A Night in Nice

9 Jun

When my train stops in the Nice station a tall, dark, handsome man approaches me.  He is well-dressed and is carrying a book about birds.  Immediately, he takes my bag, and while wary, I assume it’s to help me lift it off the train since my bag is as big as me.

Quickly, it’s established that he speaks Arabic and French, and I speak Spanish and English.  There is no possible communication. Yet, he seems to believe communication is possible.  I go to take my bag and he insists on carrying it.  It’s not exactly a short walk from the train station to my hostel, so I weakly insist he give my bag back to me.

A part of me knows its crazy to let a strange man carry my bag, but another part knows this is just part of travel.  Unexpected, inexplicable help appears, and often it’s best not to protest.

After fifteen minutes of carrying my bag the Stranger realizes how far my hostel is, how we truly cannot communicate and with gestures that I believe to be apologies leaves me with my bag.  Luckily, the hostel is two blocks away, and I’m already panting in the 85 degree heat as I walk down the small, slanted street and ring the doorbell.

Three flights of stairs leads me to Falerio, the Italian hostel manager, Robbert, the student of architecture and Gus (also called Goose) who gets called by every other name but his.

Immediately, I am told that everyone is meeting in the kitchen at nine – we are going out.

So, I hurry to the adorable French restaurant down the street and have the best Croque Monsieur of my life.  It’s here where I realize how comfortable I am dining alone.  This somehow feels liberating.

Hurrying back, I throw on my standard funeral chic outfit:  a fancy black top, black pants and the designer nude heels I bought to stand up in a friend’s wedding and bring everywhere.  Once I’m dressed the Aussies arrive, or the girls I’m sharing a room with.  They seem friendly, and ready for fun, and thus begins our evening out.

The bottles of beer don’t inspire me so I refrain from drinking.  Also, as I’ve said many times, “Barcelona almost killed me.”

I keep hearing the word, “Waynes,” and the name doesn’t seem to represent the glamorous evening out that I envisioned, though I’m told, “it’s a really cool bar.”

An eccentric Englishman named Mo keeps the jokes going and soon that magical moment arrives; that moment that happens occasionally in hostels, where suddenly strangers are now your family for the next few days – or at least until it’s time to depart.

Waynes is everything I expected: overcrowded, obscenely hot, overpriced and the songs are either from the 80s or early 2000s.  Near the dance floor, everyone is standing on tables thinking that it’s the most awesome night of their lives.  I’m reminded of myself ten, or truthfully, three years ago.

I convince the Aussie girls that due to the heat we should find somewhere to sit outside and to my delight, they agree.

Soon we are sitting at the bar next to Waynes with a bottle of red wine at our table.  Accompanying us are two businessman, one being from England and the other from Italy.

I’m talking business with the Italian and we’re discussing Communications, China and Technology.  He continually implies that he can get me a job at his company and that they are hiring in the Communications department.  While I don’t believe this mid-level Manager at a new global telecommunications company can make anything happen (and that I’d even want it to happen), one never knows, so I take his card.

The Aussie girls and the Englishmen stay busy cracking jokes, and their laughter makes me wonder why I had choose to be Professional.

Suddenly, Mo, our Hostel friend appears, and the girls remind him that I’m holding his credit card, which he asked me to hold so he wouldn’t overspend.  And yes, I was also shocked that a five-minute friend had trusted me so, though I had no urge to spend anyway.

After we finish the second bottle of wine 1 becomes 2:00 a.m and the waiters begin clearing tables.  It’s time to depart.

So our new European “friends,” who are wearing the false veneer of gentlemen, kindly walk me home.

I shout, “thanks, goodnight!” and run up the stairs, extremely ready for bed.



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