The personal blog of Victoria Linchong, a repository of peculiar perspectives and rather unpopular ideas derived from the molotov cocktail of being Asian-American (whatever that is), female, and a starving theater/film artist from the mean streets of New York, back when there really were mean streets
After being denied entry to the UK, I spent two weeks in Paris trying to figure out what to do. A few friends were going to Cannes for the film festival and I thought, well I seem to be stuck in France, so why not?! I got a car share down to Nice for £30 and found two couch surfing hosts to put me up. On Thursday morning, I made my way to Cannes for the first time.
The bus to Cannes is not on Promenade des Anglaise by the
Meridien Hotel. I walked back and forth for twenty minutes before finding
it.It’s actually on the street just by
the gazebo. So if you are looking for the 200 bus and you’re coming from the
direction of Vieux Nice, walk past the Meridien, hang a right after the gazebo,
and you’ll find the bus there.
I’m taking the bus because it’s €1.50 versus €6 for the
train from Nice to Cannes. A quarter the price for twice the length of time. But I
only have €3.80 left until I get another wee payment (hopefully later today),
which will mostly go toward a 3-day pass to the Marché at the Cannes Film
Festival. Living so close to the edge requires you to take a lot of deep
breaths and have faith that there must be a party you can crash with canapés
Well, there’s a director/producer friend who managed to
score a room on a yacht. He says that we can cook and enticed me with visions
of having lunch on a boat on the Mediterranean Sea. I did buy him some rosé
wine. (Only €4!) So if someone will just feed me, I can get
them tipsy in exchange.
The beautiful sea is on the left and palm trees line the
Promenade. It’s sort of like Los Angeles or San Diego, but with less Asians and
more North African and Middle Eastern looking people. Swarthy men with handle
bar mustaches in fez caps and long skirts. Ladies with scarves tied around
Nice is a lot bigger than I imagined. The old part where I
am is a bit honky tonk. Pedestrian streets are lined with bars and nearly every
restaurant seems to serve mussels. I think of the massive mussel carnage that
must take place each night on the Rue François de Paule.
The bus turns inland a bit and we head down Avenue de Nice,
a smaller street that is much less touristy. Dusty boulangeries with names in
yellow plastic script that look like they were installed in the 1970s. Car
dealers and groceries and schools and hairdressers and oh wow a street market by a bus stop called Les Oliviers. I think
maybe we are in Antibes now?
At Mr. Pizza, we turn further inland and now it looks quite
residential. We pass several peach colored buildings with balconies and terracotta
tiled roofs. I see a sign and realize that we are not in Antibes. We are somewhere
called Colletes Breguieres. A girl in a flowered jacket comes on the bus and at
first I think she has an enormous nose ring but it’s actually a medical tube of
some sort.And in front of a closed
pharmacy there is a dispensing machine for condoms.
We pass Bourg Medi, which looks like a nice town. There is a
le Jam Lounge Bar – I imagine jam refers to music and not confiture. There are
some dusty shops and an inexpensive looking shoe shop. (I need a pair of dress
shoes…) I see a street named 11 Novembre and a Square du 8 Mai.
We get back on the highway, passing a beautiful bush laden
with yellow bell-like flowers. Zucchini, I wonder? Then we are in Strip Mall
Land. This part of Southern France is reminding me more and more of California. Strip Mall Land is
presided by several odd curved buildings that look like a layer cake or a
cruise ship or a step pyramid made of white lego blocks. We pass a shop that
says Atmosphere Sud, Creators d’Emotion. It seems this is a fancy French way of saying they organize weddings and
birthdays. Villaneuve Corbet is the name of this bleak land of nowhere and
We pass a park, a sad abandoned building with a sign that
says The Top Ten – Restaurant Marina Bar, a farm stand, a pizza shop, a horrid new glass construction, and Worog Tattoo,
which looked to me at first like Wrong Tattoo. Train tracks stretch to the horizon on the left, the sea is slightly visible
beyond. A sweaty blonde guy with a slight hunch tosses his cigarette
as he gets on the bus. He fishes €1.50 out of a large female-looking wallet.
And then we stopped at lovely little Square Nabonnard in Golfe
Juan. At the center, a worn bust of Napoleon sits on a cracked pillar that
reads, “Souvenir du le Mars 1815. Salut France, Terre de Braves.” I wonder if
that pillar really has been there for two hundred years. I wonder how many people in Golfe Juan served under Napoleon. I wonder why Golfe Juan is named Golfe Juan.
Finally, after getting back on the highway, we turn downhill
on a busy street of shops. We are suddenly in the
middle of a huge traffic jam. To the left there are yachts and a giant glass
building with an enormous billboard that says FESTIVAL DE CANNES. The bus passes a carousel playing Bob Marley songs and pulls up next to a flea market.