Sex on the Beach and Other Nice Observations
It’s simply impossible not to have fun in Nice, in spite of some tense moments with my “copropriéte” (homeowner association). The weather has been PERFECT — mid 70s, sunny or partly cloudy, breezy…delightful. It’s unusually cool for this time of year, but who’s complaining?
Nice is so different from Paris, it’s puzzling. The pace is slower, the people are happier, the relationships one makes are more open and easier. Our community of expats who have moved here within the last few years has become a friendly cohesive group who regularly get together and it’s so easy to do so. Several times we were able to pull together a group of 10 or more and have a big choice of restaurants which can easily accommodate us, who have tables “en terrasse,” as is Niçois style. In this weather, isn’t that the perfect way to dine?
My only complaint this go-round is that the powers that be are setting up big stages for the upcoming “Fête de la Musique” this week RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF PLACE MASSENA. This means the tramway isn’t running between the Masséna stop and Opéra stop, causing real havoc in the flow of vehicle and foot traffic and transportation, not to mention how the entire area is now an eyesore, rather than its usual beautiful self. Surely they can find a better place to set up the massive stage? I suppose not.
Work mixed with personal affairs mixed with partying has kept every minute since I arrived on Thursday filled with activity. Friday was a big day because I had the annual copropriété meeting about which I wrote in Thursday’s French Property Insider. It was as torturous as I expected it would be and I learned something very important about dealing with the French as an American coming from a different cultural default mode. Even after 25 years, I cannot think like the French and that has gotten me in trouble from time to time, as in this instance. It wouldn’t surprise me if every American living in France has had similar situations — at least knowing that I wouldn’t feel quite so stupid as I do at this moment.
While I recognized my neighbors’ status in the Nice community as very important, I forgot that with that comes a certain level of “bourgeoisie” attitude and it’s that I underestimated. This “affluent and often opulent stratum of the middle class who stand opposite the proletariat class” (Wikipedia.org), have expectations of others to behave by their rules, with little tolerance for behavior that doesn’t fit their idea of “correct” or what the French call “politesse.” This unknowingly-made mistake of mine, done for whatever reason I can’t remember since it took place four years ago, and since I didn’t quite know the “rules,” it seems I may have inadvertently insulted them and that’s what’s started the entire attack against me and my immediate next door neighbors (although I am the one who has born most of the brunt of their wrath).
If they should happen to read this and recognize themselves, it’s likely going to cause another culture clash. But, while I respect theirs, I’m entitled to mine, too. We just need to recognize it for what it is: a clash, and move on to a higher plane. I am hoping to do that. This means facing one another one-to-one without lawyers and solving the problem together, rather than competing with one another in a battle of egos. Saturday, I made the effort by leaving a nice bottle of wine with an apologetic note asking politely to meet before I leave Nice. So far, that has sufficiently greased the wheels and they are willing to meet, so finding the right time is the only thing standing in our way. If it has to wait till I return in July, then so be it, but I will continue to pursue a personal encounter. The truth is, I don’t expect them to change their demands, although at least we’ll be communicating directly rather through lawyers who are the ones winning the battle (and the money).
The other and very important reason for my time in Nice was the annual Meet the Authors event, coordinated by Ella Dyer (author of “Nice in Nice”), emceed by me, with eight authors speaking. It was the sixth of its kind in Nice and the third one for me. The attendance was SRO and now we know we need a bigger venue since the event has grown so much. About 60 people gave up their afternoon on the beach to be there and listen to what this eclectic group of authors had to say about their books, their writing life and their experiences as authors. After each spoke, there was a brief Q and A and then a book signing where their books were sold and autographed.
The authors who spoke were (in alphabetical order): Jorge Armenteros, The Book of I, AIR and The Roar of the River; Craig Carlson, Pancakes in Paris; Mike Colquhoun, Returning; Cathie Fidler, In Hazy Zones; Margo Lestz, Berets, Baguettes, and Beyond; M.D. Poole, Dogs Never Lie; T.J. Reilly, Ladies Invited; and Debby Woods, Girl lost – Found in France!
Ella Dyer is already planning the event for next year, so mark your calendars for some Saturday in June (TBD) 2020 for the seventh annual Meet the Authors. Lisa Anselmo, author of My (Part-Time) Paris Life, was sadly missed this time around, as she attended to a family emergency in Florida, but has already promised to be there in 2020.
I managed to get to the beach on Sunday for a couple of hours and never felt “hot” for a second…except when a middle-aged couple positioned in front of me had no shame as they caressed and kissed passionately right there in front of God and everyone. No one seemed to care, and I was amused as I love to watch the shenanigans that take place on the beach in Nice. Besides gazing at the beautiful aqua water, enjoying the sun on my skin and relaxing with a book while listening to music, people watching is the best part. What was particularly hilarious in this instance was when a guy handing out flyers about something (I paid no attention to what) interrupted the couple in the middle of their love-making to hand them one of his precious papers and promote whatever it was that was so important to him! You should have seen the look on the guy’s face as he turned away from his lover to talk to the interloper! I couldn’t catch a photo fast enough…
My House Hunters International buddy, John Garland Jones, sang Sunday night at the Little Rest’O (15, rue Bonaparte) to an adoring group of fans and friends, who couldn’t help but dance to his tunes. He’s really heating up his new sound system! And if you’re in Nice for Fête de la Musique, don’t miss hearing him sing at Le Truc, 78 Rue de France, from 8 to 11 p.m.
Other notes: I spotted Mayor Christian Estrosi walking along the Promenade des Anglais in front of the Balthazar Café, one of my usual writing spots while overlooking the water. For those interested, Henri-le-Cactus is taller than ever as he basks in the sunshine.
A la prochaine…
Editor of Parler Nice
(in Nice, June 2018)
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