Nice

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I went to Nice on the 4th of August – three weeks after the terrorist attack on their promenade. That trucker had just driven for two kilometers (1.3 miles) across the crowd of people, leaving the boulevard covered with bodies.

When I arrived after my long trip through Monaco, I was hit by the fact that you couldn’t tell Nice had just been through Europe’s Katrina – I found Nice surprisingly similar to New Orleans, yet more discrete [yeah, I don’t know either, is it being French or is it being Nicean?]. In both of these cities you can hear a lot of music and see people living their lives fully, trying to make it up for the catastrophe and create a new order, based on joy and happiness. I’m not saying it works. I’m saying there are people trying to do something good and there are people, who want to be cool. Yes, there’s crime, there’s poverty, there’s desperation. Yet in these two cities you can see rise of the music scene, which helps people deal with what happened through giving them freaking loads of fun. I mean seriously, what’s better than a street brass band? Or all the jazz going on in Nice!

The only sign of anything ever happening was that every time that I tried crossing the street with an English manner, someone would stop me. At some point I said ‘hey, the car was so far away!’. My friends answer was just: ‘dude, we’re in Nice’.

It wasn’t easy to me at the beginning. My CS host, Bryce, disappeared two days before I was supposed to come to Nice (which was on the 3rd), he would not answer my calls, texts, emails… nada. I had to stay a day longer in Sanremo; I contacted Zied, another Couchsurfer who’d agreed before to host me; he said I could come to his place, just he’s got some friends visiting and I can’t tell them about CS, I need to pretend I’m his friend. Ok, Zied, not a problem. The other guy, Bryce, on the 5th he texted me something like: sorry, I forgot, bummer, it’s better you’re not staying with me. What a guy. I kept it cool and polite.

Once Zied opened his door, we became friends. Such a great feeling! And he seemed so active – he cooked, we played music, we spoke about deep stuff, then we went out to the beach, met his friend on the way, I visited a night club for a loo, we played some music on the beach, he went into the water, I just sang even more, we tried finding a place for a beer, yet all of them were serving shitty shitty French bear, so every time we smiled and continued the search; finally we found an interesting one and got kicked out of it, then we sang in the streets and walked home. All of that after 6:30 pm, when I arrived to his place. Awesome, I love active people!

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We both loved ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ and I think we played it so well. I had fun. So much fun.

And then one night out in the city, with his girlfriends and some ice cream, we bumped onto that CS dude, Bryce. He didn’t recognize me first, when I told him he did not apologize. All he did was being a dickhead and hitting on the most lawyer-looking of the girls.

The next day Zied dropped me off on a gas station and I went off to Marseille. Well, not that fast. Actually it was tragic. But I met a Peruvian guy called Genghis Khan. Very handsome. Didn’t speak English at all.

The history of my trip to Marseille will be a separate post, for now I’ll just finish Bryce story. I decided I should have left him a reference and so I did. I wrote that maybe he’s great, I don’t know, yet my experience with him was shitty, I was feeling insecure, stood up, ignored and surprised he didn’t even say sorry when we met’. A month later motherfucker gives me negative reference saying stuff like ‘it was a personal emergency, I explained it to her in advance, she behaved demanding, as if I was a free hostel, she was rude blah blah blah blah’. WTF Bryce? I was extreme angry, that was just so not fair!

The moral is: some people are assholes and some are less.

Check it out:

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Nice

Monkey attack

Hello everybody, finally I’ve put my hands on somebody’s laptop and can update my stories. Let’s start with this one…

Going to Gibraltar I did not know what to expect. Hot and humid or chilly and windy? English or Spanish prices? British or Spanish coffees? So many unknowns… The one I was mostly preoccupied with was: monkeys or no monkeys? – as my host from Benalmadena, Claire, claimed they’d taken them away. [seriously, I was extremely excited about meeting those cuties!]

I started the day from visiting Main Street and finding a Polish guy performing songs by Dzem. I did not say a word about it, because I’m a nice person, yet he must have seen the look of recognition on my face, as he greeted me in Polish. I mentioned it’s shame I didn’t take my baby guitar with me and so he let me play his. I made 50 p during that song – just enough for the rock’s entrance. The universe was playing well that day…

I enter the park, climb the stairs, it’s very hot so I take my shirt off and continue in bra only and I climb up to meet the monkeys (I’ve been already told by my host, Fabio, that the monkeys indeed are up there, just quite vicious and smart; he said: hide away the jewelry, as that attracts them, they also steal food and just whatever they can, really). There’s a Czech/Slovakian family all around me – a lot of people and their kids/babies. Suddenly one of the monkeys grabs that ladies bag… I take a picture, laugh and think ‘eeh, tourists…’.

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As I climb Charles V Wall, karma comes back to me – I get surrounded by 4 monkeys (my jewelry already in the bag), the biggest one (let’s call it BM) stares at my bag, I know what they want from me, so I hug it. BM pulls the bag from the bottom, I pull it back up and we struggle like that for three rounds, with me shirtless yelling ‘no you stupid monkey, give me my fucking things back you bitch, give them back to me!’ and mothers covering their children’s ears. The strap of my camera falls out, so BM moves its focus onto that. We struggle for the camera this time, after a few rounds and me constantly yelling, I bang the monkey with the London Coffee Festival Bag, win the camera over and yet another fight begins, I yell even harder and when BM is getting ready to attack, I just let it go, as I don’t want to end up in a hospital on my trip. The monkey takes out my lunch (packed in a plastic box, a couple of layers of foil and a plastic bag, smart one!), eats it in front of me and at the same time guards the bag so other monkeys can go through it and see if they like anything (surprisingly they don’t, not even the cookies).

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Every time I take a step towards the bag, BM gives me the bitch look (yeah, BM stands for BITCH MONKEY) pulling it’s chin forward and opening it’s eyes wider – so I wait and collect evidence. Finally a guy coming from downstairs manages to distract BM and uses a stick to grab the bag and pass it to me. He says ‘run’ and we (me, him and his absolutely terrified girlfriend) climb up to meet more monkeys. With babies. Doing toilet on the stairs. At that point I’m terrorized by wild animals and passing them by is the last thing I want to do, there’s no other way though. I look in the eyes of the girl and she’s totally pissed; her boyfriend motivates us, gives the monkeys some food and we pass.

On the top there’s a lot of those monsters so I make my way down straight away. It’s long and scary, I’m on my own now. I get lost a couple of times, I’m out of water (luckily I find a shed of some construction workers and they share they fill my bottle), finally I find some people and we walk along each others.Then we get lost again. Then it takes so long and I’m so tired. I put my hand in the bag and I find some cookies. How come? Yeah, obviously right after I take them out, a couple of monkeys run to me like crazy so I just throw the packet in their face and run away screaming. And there they are – two men with a spliff and a car. I ask them ‘is it the way down at all?’ and they offer me a lift.

In the car I tell them my story, they share some smoke and offer to give me a round of the city to show me the whole thing in a short.

Such a great ride! I asked them a lot of questions, I’m afraid it might have been even too many… but I NEED TO KNOW! They told me about growing up and living in Gibraltar; about the lack of events and music; about how big is the upcoming festival for the reason of being the only one their country holds (where 1/2 of Gibraltar’s population has fun with their friends and neighbors because everybody’s a friend or a neighbor – that what makes the country so crimeless).  Probably not that fascinating place to live… very nice people though and amazing amazing views. Just take a look:

And here’s my favorite host in front of a pretty view:

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As I’m normally very bad finishing my stories, I’ll just say: so that’s the Gibraltar I explored. Plus a few free coffees from a Spanish bartender and a guy on a street quoting my favorite movie scene’s dialogues to his children (of course I picked it up!).

Answers to my entry questions are: it’s hot, expensive, though not like London expensive, the monkeys most definitely are still there and they drink Spanish coffees.

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PS have you thought about how unhappy the Gibraltars are about Brexit? 96% of them voted ‘in’ and to be fair, I can not understand the remaining 4%. Unbelievable.
Almost as unbelievable as the fact that some people pronounce ‘mojito’ as moh-ji-to. It’s just not the right thing to do.

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Monkey attack