Together We Are Stronger
The train pulled into the Nice-Ville station about 8 p.m. Thursday night. It was very quiet out, as that was past the curfew of 6 p.m. The tram was running so I hopped on it for two stops to Place Masséna. Only a few people exited the tram at the stop, but on the Place, there was not a single soul to be seen. Walking down rue Masséna to my apartment, the only other people on the street were a group of homeless congregating in a doorway they had chosen for the night. Nice was a surrealistic Ghost Town…except for them…and me.
In one sense it could feel creepy to be so all alone, but in another sense, one might feel powerful, as if the entire city belonged to just me for that moment. I had full command of the Place and the street, as I did my senses.
The moment I opened the door to “Le Matisse” (the name I’ve given the apartment), a feeling of unadulterated elation washed over me, like a warm wave of the Mediterranean Sea in all its gorgeous shades of aqua. Henri-le-Cactus and his buddy, Henriette, were welcoming, but thirsty, even for two very resilient cacti. The first order of business, even before unpacking, was to give them each a drink and to say “Hello, have you missed me?,” then settle in for the night.
Friday, with colleagues Patty Sadauskas and Ella Dyer, we visited an apartment for sale that the owner asked us to represent. It was very well located in Vieux Nice and from the photos seemed to be a perfect match for our market. Unfortunately it wasn’t. In spite of the beautiful and very expensively done decor, 87 steps up just wouldn’t work. Neither would the eyesore view of the rooftop below, nor the too low ceilings in both bedrooms, nor the en-suite bathroom that prevented a guest on the living room sofa bed to enter without disturbing the sleepers in the bedroom. I politely declined the seller’s offer to list it.
Not another moment needed to pass without going over to the waterfront. One look at the sea is all I need to feel fulfilled. The color of the water is always different depending on all the factors that affect it. One hour, or one day different, it can be more aqua, more blue or more silver than the next. It never gets boring to just walk along the “Prom”—the Promenade des Anglais, and I’m not the only one to feel this way.
That afternoon, I received a text message from the city:
- “Bonjour, vous etes inscrit sur vaccincovid19.nice.fr. Vous etes éligible à une vaccination avec le vaccin PFIZER. Muni de votre no d’inscription, prenez RAPIDEMENT rendez-vous pour samedi, mardi ou mercredi sur un créneau disponible, à partir du site internet suivant: vaccincovid19.nice.fr/VC19/RendezVous/IdentificationRDV, ou appelez le 04 97 13 56 00 qui procédera à votre inscription.”
Translation: “Hello, you are registered onvaccincovid19.nice.fr. You are eligible for a vaccination with the PFIZER vaccine. With your registration number, please make an appointment for Saturday, Tuesday or Wednesday at the following website: vaccincovid19.nice.fr/VC19/RendezVous/IdentificationRDV, or call 04 97 13 56 00 to make your registration.”
Not to waste a single moment, I logged on and was able to score an appointment for the next morning at the Palais des Expositions vaccination center. The vaccination center that is nearest me, literally just a block away, was already booked up, so I settled on the next best thing—just a short tram or bus ride away. The entire process took two hours—waiting in line, registering, waiting for the jab, then waiting for the certificate of proof. It was a very homogeneous group in line with me—all 50 years old and up, just about all Caucasian French. I felt like the odd man out among them, although I looked no different in appearance. There were hundreds of people there, perhaps into the thousands.
As of this past Saturday, 5,072,244 people have been given the first dose of the vaccine in France, 7.6 percent of the population. People who have been given the second dose totals 2,220,608 people, 3.3 percent of the population. In this region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 408,427 have been given the first dose, a percentage of 8.1. (Source)
The technician who administered the vaccine was lovely (a woman) and the jab was painless. My daughter, who is anti-vaccine, texted me the next day: “Did you grow a third leg yet?” I have since had no reaction whatsoever, except for a slightly sore arm. I hope she isn’t disappointed to hear that, as it thwarts her fears of side effects.
Saturday and Sunday, because a weekend lock-down was enforced, the Promenade des Anglais was closed off to traffic. People were walking, jogging, biking, scootering and skating down the middle where cars would normally be. The silence was acute and yet, music to our ears. We wished it would always be like that, but we know better. Let’s enjoy it while we can, I thought. Both days, the sea was its bright beautiful aqua self and the sun shone brightly. Confinement didn’t feel so bad at the water’s edge.
Twenty-eight portraits of women have taken over the Prom opposite the Palais Méditerranée to “give a message of hope.” The exhibition was first displayed in Paris before it made its way down to the Riviera, incorporating eleven portraits of women local to the area who work for freedom and rights for all women. The exhibition, “Libres et égales,” by Sylvia Galmot, was inaugurated in Nice on March 8th in honor of International Women’s Day, and will remain there for three months.
A lawyer, a journalist, and women from all walks of life and backgrounds are represented “so that each can identify and no longer feel alone.” The number 28 represents the number of days in a woman’s menstrual cycle. One journalist described it as: “Like meeting a group of friends. When you pass under the pergola in front of the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice, 28 women welcome you, look at you and talk to you.”
Famous or not, 28 portraits of personalities, including 11 women from Nice, from all walks of life are hung on the Promenade des Anglais to convey this message of hope: “We are here, free and equal,” said Sylvia Galmot, the photographer behind the exhibition.
The women of Nice who are exhibited “represent this daily and local work for the freedoms and dignity of women,” said Maty Diouf, delegate for women’s rights at the Nice City Hall, who led the project with the help of Laura Tenoudji. She is photographed among them and under her photo it reads:
- Ensemble nous sommes plus fortes. MATY DIOUF est adjointe au Maire de Nice, dé léguée à la Lutte contre les Discriminations, aux Droits des femmes, à la Solidarité Internationale et à l’Action Humanitaire, et Conseillère Métropolitaine Nice Côte d’Azur.
Translation: Together we are stronger. MATY DIOUF is deputy mayor of Nice, dedicated to the Fight against Discrimination, for Women’s Rights, for International Solidarity and Humanitarian Action, and as Metropolitan Councillor of Nice Côte d’Azur.
Yes, together we are stronger, whether we’re fighting for women’s rights or pulling together to beat Covid-19. I’m trying to do my part.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian gets her first vaccine jab