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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do you know the way to St. Tropez?

Oh, come on. You knew I would do that, right?

One way is, you go in on a ship. Some ships are too big to dock, so you take a tender. Luckily the water wasn't too bad and the ride was short.

You can fly into Cannes. Then you have to drive. Flying is as bad as driving.

Another way to go is to drive. That would be just plain crazy. So of course we took a bus tour. But of course, we couldn't just get on a bus. That would have been too easy. First, the tender, then, a stop in a parking lot to explain why the buses couldn't come any closer. Then, a stop at a port building to use the restrooms, which they didn't want us to do. But were there any other restrooms? No. How about on the buses? No. So they backed down, because we are TOURISTS. Of course, they want you to go into a restaurant and eat and use their toilet. Except it was too early for any restaurant to be open. Needless to say, finding a public restroom in Europe is never guaranteed, and then you usually have to pay. I like a lot of things about Europe. I like them even better than a lot of the things we have in the United States. But not that.

Following the pit stop, we hiked through the marina to where the buses were allowed to park. Now, St Tropez, to me, conjures up scantily clad people covered in some sort of grease, slowly roasting to death on the deck of a yacht. And to some extent, this is true. They also sit around with drinks, ride jet skis, and watch insects like us skittering past, unaware that they are occupying a floating slum.

That's right. The yachts moor stern in, touching each other's bumpers, those big soft things they hang over the sides. You are no further from the people on either side of you than you are in a tenement or a Motel 6. You paid umpty-doodle zillion dollars for your yacht with all the fancy electronic doo-dads on top, yet you are basically living in your neighbors' groins. Yeah, that's real special. So is the carbon footprint on one of these things. The plus side? Employment for a crew of six to twenty per copy. I wonder how many of these owners knew what the marina conditions would be like when they signed away their fortune for one of these monstrosities. Someone on the tour with us told a joke: The two happiest days in a boat owner's life. 1. The day you buy it. 2. The day you sell it.

We all got into a couple of buses and took off up the coast and then inland to see "Scenic Provence," the name of the excursion. The traffic was a dreadful mess, but we got to see lots of pretty and interesting spots, and stopped in one for drinks and to poke around.

Joyce was still trying to get Euros. On the ship, she cashed travelers' checks into dollars, no problem. But they had no other currency. She thought now, for sure, banks would turn dollars into euros. Boy, are we stupid. Trying to find a bank that changes money (for which they could charge money) is like trying to find a public bathroom. What we did find was some desperate enterpreneur IN A BANK where he couldn't get dollars. Match made in heaven. Another woman came in while we were doing this transaction in the lobby and he changed hers, too, with a very good rate! Merci beaucoup, etranger Francais!

Mediterranean fauna

French fauna

Yacht slum

I have more pictures and more blather to present, but Blogger in its infinite wisdom is not allowing me to attach photos, so I'll stop here and try again tomorrow. I have better yacht slum pics I wish to share.

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