Note: This entry is labelled as being my December 14th entry. It was emailed from France to my Notify list and posted to my website upon my return home.
Being six time zones away from home is quite disorienting. Okay, so it's not quite as strange as when I was in Sydney; then I wasn't even in the same day as back home... still it is odd to be so out of synch with friends and family... I'm typing this about five o'clock in the afternoon here in Nice but it is eleven o'clock in the morning back in Rhode Island. They won't even be having lunch for a while and I've just phoned Sully to see what time tonight he'd like to get together to go out for dinner. (I'm the one with the rental car.)
We survived teaching this week's class and got the classroom set up for next week's class yesterday afternoon, so today has been a rest day... And we really needed one... counting travel time from the U.S. plus time for installing software, etc., plus class and lab exercise time, I've got around sixty-five hours of work accounted for as of when we walked out of the classroom yesterday... plus the on-going fatigue of jet-lag and lack of sleep during the week.
On Wednesday night I had spotted an Indian restaurant in the zone pietonne (the area with pedestrianized streets) and, since I really enjoy Indian food, we decided to eat there last night. Naturally I could not find it again. *sigh* So we picked one of the many restaurants on Rue Massena and I had pizza again.... which I enjoyed, but maybe we can find the Indian place tonight.
The weather was cool when we got here... probably in the upper fifties during the day, falling into the forties overnight... but colder weather has moved in... and today is downright cold! I went to sleep around ten-thirty last night and didn't get up until around six this morning -- I'd set a wake-up call for six-thirty (dial 26 on the phone followed by the time, so a six-thirty wake-up call would be 260630) but woke up about twenty minutes before the phone rang. I went out for a run -- shorts, long-sleeved t-shirt, gloves -- it was brisk -- no, it was cold! -- and windy -- but once I got moving it was not too bad -- crossed La Promenade des Anglais so I could run on the very wide sidewalk (which even has bicycle lanes) that runs along the beach side of the street. I ran about two kilometers and then turned around and ran back. I grabbed a cup of coffee from the lobby, came upstairs, took a long hot shower, surfed the television a bit, got dressed and went down to the lobby to check email.
They have two PCs in the lobby for guests to use... and they have an Internet connection so I can get to my yahoo email... I have logged on three or four times this week and have finally been able to work my way through the email that had been accumulating... and also reading some of the journals I follow (the connection is not all that fast and also some sites don't ever seem to load)... These machines both have French keyboards... The Q key and the A key are switched as are the W and Z keys, the M key is about where the apostrophe would be on an American keyboard (and I have yet to figure out where the apostrophe has ended up), the comma is moved over one position to where the M would have been, and the period is also moved one to the left, but it is now a shift character.... and the numbers are where you would expect, but they are also all shift characters now... I may not be a professional calibre typist, but I am a touch typist and those keyboards make it extremely difficult for me to type anything (as those of you who have received email from my firstname.lastname@example.org account this week can testify) [All of the machines in the classroom have American keyboards.
I went for a walk this morning and bought a pastry and a second bunch of postcards and some French magazines to bring back for the kids (Sean is taking French in high school... perhaps he can earn some brownie points for bringing some things in French)... Dropped that stuff off in my room and went out again to take a walk on the beach... Most of the beaches I've seen further down the coast, around Antibes, etc. and the Nice beaches closer to the airport are sandy beaches, but the area by my hotel is part of at least a mile or more of rocky beaches, round smooth stones and gravel instead of sand... there are also some piles of large rocks, boulder-sized... and with the stiff wind today the surf was pounding in sending spray flying in the air... I was freezing... then took a walk along the street behind the hotel... stopped in a small market and bought another six pack of water and then stopped in another small shop and bought a sandwich (a short baguette of bread with slices of chicken and tomato and lettuce) which I brought back to my room to eat... after eating I addressed postcards... and then felt very sleepy so I took a short nap... oh, okay, about and hour and a half...
After my nap I went back out and bought some stamps (more than twenty dollars worth -- a lot of postcards) and mailed them... and then tried to find someplace to get a cup of coffee... no luck... French businesses are very strange... they are open at odd hours and seem to be closed on random days of the week... This shop is closed on Tuesdays, that shop is closed on Fridays.. makes no sense to me... and they have very restricted hours (outside of the zone pietonne and the real tourist areas)... There were bars and full restaurants... and places that sold pastries and/or sandwiches as take-away... but the coffee/snack shops were all already closed for the day... at least all of those I encountered along several business blocks... and I was freezing (high for the day was 43 degrees F but the windchill factor made it around 33 degrees) so I came back to the hotel and had a three dollar cup of coffee at the hotel bar (but it was very good strong black espresso)...
My laundry was just delivered to the room (could not pack enough clothing for a two week stay) -- if you've ever had laundry done in a hotel you have some idea as to just how expensive that can be -- when my flight home from Oslo was cancelled and I had to stay over an extra night the laundry charge was more than fifteen dollars -- I've just had five shirts, three underpants, and three pairs of socks done -- I was about to say more than six hundred francs but I see that the bill has been done in Euros -- a total of 66.33 euros -- I'm not sure what the current exchange rate is, but that's somewhere between $55 and $60 -- hmmm, guess that's not bad for hotel laundry service.
Just back from dinner, almost ten p.m. (or, almost four p.m. EST)... we didn't recognize it at first, but it was the same restaurant we ate at on Monday night. Sully and I both ordered salade Nicoise (lettuce and tomato and scallion and tuna fish and hard-boiled eggs, etc., yummy) and I (of course) ordered pizza Riene (tomato and cheese and ham and mushrooms) and a carafe of red wine and Sully ordered bouillabaisse -- expecting a dish of fish soup, but what he got was an incredible assortment of sea food, lovingly transferred from a huge platter to a big soup dish by a special waiter, and then covered with quantities of soup. He ate until he could not eat another bite and yet there was still enough left to feed another person. He had neglected to order a drink so I filled his wine glass and ordered another carafe of house red... the waiter also brought two different plates of bread and a bottle of olive oil seasoned with very hot peppers (something I fell in love with on my previous trip to Nice; in fact, my daughter bought me a very nice bottle of olive oil with hot peppers for this past Christmas... which has been empty for months, I need to get some more)... and I was about two sips of wine from feeling I shouldn't be driving.... back at the hotel, Sully detours to the bar (he is fond of Absolut) and I come back to my room and my laptop because I am fond of you, my readers)
Tomorrow I think I am going to try to find my way to the Matisse Museum... and maybe to another art museum if I can find my way around Nice... bon soir, mes amis.