Sunday, September 25, 2005

French Riviera Baby!

4 months on the road now.

Bondi has discovered tenants in the flat next door and has gone off to flirt with them several times around breakfast time. No hidden agenda there I'm sure.

David is to meet his friend Jane, who is offering a more permanent share-apartment for him. The instructions to find her look slightly forbidding too - fragments of "take the 4th or 5th exit, I don't remember which" and "at the roundabout, follow the second pigeon". Maybe it's David's handwriting...
Thankfully, it was straightforward finding Jane's apartment near Cannes, 30km west of Nice,. That is, once we'd passed the usual collection of hypoxic sherpas, dizzy mountain-goats and shards of Hebrew-inscribed tablets, on the way down from the Gîte.

After a coffee in her charming garden, and David's acceptance of the apartment offer, we walked down to the local village for a celebratory lunch.
Thunder crackles drove Bondi under our plastic outdoor table for the duration of the meal; his quivering ensuring that the dressing on our salades chèvres were smoothly redistributed. After a carafe or two of rose, we were all quite in sync with his vibrations.

Back at Jane's we completed some email tasks and I finished reading "The Line of Beauty". It was raining softly outside, in an appropriate accompaniment to Hollinghurst's muted ending.

David, Bondi and I drove down to the Antibes marina, which was crammed with infrequently-used vessels ranged in price from the sublime to the entirely unobtainable. First we walked into the old-town pedestrian area and had another coffee, then it was back to the marina's furthest edge where the $$$$ fleet was parked. Jostling for ego-space along this section of the marina, boats competed for adulation with respect to dick- (oops where's the backspace when you need it?) mast-size, number of decks, lighting systems, sand general blinginess. You just knew that the owners had once raced souped-up purple Toranas against the kids from around the corner. Nonetheless they were all just boats, and the crews craned their heads to see the one-and-only Bondi stroll past.
On the way back, we dropped onto a pebbly beach so that Bondi and I could both wet our feet in the Mediterranean for the first time. I'm hoping Bondi's ripples haven't devastated Corsica yet.
Back in the car, we followed the coastline back east towards Nice. The shore is flat, pebbly and mainly forested with inelegant portaloos. Like the much-frequented shores near Provincetown, Mass, your average Australian wouldn't get out of the car if they saw a stretch of coast as unremarkable as this. The multilane road beside it carried us onto the Promenade des Anglais. Here David guided us to a street-van making - he assured me - wonderful pizzas. These we took back to our gîte, with my tummy rumbling all the way up the ridge. They were good.

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