Thursday, May 26, 2011

it was punny.

Time: 10:41pm

Location: the sofa

Weather: not really important for this entry

You know you are about to have a very excellent weekend when your friends, who were going to be a quarter of an hour early picking you up, end up calling you half an hour later asking how to get to your house, and if you have a map of how to get to Nice.
Took this from the limo
20 may
"Just a bunch of french people, nobody famous"
20 may

Another way you know you are going to have an amazing weekend, is before you even get out of your own village, the fact that “This is a Road Trip!!” is stated, the Haribo candies are being downed like crazy, music is pumping, and to your left, in the midst of the five o’clock traffic jam, right there, on the boulevard, is a car parked, with a HUGE dog sitting in the driver’s seat. That last one made us do a double trip around the traffic circle just so we could get a photo (and none of them turned out).
Guess who!!

If you are yet to figure it out, this entry is about The Best Weekend (So Far).

En route to Nice, we stop in Cannes.
paparazzi sniper shot of a Canadian
oooh the suspense of who it is!!

Arriving in Cannes, we start the same way any group of road trippers who have absolutely nothing planned out would; we wandered. We parked right next to the harbour, so we walked all along the Vieux Port. This was where everything seemed to be happening. We had anticipated a huge amount of people because, well, it was the Film Festival after all, and sure enough, people were everywhere.
out our window
21 may
nice opportunity for a photo

Being early evening, all the tents and daily activities related to the festival were more or less all closed up, but we did find a tent selling merchandise. We talked to the girl working it and found out that we had just missed the Red Carpet (at 6:30pm) but that later that evening (at 10 pm) there would be another.
Opera de Nice
Calissons of all shapes and sizes
candied fruits

We found the Palais des Festivals (home to the Red Carpet) and then went about getting some dinner. We stopped at a lovely restaurant not too far from the port. Still having time to kill before 10pm and not being pleased at all by the dessert menu, we stopped at a 50’s Diner styled ice cream shop and indulged. I tried some cactus sorbet and found that it tasted quite a bit like ginger. Then I realized that it was cactus and ginger sorbet and am still left wondering what exactly cactus tastes like…

very Nice

As ten o’clock neared, people started gravitating towards the music and lights and watched all the stars climb the Steps. Jara, Ebba, Evelin and I were all really excited to see some Hollywood Stars real up close for once in our lives. But were a little disappointed when all the glimmer faded on the festival for us.
Side of the Colline du Chateau
now, do we take the stairs, or
View from the top of the Tour Bellanda

Unlike on TV, the fans are not right up to the carpet; we are in fact across the street, the luckiest of us being no closer than 30 meters away. Those people with abnormally large heads that only appear in crowds when you’re trying to see something exciting appeared in the dozens and the best view we could get was by looking at the one screen they had set up. And finally, we are not French. Or overly familiar with French actors. Thus resulting in us seeing “nobody famous”.
La baie des Anges - les plages - ville de Nice

I spy with my little eye: a swimmer.

potentially the New Port

Well… It took us a little while to recognize him due to the distance, and then a little longer to place the name to a film, but eventually we saw:

RYAN GOSLING!! (best known for his role in The Notebook) He was in Cannes for the premiere of his latest movie ‘Drive’. Very exciting, you heard it here first.
We found Johnny Depp;
he was in Nice, not Cannes.
Silly Johnny...

A whole half and hour after 10 pm, the red carpet was done, the buzz and hub-bub outside was kaput, so we piled back in the car to get to Nice and ultimately find the hotel, which we did. After 20 minutes of driving to Nice and then 30 minutes of driving around it trying to find the hotel, we did indeed make it.
one of the 5km of Nice beaches
Colline du Chateau from
Promenade des Anglais

Breakfast in the morning was especially nice. Very nicely set out for us four, almost to the point where it seemed exclusively for us.
yellow building with green shutters;
tres Nice.
some art we found

We took the tram from the conveniently near by train station to the Place Massena and walked down to the Flower Market on Cours Saleyna. Flowing right along the flower market turned into the typical Provençal Market and we bought some fresh fruits for a picnic lunch.
and some fesses

The heat was incredible, yet when we came to the bottom of the Colline du Château (Castle Hill), and face with the options of taking the elevator up or taking the stairs, Ebba and I took the stairs. We went up and up and stopped when we got to the Tour Bellanda and took some photos while waiting for Evelin and Jara to meet us there. Back in the middle of the 14th century, the tower was built in remembrance to the Castle’s fortress. The ambiance was great; an excellent view of the beach and harbour, ridiculous heat and some guy playing guitar. We got tired of waiting and melting in the heat so we continued the ascent.
yellow 'n' green
its er'ywher'

A little higher we regrouped and took in the many views of Nice as well as some fruit. A quick FYI: Nice is pronounced “Niece” not nice. Well, it is nice, but just not when you say it.

made it back in time !!

We took the elevator down and walked along the beach on the Promenade des Anglais. Luckily we found the main shopping street while we were on the tram, so we walked back to the hotel so we could do a little shopping. We stopped at a Lebanese restaurant for lunch. Bet you never knew that Lebanese taboule does not have couscous in it.
its a universal thing

Before we went back to Cannes to catch the 6:30pm Red Carpet, we went to the hotel to freshen up. Even though we checked out earlier that day, they still gave us a room and let us park there all day for free. It may have had something to do with us knowing the owner of the hotel, but you never know.
The Red Carpet

Back at Cannes, we made it right in time for the Red Carpet. Again, not being the most cultivated people when it comes to French cinema, the star spotting was a flop. We took a leisurely stroll all about Cannes; we were all glammed up after all.
closest you could get.
keep in mind the zoom I got going on here.

Cannes is so glamorous and so full of different aspects; The Croisette, Palais des Festivals, Forville Provençal Market, the old city of Le Suquet with an amazing viewpoint and finally above all, the dominating La Castre. Of course there are the typical beaches full of bums and harbours full of yachts.

All the glam and the glitter shine around the Palais des Festivals and the Croisette. The Palais is pretty self-explanatory. However, the Croisette is a little more cryptic. The Croisette is the stretch of the most prestigious palace like hotels, the more beautiful beaches, and most luxurious boutiques. All of course coming with a just as lovely price tag.
Red Carpet

That evening, we headed back to Aix and hung out at Jara’s for the rest of the weekend; making full use of her pool and the scorching temperatures that were unrelenting the whole three days. An excellent way to end and excellent weekend.



Thursday, May 19, 2011

numero UNO.

Time : 9:31pm
Location : on the couch
Weather : day time thunderstorm passed over without a trace

Ok, so I am not exactly up to par on keeping this blog interesting now am I?
Pronounced : Kassi
8 may
Oh well, here it goes; the last two weeks, to the day:
one cake coming right up!!
18 may
One beautiful Friday evening, the family and I packed up and went to Cassis for an evening on the beach. Naturally, the football came out and I  think everyone played. Iness might not have, but that was because she was busy doing cartwheels, flips, round offs, you name it. When Imed brought out the drum (really random but also awesome for creating am ambiance of sorts), she started to do her gymnastics to the beat of the drum. A very spectacular spectacle that even received the applause of some people who were hanging out on the rocks. As the sunset we had a delicious picnic and walked around the town.

Cassis is kind of like St. Tropez, or at least that is what people say. If St. Tropez is too pricey or star ridden for you, go to Cassis, it’s just as classy, still très chère, and absolutely gorgeous. Although I would not recommend going to the beach there during the summer. The beach was not large at all, not that that was a problem, but in high season you have to go early in the morning otherwise you will not get a spot, and even then you will be head to toe with your neighbours.

the mixing never stopped. ever.
18 may
I have discovered some awesome running trails near around here. The only problem is that I can not find a flat place to run for the life of me, or for the sake of my aching shins. Just a side note for those of you who have been wondering if I have been getting any running in.
Oh the food here is so good!! Imed makes the best couscous ever! I can’t remember if I already said that in the last entry, but it really is. I am dead set on learning some Tunisian recipes. Particularly how to cook some chicken. I missed chicken so much!

Happy Birthday Sophie!!
18 may
Speaking of chicken, I had some French KFC here. Unlike in Canada, KFC does not translate into PFK, it stays as KFC. First of all, there was no gravy. That was honestly the first thing I noticed, which I think may be very Canadian of me? (There is some kind of connection between Canadians and gravy out there…) Second, these were little mini KFC chickens that we were eating!! It was like we ordered deep fried chicken wings, which of course exist, but I felt like a KFC GIANT sitting there with my lil’ drumettes and wings. Never the less, they were delicious and a lot less greasy.

Blowing out the candles
18 may
While still on the topic of food, and I swear I am not hungry, I’ve gone to Aix a couple times to meet up with friends and grab a bite to eat, etc.
One of these times was this past Saturday for… EUROVISION!!! Evelin and I went over to Jara’s for the three hour annual special of… EUROVISION!!!
Now you may be asking yourself: “What is Eurovision!?!”. Well. Eurovision is a huge song contest in all of Europe. There are 25 countries that get to/can (not sure on that one) participate. In each country it starts off as country wide competition for who gets to represent their country at Eurovision. At Eurovision they then get to perform their musical number in with all the love, passion and eccentricities that they have of their country. Some numbers are spectacular, some are horrid. I am certain that Eurovision brings out the cheesiest of Europe. Popular topics of the evening were: “Let’s all work together to save the planet” and “Someone broke my heart, blah, blah, blah”. Also to be mentioned was the comeback of the heavily eye make-upped bands, as well as the boy bands. It felt like a blast from the past.

the looks are msot definitely deceiving
The winning country was Azerbaijan with a song titled “Running Scared”, which was completely different from all of the other songs, and had a very passionate performance. Not to mention this was their first Eurovision win. Way to go Azerbaijan! (I had no idea this country existed) WINNING PERFORMANCE
Back to life around the house.

Sunglasses over camera lens
19 may
Can I say one more time that I am without a doubt in the right family? I knew it was great here, but when someone asked if I wanted to play Uno all I could say was “You had me at ‘Uno’.”. Not really because well, things like that just don’t tend to translate well, but Uno!! I LOVE UNO! And so do them! Perfect match! Haha

19 may
Not to mention the healthy dose of football, biking, volleyball, badminton, trampoline and what ever else there is to do outside for me, I am quite content with the amount I get to ‘play’.

not actually where i live,
just an example of the street signs here
The other day was Sophie’s birthday, so I decided to make her a cake (seeing as the muffins and pancakes I made before were absolute hits, why not?!). Chocolate banana cake, easy right? Things got four hands more complicated when Marwann, Iness and I got down to it. By the end of the baking session, this cake became a double layer cake of chocolate yogurt cake on chocolate banana cake, with banana layer in between and iced with chocolate icing. It was scrumptious! Everyone loved it. I thought it was a little sweet, but apparently that did not seem to be a problem. Neither did the fact that in a rush I iced a cake that was still partially warm, plus ridiculous temperatures outside resulted in bananas and icing melting off of the cake.
The cake is now devoured.

I liked this one
Again, this was not the best entry. Not at all, but I figured I better get one done tonight because then I will be gone all weekend hanging out with some Hollywood stars (haha I wish) while in Cannes and Nice (Pronounced: Knee-ss) with my usual counterparts.
Happy weekend to all o’ yall!

quite literally down then up the road

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Time : 9:21pm (Woo here we go!!)

Location : sittin’ in my new favourite chair in a new living room

Weather : Mistral came and went today, but other than that hot

Woo. Ok. Where to begin?
8 April


View from the spot
8 April
Ebba & I.. Looking at the wrong
8 April
one of the beaches we went to
i forget what it was called
we go to so many ive lost count
haha 9 April
Well. How about, maybe an apology? Yeah, that’s probably a good place to start, seeing as I only made ONE ENTRY IN APRIL. I honestly thought that it was more, but well, I guess not. But, if it makes you feel better, I will more than likely have carpal tunnel by the time I’m through with this entry. Karma man, karma.
9 April

Dinner at Evelin's
10 April
Thank you for not destroying/deteriorating(?)
this vehicle that contains no
objects of value.
Cordially, Yven.
I think Yven was asleep inside at this time...
11 avril
Summarizing, my month is really the only way to go. I will never get through this monstrous task other wise, and plus, I can’t remember where to start. If ever something isn’t clear, just forget about reading this and start looking at the photos. They are worth the peek.
11 avril

Since the French class is done, I have more time on my hands. I guess we (being my friends and I) all did. So we did what any adventurous au-pairs would do on a Monday morning: we climbed a mountain.
Mont St Victoire
not even at the top and we get a
stellar view

Now don’t be worried, the Mont Saint Victoire is extremely hiker friendly. There are all kinds of paths, all clearly marked and easily followed, although some not all that easily climbed. The hiking community around Aix is very large and so the upkeep of the trails is very good.
That is the way up

There is not much to say about our day really. We started in the morning, and climbed up for a little under two hours. On the way up we came across the chapel. It was kind of cool. Just an old stone church on the side of a mountain. There was a little memorial to a hiker that fell and died on that side of the mountain a couple years ago. Spooked me out a little bit, needless to say I always made sure of my footing after that.
Shrubbery & Farmland
jsut kidding bout that last one
view from the chapel.
apparently no photos of the chapel taken
The Hard Part

I took way too may photos
This actually was the path


Very disorganized farmland if I do say so myself
not at all like the SK Grid
I can see my house.
Your's too.
View from the top
Neat map we found covering a well like
thing on the top of the mountain (well ontop
of a mountain??what??)
Follow the pebble path back up,
that is where we came from
(now descending)
When I say that we climbed a mountain, please do not go imagining us all decked out in gear and hanging off cliffs. We more of hiked/crawled up. The hardest part was by when we had to hang onto some metal chains and crawl up along a boulder (but it really was not all that hard). We all made it up.
The highest point of the Mont St. Victoire was where we picnicked under the sweltering sun. We were all so thankful for a rest as we made it up huffing and puffing a bit. I can not exactly remember, but I believe the point was 1000m above sea level. Which is just a kilometre.
people would just come flying out of nowhere
so treacherous
we were so mad when we had to go up again (not exactly up that part youre looking at, but really close)
found a sheep

If you think it was hard for us to get up, you have no idea how hard it was to get down. Most of the path was made of small pebbles, dirt, shale, other naturally occurring elements, and was not easy to walk on. If I had a huge foam cushion on my butt, maybe I would have slide down most of it bit by bit, but I did not, so it took us two and a half hours to make our way down. We were happy to make it down and out of the frustrating land. Even though the ground was flat, most of us had troubles walking after being on an incline for so long.
so hot that my hands swelled up

While I am on the topic of the mountain, remember the Mistral? The wind? Well I thought that it was a wind from the sea, but turns out it is a wind that comes from the mountain thus being a mountain wind. Interesting? Maybe a little.
my room minus me and all my schtuff
15 april
Discovered the Aix Sat. AM
Market. Major steal when I got
2 Red Hot Chili Pepper Cds
for 5 euro.
16 april
First photo in St Trop
24 april

Seriously delicious ice cream with a
serious weakness to the sun. I was
so much money

Looking across the bay to St Maxime
Just some guy's boat blocking the view of the Vieux Port (St  Tropez)
St Tropez Tuesday Market
26 april
One long blue thing (on left)
+ Marshmallow Giant Banana
= Sick to my stomach from sugar.
But of course totally worth it.... (not)
My day times may have been a little strenuous (really only the one time haha), but my weekend 100% made up for it seeing as they were all spent lounging on the beach and having dinners with friends. Our social circle may not be the biggest, but it is really tight, which is better if you ask me.
too many people and cars to get a good photo
took this mainly for you to get an idea
of what the markets around here
are like (more or less)
only in the St Tropez market haha

super nice cafe
Pampelonne Beach
not the sunniest of days
I believe St Trop is on the other side
of that hill...
Pampelonne Beach
Most of you know that I have a new address. Things were just not working out in Luynes, so I found a new family in La Bouilladisse. Until this first week of May, we really have not seen much of each other, but I will get to that in a bit.
St Trop beach.
27 avril
Boat Tour!!
28 avril

St Trop from a boat
Very popular place for artists to paint
and to live
St Tropez
do you see the small fishing village now ?
The third Friday of April I once again had my whole life packed up (maybe not as well as the first time) and my room spotless (my room was spotless when I left, right?), so I went to live at Evelin’s for the weekend. I took my things over in the morning and then went about my day. Later in the evening post the afterschool norms and the goodbyes, I was walking from my old house to Evelin’s and thought to myself : “Now for the first time in my life, I really am homeless.” Now that may not be exactly true, but I found it to be an amusing idea to entertain.
The Citadell

Citadell on the hill & the Graveyard just a little lower
Villa that Jack Nicholson rents on occasion
These two belong to L'Oreal;
Because they're worth it.
That Sunday I got picked up by the new family and came here. Now, I will tell you a little about them. They are a family of four. There are the parents; Imed and Sophie, and the two children; Ines and Marwann. When comparing the two families, they seem more like a natural match. Marwann loves football and every day we play out in their little pitch behind the house. Ines is a medal winning gymnast and is constantly twirling and bending and doing things that constantly amaze me (mainly it’s just that she never stops).
Just thought this one
was nice

Where the Royal Swedish Family comes
on vacay.
Their friends get to stay across the bay
in St Maxime
belongs to the Hilton family
Brigitte Bardot's home; La Madrague
Belongs to the richest man in France
one of these two belongs to
 the Heineken family
St Maxime there, on that mountain of a hill
We spend TONS of time outside; playing, eating, folding laundry, just sitting, everything. And all the windows and doors are always open, I don’t really know why, but I love it. Even if you’re inside, you might as well be outside because it is so fresh. And yes, now it is hot enough that it doesn’t matter if the doors are open.
on the way back

spot the cafes

buildings are taller than youd think.

I feel so good here. So good.
classic red roofs of Provence in St Trop
looking down from the Citadell's hill

famous houses from earlier!!
side of the Citadell.
more or less all there was to see of it.
we walked around the outside.
But again, we did not really see each other until this week because that Tuesday about two weeks ago, they left on vacation for a week so I was here by myself. It was a good week just to me. Granted I went to Aix and still got together with people, but I always like being the only one living in a house and taking care of it. It makes me feel Grown Up.

I left that Friday to stay at Jara’s house for the night then leave for Saint-Tropez for a week (and since they got back on Saturday, we didn’t see each other).

Jara’s family went to Saint-Tropez for a week, and they invited her to take a friend along too. You already know who that lucky fish was. We got our own apartment to ourselves and more or less got to do as we pleased between the occasional and anticipated babysitting. Au-pairs live a good life.

I’m going to warn you, so that you are not disappointed, but there really is not much to do in Saint-Tropez other than shop, lay on the beach and go out for dinner, so please do not be disappointed.
the graveyard

Technically we did not stay in St.-Trop, we stayed in Gassin, which was a 10-15 minute walk from St.-Trop town center aka where one ended, the other began. Quite literally.

Needless to say we did a lot of walking around. We walked around the new harbour and the old harbour. The old harbour is that harbour to be in. This is where all the really nice boats are. The ones that cost millions of dollars and have their own crews. You could call us naïve for being surprised at that last one. If you can afford to have a boat bigger than a house, you can afford to have uniformed guys washing the side of the boat by hand and the cleaning lady too. Not to mention the chef and handful of other crew members I do not even want to think about.

As I said the old harbour is the place to be, even if you are not a boat. All the chic cafés, bars, clubs and restaurants are around the old harbour. Buying anything in St.-Trop costs an arm and a leg, but may cost you an arm and two legs by the harbour.

High end chic is all the rage, and everyone’s must have. The little streets are filled with designer shops, and even non designer shops that get away with the same price tags just because they are in St.-Tropez. Needless to say I didn’t buy anything from those shops.

I did buy myself one thing though and that was at the market on Tuesday morning. The market was absolutely INSANE. Everyone that was on vacation must have been at that market when we went. There were SO MANY PEOPLE. And things were really pricey for being a market. But I did buy some candy. And by the way, the thing that I bought for myself was some kind of brown jumper thing that is really in style here and I have wanted since I first spotted them out on the town.
this photo was really hard to take

I think we went to the beach every single day. I know I say this a lot, but I really did get a significant tan. The beaches were really nice. The beach in St.-Tropez is really nice and the water is good, but it isn’t the famous beach. The famous beaches are not actually in Saint Tropez. They’re in Pampelonne and stretch for 5km. Where we went it was kind of nice. Closer to the water there was a lot of debris, but farther back the sand was nice. And the water had a bunch of kelp or seaweed debris in it as well, which is not overly pleasant.

But hey, nobody goes to the beach to build sandcastles (well, we did.. but that is beside my point). They go to tan! Honestly, I have never seen so many naked people in my life. I was tempted to stand in the middle of the beach and take a panoramic photo to show you all, haha, but I didn’t. But really. This place is where the All Over Tan came to be. Nobody’s got anything to hide. At all. Oh, and if you are ever engaged in a nude to nude conversation while standing up, the appropriate was to stand, is with both hands on your hips. I’m not joking, it is just way people do it.

entrance, dining room, kitchen and laundry room

It was not nice the whole time we were there. Often in the evening it would get cold and windy, maybe a little rainy. The night when it actually rained, Jara and I went to a movie. Odd as it is, the ticket was cheaper there than in Aix. We saw Thor. It was alright, if you like Marvel movies.

Time for something touristy!! We went on a boat tour of the bay and got to see all the villas where celebs come for a week or two a year. Ridiculous! On a slightly less ridiculous note; did you know that Saint-Tropez is two thousand years old? And really is just a little fishing village. Behind all the glitz and glam, I saw that before the guide pointed it out. I think it was when the girl at the grocery store snapped her gum at me.
outside our apartment

Across the bay we saw Saint-Maxime. Every night it was light up so beautifully. Lights all along the shore and peppering all the way up the hills. It looks gorgeous from a far, but that is all. Apparently it is not popular because it just not a nice place. As in they have an ugly port and well, could you imagine competing against St.-Trop?
the bathroom

After the tour Jara and I walked up the hill to the Citadell. Way back when it was used to defend against pirates then obviously went out of use. It has since become a Naval Military Museum and is getting some intense renovations on the interior. You also have to pay to go in. Not exactly being the kind of museum that would float our boat, we just walked around the outside.
living room, chill room, TV room, getting ready
room, potentially sleeps +3 people room

Peering down below, we saw the graveyard. As you can see, it is really small. If you want to be buried there, you have to have been born in Saint-Tropez, or be Brigitte Bardot. They are making an exception for her (even if her villa is not even in Saint-Tropez).

I actually felt rather uncomfortable the whole time I was there. I felt really out of my element. Like this place was too expensive for me to be on vacation there and like everyone knew it. It really is a different kind of life, and I don’t think I want it. It was nice for a vacation, but that is all I can handle. Maybe someday I will go back…
Dinner at Pearl Beach

Phew ok. Got everything covered.

Now for my day.

Today was Wednesday.

this place was nice.

May the Fourth. May the Fourth be with you. Intergalactic Star Wars say. I wish I had remembered earlier in the day… Especially since I spent the whole day thinking it was Cinqo de Mayo.
30 avril

So, being Wednesday Marwann and Ines did not have school. However, being the incredible gymnast she is, Ines was gone all day at her gymnastic training then to theatre class.

blustery day in may
may 4th
Marwann and I just hung out here. It was windy so we attempted flying their kite, but the string was so tangled and the Mistral came and went that we only got it up a couple times and never for long.

In the afternoon when Marwann and Imed went to foot and Sophie went to Iness’ theatre, I went for a solid run. I found some trails in a forest area right near the house. It was the most intense run I’ve had for a while. And also the first time I’ve ever ran with music. It really does pump up your mood.
c'mon Marwann!
May the 4th be with you!!!

For some reason, pancakes have been declared as extremely Canadian here. Maybe it is the connection to maple syrup? I don’t know. When Sophie asked me if I could make the big fluffy pancakes, I said no problem. The maple syrup was bought, and I whipped up a bunch of the fluffiest pancakes I have ever made in my life for part of dinner. You probably have no idea how well pancakes and couscous go together. Double recipe and an hour of flipping was devoured in a matter of minutes. Success check mark please.
Maybe Tomorrow...

Ok. I hope this makes up for the lack of entry over the past nearly a month. I really will try to get the bank done. I have entries just waiting to be typed up. Sitting there, in my travel book. They call out to me every time I look at the book on my table. If I start dreaming about them, you’ll hear about it.

Ciao Ciao

10:40 pm

hokay. so in two shots, I got this typed up and the photos too. However, as you can probably tell, I gravely miscalculated the photo to text ratio, highly overestimating my photo count and extremely underestimating my amount of text. vahtevah.