Are you tired of my Nice-as-in-pleasant vs Nice-as-in-France puns yet? I’ve got a few more up my sleeve . . . 🙂
My first day in Nice, the name of the game was to stay awake. Unfortunately, on my walk around town in the afternoon sun, I got hot. This led to stopping in a sea-side cafe and having a beer. Even more unfortunately, the only food I could get mid-afternoon was a bowl of olives. While beer and olives are actually tasty together, olives are not very filling.
I sipped my no-longer-cold-beer for nearly an hour as I slumped gradually lower and lower in my cafe-style chair. Eventually, I decided I needed to walk or I would be sound asleep on the cafe floor. But once I started walking, I didn’t know where to go. I decided it was a good time to return to my hotel room to check email now that the US was getting into work.
I sat down on my bed, logged in, and made it through the emails that had arrived. The next thing I knew, I was startled awake by a sunbeam that had found its way through a crack in the curtains. The sunbeam had managed to make its way into my eyes in part because the sun was now low in the sky. I discovered I’d nodded off for a couple unexpected hours.
Concerned I wouldn’t be able to sleep through the night if I didn’t get up and get some dinner, I splashed some water on my face and made my way back down to the seaside. With the wind blowing across the French Riviera, the evening called for outdoor dining.
Back at the seaside area, I stopped and read menus at each restaurant across from the beach, hoping to find something appealing, but even more, hoping to run into one of my colleagues so I wouldn’t have to eat dinner alone.
In the US, I don’t mind eating dinner alone. If I want company, I sit at the bar and usually end up in conversations with interesting people before the meal is over. If I want to be alone, I sit at a table. In Spain, France, and Italy, there don’t seem to be restaurant bars to eat at. Eating alone at a table seems to be the equivalent of painting a sign on your face that says something like, “I am lonely and desperate and will be amazingly receptive to even the tiniest bit of attention.” (To put it in G-rated terms.)
On this evening, it was my waiter who was overly attentive. He was actually quite sweet, but it got awkward when I wanted to leave and he kept delaying bringing me my check. Once I was safely on my way, I was glad I’d made it out regardless–it was a lovely night to be out walking and I did sleep through the night.