Sunday, September 7, 2008

On the French Riviera

Hello from France!!! Do you like the new banner? :D

For those of you who don't know, I'm on exchange in Nice, France for a year, to wrap up my undergrad career. I arrived in Nice yesterday evening and - holy moly, but it was hot. And humid! It was such a gross feeling. I was really grumpy to learn that air conditioning in residential spaces are very rare. And I was a little Momsick.

Then I woke up and had a wonderful day! First, I bought and ate the most delicious, airy baguette and chocolate croissant ("pain au chocolat") I've ever tasted at the bakery around the corner. Then, I went out to the breathtaking beach and dipped my legs into the Mediterranean. The water is actually turquoise here! (I'm from Toronto - there are no nice beaches where I'm from.) The gorgeous sea sort of sucks you in. I meant to only get my feet wet, but I just kept wanting to go further and further in after the initial splash.

The trip here was pretty good. British Airways is fantastic. The service is very, very good. The flight attendants are generally very attentive and friendly. And the dinner they served was surprisingly good! There was a diced veggie salad with two generous hunks of feta cheese, roll with butter, grilled chicken breast with ravioli in a creamy pesto sauce (the other option was salmon, which ran out by the time they got to me, unfortunately), cherry (?) cheesecake, a stick of dark chocolate - and free booze!

That's right - British Airways serves free booze, even on shorter flights on smaller planes. They have beer, wines, spirits... One flight attendant was super gracious when a man clearly was asking for a bottle of wine for the flight and one for later.

On my first (longer) flight, I was in an awesome plane where there were screens at the backs of headrests - everyone had their own private system, on which they could watch movies, TV shows, listen to the radio, CDs, the news... I saw an episode of the Simpsons, an episode of Desperate Housewives, most of Bruce Almighty and some of Shrek. I also listened to a playlist of almost 20 songs that I chose myself. But I couldn't sleep, unfortunately.

Then I had to wait at Heathrow for seven hours for my connecting flight - that part wasn't so fun. I mean, there were a lot of fancy duty free shops, but they operate in pounds (you can pay in euros but your change will be in pounds), everything is super expensive, and I'd seen everything there was to see in a couple hours. I didn't want to sleep, either, because I was determined to get my body clock in gear.

People watching in London was something else, though. The gentleman were mostly courteous (and many were handsome with awesome accents!) and the ladies were very fancy. I saw a lady with a Kelly bag in one hand and a HUGE LV carry-on in the other with a frequent flyer tag attached to do. And you wouldn't believe what some ladies wore to fly in - but I suppose their flights were way shorter than mine. I thought it was super lame that you have to pay for wireless, though - and quite a bit, at that.

On my connecting flight, I made friends with this kind lady beside me, who is from the northwest part of Nice. How I wish I kept her e-mail so that I could charm my way to a homecooked meal or two! It was a tough flight though, because I had two very ill-tempered and impatient kids behind me.

When I got here, I was really thrown because of the weather, but I met a really kind local who taught me how to use the bus system. The hotel also really thrown me. It's not cheap at all, but I mean, I wasn't expecting a whole lot. As I was telling a friend today, I thought I'd been to some pretty humble hotels before, but let me tell you, this place brings humility to a whole new level. Let's hope I get all the administrative stuff done soon and that I can find a place to live soon! Thank goodness I'm starting to get used to of the heat and that the other people in my program are awesome!

Will let you know about more of my explorations in the next day or two - meanwhile, have a look at my pictures! And if you want, e-mail me for the link to my personal album!

Looking up at the Promenade des Anglais from the pebble beach - so pretty!

View of the sunset over the Mediterranean - the view from my hotel room window.

There are palm trees everywhere! I'd never seen a real palm tree before, prior to coming here. And the architecture is so beautiful. So interesting. See, that's the difference between Europe and uptown Toronto. Where I'm from, everything is shiny and new, yes. But in Europe, there is so much world history and character in the environment!

1 comment:

Nicole.C said...

ahhh so pretty!!!
You're so lucky, I would do anything to be in France or anywhere else for that matter haha
I can't wait until my third or fourth year, I am soooo going on exchange.
Anyways, glad to hear that you landed safely and I hope you find housing soon!!!

<3 <3 <3