5 January 2014
I have worked with a lot of foreign companies and have many foreign friends. They are quick to agree that the US have the worst vacation and sick day policies in the world.
This concept of working harder and longer hours, which is exacerbated by the rise of start-ups, where one is so passionate about one’s job, one is willing to do it freely and happily but I am going to admit, I hate it. If people truly love their job because it is their vision and goal in life, I’m very happy for them. But for the most part, people work to get by paying bills and keeping oneself with modern accommodation and luxury.
As much as I love not returning to work, it was as if the universe was listen to my dread that caused Lufthansa to cancel our flight, forcing me to use the last 2 vacation days. On the brighter side, at least it was in Nice and not some backwater town which I don’t know the language.
Acknowledging and settling into the fact that I would be in Nice for a few more days, I had to let go of my worry, leaving my dog with his nanny for 2 more days and wondering if there was enough food for our cat we left behind, all alone.
Since France is pretty much a Catholic country, Sunday the 5th started with many shops closed or opened much later on Sunday. It happened to also be the day of the Prom’Classic, a 10KM in Nice along the Promenade des Anglaise. Taking a seat by the window of Baltazar Cafe, we got a view of the start of the race, where people zoom off in waves based of their marker, some of whom dressed as champagne bottle, bananas, and various other things.
The Promenade des Anglaise makes the perfect steady route, scenic and beautiful divided into 2 portion for through traffic, thus allowing for the same return route without bumping into slower runners.
Translated as the English Promenade, it was built by the suggestions of British wealthy businessmen and aristocrats who vacationed in Nice, which was a relatively small town, its inhabitants living further away from the sea, now known as Vieux Nice. The buildings, the promenades, and the shops all along the Côte d’Azur were the venture of tourism from the British, hence the name of the walkway.
As the maddening rainy weather had pulled out of Nice early morning, the gray clouds parted way around 9, runners sprinting off at 10AM, leaving locals and spectators to turn their attention to the rough sea water, large waves crashing on the stoney, pebble beach. Many of the fast runners were already nearing the finish line an hour or so later.
As shops were slowly opening, we found baguette, cured meat, and mustard chips, having a light fare for brunch and snack. It is much cheaper than eating out and better than venturing to the local McDonald franchaise that sat directly below the hotel.
The sun came through and dispersed the clouds leaving bright blue skies, beckoning people to come out and enjoy her mercy. I partook in the warm weather and sunny disposition, getting a nice tan.
Rows of benches and verandas, painted white rails, and laid out stones gave the walkway a haven for walkers, bikers, runners, and photographers alike. Little to no artists were around as the promenade filled with tourists.
Classic French fleur de lis architectural ogee lined some of the older buildings, palm trees wrapped in holiday lights dividing the medium to direct motor traffic. The gaudy Palais de la Méditerranée stands out like a sore thumb with its bright casino light next to the classic Royal Luxembourg.
Down the promenade, the dome of the Le Negresco sits firmly at the inner bend of the harbor, its name hard to read from years of being beaten by sun and wind. The glaring sun blinds the eyes, showering the sea with lights brighter than any neon.
Unlike Bogliasco, Nice does not have the charm of a secretive harbor, the sound of waves dragging the pebbles is lost to the traffic of feet and wheels.
It has a lovely view, restaurants and food abundantly flowing, smell of fried seafood carried by the wind, and the people are pleasant. The cliffs on one side, the airport on the other makes Nice feel like an mirage on a desert by the sea. Its history, mystery, and charming picturesque scene is deflated by tourism and commercialism.
We had an early dinner at a random restaurant, Mori Bar, enticed by its variety of paella. Surprisingly, the paella de marisco was quite good. Pleased with dinner, we moseyed down to a nearby cafe, Caffe Vergnano 1882 for dessert coffee and lemon sfogliattelle, much like a mini Lobster tail, one would find in Little Italy NYC.
Resting in bed for the night, I watched as news of frigid weather and rain and ice grips the northeast of the US. Flights were cancelled and rerouted all over the state. News of a plane skidding at JFK runway while taxi-ing made me glad we didn’t try to find a way to Frankfurt to catch our Sunday flight back to Newark.
If it was meant to be that our flight was delayed for better weather, I’d rather wait than return on a turbulent ride and messy arrival.