To catch up check out Part 1
The police distress signal & dying birds.
As we arrived at our stop in Nice, France we decided to track down a hostel for the night. We’d hopefully only be sleeping in the car when we weren’t close enough to hostels, or if they didn’t have availability. Luckily, we were able to find a decent hostel in downtown Nice. Showers were a big deal already.
Unlike Barcelona, we didn’t really have any specific landmark to check off, but rather thought it would be a pretty town to stop in for a bit. We walked towards the water where I was hoping to get some pretty beach pics.
Five minutes in to the walk, there was an odd crowd gathered around an overlook. We stopped with them and looked down to see a man and woman beating up a police officer. Everyone was just standing around. We were horrified. What was going on? Why was the policeman not using his stick thing to hit these people? If ever there was a moment where self-defense would be warranted, this was it. The woman was pulling at his pants. Neither of the assaulters looked too strong. I turned to Lance and said “should we help? I’m pretty sure you could just put your arm around that guy to stop him and that girl looks pretty frail”. But without knowing the situation we knew getting involved wasn’t a good idea for tourists who knew zero French words, and even less about French laws. Really, we were afraid we would somehow end up a part of some Amanda Knox style situation.
After some time, the situation ended in a blur, with several locals finally stepping in to help the policeman. I turned to the stranger next to me and said “wow that’s just crazy” to which he replied “welcome to Nice, it’s a rough place”. Oh. Great.
So far Nice wasn’t exactly what I expected.
Every time we heard police sirens we dubbed them the Police distress signal, and civilians were needed to help police who were in trouble. We couldn’t help but notice the high frequency with which the sirens sounded out.
We continued walking to the water and arriving there only one word truly comes to mind.
As far as the Mediterranean goes there’s one huge gaping problem with what France has to offer: Italy does it better. Not just a little bit better, not just a few slightly better angles, but the French coast just can’t compete with Italy. I’d say it’s just my opinion, but I don’t actually think it’s up for debate.
Are there quaint cafes? Sure. But, Italy does it better. I’d even go so far as to say I have no real interest in going back. I didn’t hate it here, but there really wasn’t any pull to the place for me personally.
We contemplated sitting on the beach for a bit, but the beach is comprised of stones, and without chairs it wasn’t super comfortable, so we decided to walk back in through the town and check out the cafes. While walking a pigeon started to fly quite low, about eye level with me and only a few feet in front of me. And then a number of things happened very quickly.
A seagull swooped out of the air.
It bit the pigeon in mid-air right in front of my face
The pigeon fell at my feet. Dead. Looking as though he’d been dead for days.
I yell out “A bird just died”
The people sitting outside at the café scoff and look disgustedly at me as though I orchestrated this charade.
I am shaken by the bird murder as I didn’t know that was a thing.
The violence we witnessed earlier seems to have permeated every thread of society and is now rampant in the bird community.
A man tosses the pigeon corpse into the road so it does not offend the café patrons any longer.
Everyone continues on.
Lance continues to stammer “what just happened” and “did you see that gull just snap it’s neck”
I have no answers
At night, one thing you can enjoy is “Conversations in Nice”. I recently read a blog which described this art display as “poetic”. As an art history major in college, I can explain this more clearly if you’re not familiar. Poems aside, what you do have: humans on poles that change colors at night. Call it a poem, call it art, but I found it as equally underwhelming as the rest of the town.
The people on the poles are meant to represent the continents, and the changing colors are conversations between them. I like the idea behind it about peaceful and effective communication. The idea really is good. But for me a piece of art should convey it’s message without having to be looked up on Wikipedia. You should also feel something from it other than confusion, because before looking it up all I could think was “what the crap is that person light stick thing”. Confusion isn’t my favorite art emotion, and certainly not the objective of this one.
Lackluster in Nice.
Next stop, Genoa , Italy.