Saturday, July 24, 2004
"living large." A colleague and I had the day to kill, so we got up early
(after a grossly inadequate sleep, in my case) and drove into Cannes.
Against all odds we found a parking garage not far from the point of
embarkation for les bateaux au St. Tropez, and grabbed the mid-morning boat
after a short pause for a cappucino reload.
The trip takes about ninety minutes, and the scenery is quite nice. Not as
awesome as the fjords of Norway or as mysterious as the phallus mountains of
the Li River, but easily the equal of, say, the coast of California. Of
course, the tiny little people visible on the coast are even more socialist
than Norwegians, Chinese or Californians, but that is really neither here
nor there, so to speak.
In any case, we arrived at St. Tropez at 11:30, and booked our return for
4:15. So we had to use our time efficiently. As will be obvious to the
reader, efficient we were.
The two of us are very easy to please, in that we are willing to make one
attempt at seeing the big sight in town - in this case a fortress - but are
also able to deal with the fact that it was closed for two hours in the
middle of a Saturday during peak season. Suffering that one defeat, we were
content to wander the town's streets looking for optimal cafes. That we
did, and in five hours drank beer three times, ate one croque monsieur (the
world's ultimate expression of the ham and cheese sandwich), and slammed
down some excellent ice cream. We also ogled all the beautiful yachts, and
the very beautiful people on their decks, and walked along a couple of the
narrow little gravelly beaches.
OK, three beers, a ham sandwich, and a public ferry ride really isn't living
large, at least compared to partying on a huge yacht recently arrived from
the Cayman Islands, but it beats sitting around a "several" star hotel
watching the BBC and hoping for a good internet connection.
Frankly, the yacht society of the Cote d'Azur looks like a giant amount of
fun. This time of year they are stacked up in the harbors from Monaco west
to Nice, Antibes, Cannes and St. Tropez, and probably dozens of lower rent
burgs in between. Some of these babies are so huge they look like small
cruise ships, and they have to anchor offshore. Others, still large enough
to make an Atlantic crossing, back up to the quais and host seemingly
endless floating cocktail parties. These boats come from all over the world
- the huge ones all seem to have vaguely Arabic names and show "Doha" on the
stern (no obvious cocktail parties on those), while the smaller ones come
out of suspect banking havens in the Carribean. When four or five boats of
Cayman Islands registry line up together, you get the impression that the
owners might be business associates in addition to fellow yacht enthusiasts.
Indeed, you wonder if they aren't doing business with the sheikhs from
Qatar. But maybe I'm just suspicious.
In any case, it really is amazing how many astonishingly wealthy people
there must be strung along this coastline in July. And why not? Is there
any more lustrous string of harbors than here?
I surf a lot a day, and want to tell you yours is cool: