|A retreat for the well-being of my mind from the insanity of the life that is mine.|
Friday, December 23, 2005 0 comments
Hey everyone, if you haven’t already guessed it I’m in France for the holidays…
Its cold, I’m bored, and its been days since I’ve even been on the Internet. For those of you who don’t know, I’m staying at my grandparents villa here in Nice at a place charmingly called Les Hauts De Vaugrenier, which is a kind of retirement residence par excellence. Normally a great vacation locale with endless activities to partake in during the summer time (such as swimming, tennis, going down to the beach to ogle the half naked women, drinks on the verandah, etc.) it is next to DEAD in the winter.
This combination of factors has now resulted in me being cooped up in their house for days on end (since I don’t have a license to drive here AND there’s no public transport to the city which is 4km away), inevitably getting fat on good food without any recourse for a single bit of exercise thanks to the cold weather and the fact that my tennis shoes are falling apart. And with the grandparents, it’s a bit like being Peter Pan in Neverland – despite being 25 (and my brother being 21) we’re still treated as though we were, respectively, 10 and 8 (as the case well may be if you take into account our mental behavioral patterns). That, and they seemingly LOVE to argue with each other at every available opportunity.
The days pass by with alarming slowness, punctuated only by my long walks throughout the domain (which is, admittedly, incredibly beautiful), a suicidal desire to steal the car and escape, getting hammered by my brother’s Jujitsu (ouchie), watching endless quantities of non-cable TV, and sitting in front of my laptop continuously attempting to connect to the internet in a futile quest to alleviate my boredom and communicate to other people out there…
Anyhow, presented below are the posts I typed about the course of my stay thus far.
I hope you guys are having a better time than I am because my individual freedom and social life is currently non-existent.
Happy holidays indeed.
Its been a busy few days. As some of you may have noticed I’ve been working late in the office for the past few nights (mornings?) in order to accomplish my part of the bargain/bribe that my boss set for me as a condition for my trip. Heck, Monday night found me in the office until 5am in a vain attempt to try and accomplish all that was set before me prior to my departure the following evening. Of course, what DIDN’T help were the copious quantities of alcohol and awesome food that Vikram and his family made at his house-warming earlier in the evening – followed by coffee with Chen Hoe.
The manic pace of activity followed on throughout the whole of Tuesday (broken only by lunch with Audra – ta!) and, in typical style, I ended up leaving the office at 7pm – giving me a cool hour and a half to pack my things. Suddenly realized that I hadn’t changed any money so I did the best that I could – withdrew Rm1000 (my debit card’s limit) exchanged it for 200 Euros (ouch!) and used the rest to get myself grandparents a Christmas gift in the form of a bottle of Chivas and a carton of smokes on the plane for a cool Rm38 (remember, its cheaper if you buy it IN the plane)…
The trip itself went ahead as expected mind you… As usual, our MAS flight from KLIA was delayed and i could only sleep for the first 3 hours of the 16 hour flight. On the up side, I did manage to lose to Paul at multiplayer Reversi, sneak a peek at Afghanistan as we passed on by, and FINALLY catch the very cool (loved the beginning and the end) Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind.
We arrived in Zurich really early in the morning – 6am I think. Snow was pretty much everywhere and we had to wait for a few hours so I spent the time chain smoking or browsing and watching my father going nuts with the chocolates. The short hop over to Nice was made all the better due to the fact that the view from the (admittedly small, noisy and scary Swissair) plane of the Alps and the Massif Central was crystal clear throughout, allowing a magnificent god-like view of the topography and letting my brother and I spot Lausanne, Geneva, Lyons, and even Monaco all the way down to the aptly named Cote d’Azur…
I love traveling.:)
Day 1: Bonjour!
Hrmmm… actually, I did next to nothing today. I’m sure this will be a recurring theme throughout this vacation.
Arrived at the airport to a clear blue and somewhat frigid Mediterranean winter’s day to the warm hugs and greetings of my grandfather (here forthwith known by his pet name to us kids – ‘Papy’) and our old family friend Albert. During the trip back to the villa I couldn’t help but notice that not much had changed in Nice during the intervening 4-5 years since I had been here last. Everything was where it was supposed to be, save for a brand new beachfront boardwalk and some major road construction that gave us some serious traffic snarls.
Arrived at the villa – met up with my grandma(‘Mamy’ to me and Paul) had some aperitifs, unpacked, proceeded to have a sneezing fit in the house (another recurring theme throughout the trip I’ll wager) and generally settled down for a life of listlessness for the next 14 odd days…
Still, the first thing Paul and I did was to take a walk down to the nearby village that services our residential area. Not a WiFi hotspot in sight. Still, nothing’s changed and we got to check out the clubhouse, swimming pool and lake around which we spent many summers of our youth terrorizing the kids, ducks and whatnot (hehehe). Only problem is – its winter and EVERYTHING is closed.
Lunch was good – some sort of pork stew with a black olive base – and, either due to my sudden bout of hayfever/allergy or the lack of sleep during my trip – I proceeded to fall asleep for the next 6 hours.
Woke up for a dinner of smoked jambon cru (a kind of special salty ham), fish soup, terrine (minced meat) and pate – did absolutely NOTHING except whine with Paul over how little we could do and then got into a tiny bed with Paul for a restless night of sniffling, blanket tugging, and cursing at the ineptitude of the heater in our room.
Day 2: Out And About
A good day. Or, rather, a better one.
Woke up for our typical French breakfast which consisted of bowls of hot chocolate and toasted baguette. Most sorely missed was the camembert which in years past greeted us at the breakfast table. Seriously, there’s nothing quite like dipping camembert on toast into your hot chocolate to pick you up in the mornings.
It was sorely missed (pauvre Paul!)…
Anyhow, tagged along with my parents to town. They had to take care of some stuff at the bank which afforded me and my brother the opportunity to aimlessly meander around town to take some pictures and to try and locate a cybercafé of some sort (which we did find in the end – but at 6 Euros an hour, Rm 27, I doubt if we’ll be visiting it with any regularity).
Went to the massive CAP3000 mall for a lunch of crepes. Had my traditional two Paysannes (two sausages, cheese, and egg in a crepe) with a glass or two of Brut followed by a Valencienne crepe (crepe with hot, steaming chocolate in the middle)… mmm…
Spent the rest of the day browsing through various French comic stores and looking for gifts but left empty handed. On the up side I managed to get a shirt as an Xmas present from my grandparents – amazingly with little fuss or argument.
Came back home, did next to nothing, went for a walk to the nearby village (again) because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. Had a coke and threw stones at the ducks.
I am mind numbingly bored.
Dinner consisted of more soup and some prawns with mayo. Bleah.
Watched soccer in the evening for the most part followed by the very cool Empire HBO inspired mini-series.
Did some work and then hit the sack at 10pm along with everyone else.
I want to go home godammit.
(crap, unable to load any pics at the moment but i'll try and rectify that)
Oh btw, if i'm unable to post again any time soon - merry Xmas everyone! ;)
Name: Patrick Pincon
Studied at: Monash
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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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