So today, I went to a park! Parc Phoenix, to be precise. The Bossman said it looked really good, but there had been something on when he went, and the sight of ten thousand happy families in the queue ahead of him made him go straight back to the hotel. So I said I would go check it out. It is right by the hotel, so no non-air-conditioned transportation for me! -and besides, it was looking like rain.
By the time I had walked the two miles to the park (and two miles can feel like quite a long way when you’re plodding along between the motorway and the airport), it had stopped looking like rain and was actually raining. I was surprised and somewhat delighted to find there was a vast office complex next to the park; imagine, you could go spend your lunch-break looking at calming vistas of waterfalls and fountains and geese! I bet nobody does. For evidence, I cite the presence of the reptile house in the park right by my work, which I never go and visit on my lunch-break, even though it is free to get in. Mainly because my lunch-break consists of watching a pot noodle grow cold and congeal while answering the phone to angry strangers.
But not today! Today I went into the park, which was two whole euros to achieve, and was promptly faced with a pair of gigantic turkeys, who are apparently free to wander at will and poo everywhere. Along with ten thousand assorted geese and ducks. There were also otters; not free to wander around. But the rain was getting heavier, so I went and hid in the enormous glasshouse. I was a bit surprised at there being a glasshouse on the Med, considering I nearly died of heat on the train yesterday, but it was chock-full of orchids and also had the biggest collection of tarantulas I have ever seen – and also, it was practically empty, so I now have the biggest collection of bad photographs of tarantulas and orchids ever seen, and nary a jostling child in sight. Seriously, I can spend days doing this, and there is no excuse for it whatsoever.
There was even a part of the glasshouse where breathtakingly beautiful tropical birds could roam freely, and I was fortunate enough to find out they were tame! I mean, check out this guy! Isn’t he just the cutest?
This photo was taken seconds before it ran at me and attacked my feet.
I legged it in horror, suddenly recalling Jurassic Park 3, not to mention, The Birds, but it promptly flew after me, displaying the loveliest crimson underwings – they were so beautiful, I nearly forgot my panic for half a second – until it cornered me at the far end of the enclosure and its friend came to join it. If a woman with a pushchair hadn’t come in and scared them off, I might not be here to write this, having panicked and blundered into the pond and drowned or something.
No, they probably couldn’t have actually killed me and I am about twenty times their size. Sheesh. What a wuss.
I went back to hang out with the tarantulas though, just in case.
it was truly pouring down when I left, so I debated mightily going to the museum of Asian Arts next door, but I feared I would just feel completely emasculated by the difference between the artists shown there and my own prowess. (I am sure women can feel emasculated; I certainly did, I had just fled in terror from a small tropical bird, for godsake. A surprisingly vicious one, but still.) So I nobly walked home in the stair-rods of rain instead, thus proving… absolutely nothing, probably, but there were so many people cramming onto the bus, with suitcases and everything, that I thought I would not add to the overcrowding.
(Besides, one of the other passengers might glance into my eyes, and they would know that I had just been chased around by a tiny creature with an endearing mohican.)
In the evening, we had an invite to go into Nice itself to meet one of the Bossman’s colleagues / clients / whathaveyou for dinner. Ooh! Nice at Night, all the highlights and bustle and chic and cool and glamour! Shall we take the bus so the Bossman can have a jar?
But there are no busses back from Nice after seven pee-em.
Suddenly looking less like a hub of culture and commerce, and more like the Shetlands on a Sunday, Nice lost a lot of sparkle to my eye, and I began to understand the Bossman’s reaction to coming here. (It is a town around six miles across, and none of that consists of fields of sheep, what possible reason could there be for all the public transport to stop dead once everyone has made it home from the office? … and how do the cleaners get home?)
So we took the car, much to the Bossman’s lack of enthusiasm and he made pointed noises about me getting back in the saddle and taking some of the driving. (Gladly! After some refresher lessons and my ID being updated – legally, it may be fine for me to take the wheel after never owning a vehicle in twenty years, but ethically it would be Wrong!)
At least we got parked easily, and a stone’s throw from our meeting-place too. The Bossman’s colleague took half an hour to show up (and then another half hour to make his way back to us after he sped by, waving and shouting, ‘Just going to park up!’) I sense some sort of link between this and the utter lack of public transportation, I am just saying.
However, dinner was lovely, and the Bossman insisted I introduce myself as ‘an artist’, not, as ‘a secretary’ (who he thinks I am fooling, I do not know. One I make cash from, the other, I do not. I mean, do people go round saying, ‘Hi, I’m Dave and I drive a tank! Well, okay, it was this one time, look, I’m an accountant by day and – oh hey, come back’?
Not more than once, I’m guessing.)
The Bossman’s colleague was very nice, and said I must come back for the skiing (did I mention this entire conversation was in English? Well, it was) and I did not disabuse him of the notion that I can afford such a hobby. For shame, Beshemoth, for shame!