling to Bali alone!!! Again the protective older side of me came out, I was praying for her so that she would be okay. It's her first time in Asia. She does speak english but her tendency was to speak in French. She should be back in France now. She said she was going to be spending 12 days in Bali. I hope she had a nice experience and comes back to Bali soon. I'm passionate about people visiting Indonesia :) Anyway it's a totally different place and culture for her. I was really amazed by her. I told her that she's so brave, in which she said thank you, grinning. I admire her. YeeMaggio asked me why I admire her when I had already done a trip alone myself to a far away land, in which she admired me for that. I guess because I did my first trip alone at an older age, with some knowledge of the local language, with a comfortable amount of money. To be travelling alone to a far away land at this girl's age was just amazing for me. I do have to say, everyone has their own time in this world. I don't think I was ready to be travelling alone at her age. God gave me the right time for my journey and with that faith, we should believe that whatever it is, it will come at the right time for us. Okay, so that's it guys, the end of the France part. I actually feel a tiny bit sad now :P It's like closing a chapter but I do have to start the Spanish chapter and I'm kinda very interested to see the pictures. It's late, buonanotte tutti!

:) eKa @ 10:42:00 PM •

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