Travel Journal #1

Long flight in very small seats wedged between knees and elbows of the teenager and old lady who only spoke Danish. We coasted into Nice in time for the sunset.

Teenager is staying separate in boys hostel dormitory for the first time. He says he hardly slept between the snoring and the stench of farts. Says it is worse than boy scout camp. I wonder if my perspectives on hostelling are skewed by always staying in female dorms.

I stayed with old ladies who crashed into the room in the middle of the night chatting about tequilla, cauliflower, and soap the first night. Second night old ladies are restless. Half want to sleep in perfect silence and darkness, half want to stay up with lights on crinkling magazines.

The first day we marched all over and back again trying to get things like currency, sustenance, and cellphone service, but in the hot afternoon we found a shady park with astroturf and olive trees where we sat and interacted with the wildlife. Teenager came dangerously close to catching a pigeon.

Some anxiety and difficulties recalling a foreign language I last spoke four years ago, but the really hard part is translating for the half of the party that refused to learn any French. Teenager inspires confidence by telling me he “hates it when I try to act French because everyone just thinks I’m actually retarded.”

Later teenager interrupted a nap to insist we go to the beach where beautiful girls were topless laying in rows sunning themselves in little bikinis. He spent the whole time complaining about the rocks. Bought ice-cream in unusual flavors to make him stop.

Found a good restaurant with very traditional Nice style food for dinner. Ordered an unusual dish of fried rosemary sprigs. Teenager mortified by waiter’s insistence on garbled half-English conversation in which he was confused for my brother instead of son.

Successfully survived first day.

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