Trip Start Dec 11, 2012
Trip End Oct 17, 2013

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Flag of France  , Provence,
Monday, April 22, 2013

Perhaps in an attempt to bring us closer to home, Claudia and I have developed a terrible habit of talking like boitjie jocks ("cha bru!"s are flung around far too liberally by anyone's standards, though we have yet to dig into the "hey China!" drawer...). So no one was more surprised than us when we arrived at our hostel in Nice to discover an entire clan of South Africans from behind the boerewors curtain.
The receptionist eyed us wearily. "Ahh, more South Africans... How long are you planning on staying?"
"Only three nights," we told him.
"That's what they all say," he sighed heavily. "Then before you know it, they've been here for six weeks."
It turned out that all the South Africans were yachties (boat speak for yacht workers. Yes, we are now in the know) looking for work. Hence, weeks spent dock-walking and handing out CVs, whilst simultaneously partying it up at the hostel.

The next day we went on a walking tour (no funny umbrella for our guide - a baguette seemed to suit him just fine). Probably the best part was when we all decided to applaud our guide for no other reason than to make the neighboring tour uncomfortable. Here Claudia and I met an awesome group of five from England. We adopted each other for the rest of the day. Together, we sampled Nice's favorite ice cream store, Fenocchio, a heavenly place with a stand of monstrous proportions to accommodate its 96 flavors (think cactus, apple, avo, mojito, tomato, mango, rose, m&m... Ok, I'll stop now) and explored the rocky and chalky beach (evidently, the universe ran out of sand by the time it got to France). Armed with our bright red hostel t-shirts, a group of us went on the guided (thus making it educational and permissible, as opposed to an excuse to consume alcohol) pub crawl. We shan't go into details, but I got lost in the rain at 2.30 am and Claudia's shoes are now covered in chalk. We finally crashed in our English group's hostel dorm, as we didn't like our one dorm mate (the strange squint, Tourette's and occasional rage outbursts were fine, but the liquid snoring was unforgivable).

A day trip to Monaco was called for. We dragged our new Australian friends, Jono and Gus, along after they failed to procure their tickets to Barcelona. They had offered to share their supper and three bottles of wine with me the previous night and who was I to refuse?! Never before did a bus picnic involve so much coordination and peril as that up to Monaco. The bus was jam packed ("how can they still let people on!! Shoo! No more space! How do you say that in French?") and I was wedged under an old lady's armpit, whilst simultaneously trying not to fall out of the door or drop the precious avocado. It's quite astonishing that Jono managed not to stab anyone with his pocketknife.
Within three hours we managed to tick off quite a bit.
1) walk into the world's most famous casino, Monte Carlo
2) Ensue a koi fish scrimmage
3) get kicked out of a Japanese garden
4) see the world's most famous corner
5) caffeine binge
6) fall asleep on the beach
7) build a phallic statue
8) get in a beach pebble fight (inadvisable)

Deciding to pool our last few Euros together for supper, we spent the entire bus ride back to Nice deciding what to cook. When we finally got off the tram, the heavens opened and we realized the supermarket was closed (it being Sunday and Europe being a bit slow to catch up to our Third World work ethic). Gallantly, Jono and Gus volunteered to search for a shop while Claudia and I went back to the hostel to escape the downpour. We waited. For two hours. Finally, Jono arrived, drenched, a crumpled McDonalds bag in each fist. He slumped down at the table. "I'm sorry guys, but Maccers was the only place open, I swear! We looked everywhere. Do you have any idea how many shops leave their lights on when their closed? Do you?!" We praised their hunter-gatherer skills, even though they had bought 14 burgers for the four of us in their frustration. I suppose every backpacker has to eat McDonalds at some point, right? At least we managed to wash ours down with a bottle of French wine.

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dudley on

It sounds like you are having a rough time, literally and figuratively.

You are having too much fun. How are you going to settle down when you get back?

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