Ah, yes, leaving America. In less than 6 months, I’m traveling to Nice, where I will be staying 10 days here in this cozy downtown crib.
The thing is, what is going on in Nice, exactly, and, more generally, in France itself?
Is everything there going to gouhana?
I mean, do I really want to move to a country that seems to be filled with anti Moslem animus? Now don’t get me wrong. I understand how they feel about that lunatic who drove a truck onto the Prom last year and killed almost 100 people. I don’t know what the answer is to solving this nightmare that doesn’t seem to go away, and I have no problem getting that people want to live in safety. Hell, so do I.
So bag that Orly terrorist, and anyone like him.
But then I open Nice Matin (the local rag) this morning and read about a woman being knifed dead on Rue de Lépante, and it’s not apparently the work of some “crazy Moslem nutjob.” This is what that street looks like: it’s a typical street near the center of town.
And just the other day, there was this white Christian school boy (personally, I loathe tis sort of terminology, but it’s necessary in this case) in Grasse who walked into some high school loaded to the gills with Dad’s and Gramps’ weapons, including a grenade, which they use in France to hunt wild boar. Grasse? Land of aging boomers spending their children’s inheritance on the Mas-in-Provence lifestyle?
Then I look at the French election that’s coming up in six weeks, with loony tunes macho battle axe I’m-more-mannish-than-any-faggy-Laborite-backbencher May all set in her densiflora political idiocy to destroy what’s left of the United Kingdom as background noise for Marine the paid-for Russian stooge (no wonder she showed up in NY in January the week before the so-called inauguration for an audience with Guy Lumbago at Trump Tower) all set to clean up in the French boonies.
So here’s this daughter of some right-wing holocaust-denying Frenchie ex Nazi creep, with all kinds of weird connections to the part-Indonensian pol with the hooded eyes and peroxide doo (totally normal, mate: no worries there), UKIP, and whatever jackboot types are lurking about in Germany, Austria and Italia, and she’s still leading the polls at the moment (okay, so her niece is hot, but is even more of a right-wing sleaze ball), though Parisian types are fanning themselves, and assuring the world she will never win the second round.
Marine is being contested by some 39-year old whiz kid whose name is Spaghetti, or Macaroni, and who also goes off the deep end, in his own way, except with slightly less over-the-toppish Moslem-bashing turdosity.
Coming in third is some old party hack called Filet Mignon, or something like that, who is under criminal investigation for his version of Trumpian nepotism, and whose oddball Welsh wife, Penelope, he gave some no-show yob to at taxpayer’s expense. Well first of all, what self-respecting Welsh woman calls herself Penelope?
So there we have it, France: a country that does not know, really, what it wants for itself as a future, other than throw out les Arabes, because of the Malthusian time bomb thingie, not to mention all those minarets sprouting up like guided missiles (per various unpleasant cartoons), a country that has a looming election that’s offering up one mediocre political tout after another as its erstwhile Fearless Leader, the man or woman with the answers to it all. We’re a long way from Charles de Gaulle, baby, and I’m not talking about the airport.
This is France today.
A former colonial power that kind of raped Algeria and Senegal etc but is now resorting to nationalistic chest-beating, a la the wigged out Duke of Orange, in terms of voter scare tactics; a country that is bizarrely obsessed with John Malkovich’s taxes; and focused on things like Burkinis and head scarves and ditching the EU, instead of say, finding a way to address its 23% cent youth unemployment rate, its slow descent into national bankruptcy due to factors such as costly universal health care coverage, free higher education, excessive bureaucracy, punitive taxation for the wealthy, lazy person work week, strike prone labor force, declining manufacturing base and tourist trap economy, or, more succinctly, the problem that its entire population has with picking up dog doo on the street. That one’s kind of simple really, easy to, er, grasp for most: if your dog craps on the sidewalk, pick this shit up, Frenchie. Can it be any simpler?
The other thing one has to keep in mind about Nice is the tourists. They come out of your ears in Nice. They’re not even the standard American kind of tourist, you know, the ones with the loud mouths, loud tees, and sophistication of a pipe fitter from Queens.
They’re more apt nowadays to be El Weirdo Eastern European and Russian criminal types, gloating over screwing over the last American Presidential election.
Some people (not me, of course!), can’t bloody stand the sight of tourists, particularly if they are the aging Scandinavian version, with sensible fanny packs and woolen socks under their Birkenstocks, munching contentedly on crappy takeout pizza on Rue de France, while making wry comments to each other in some incomprehensible Nordic language.
People who dislike tourists think all that riffraff needs to be banned from the Riviera permanently. Or at least banned from any place they’d want to hang out in Nice. Like Don Zaluchi in the scene of the Meeting of the Five Families:
I don’t want them near schools. I don’t to see any of them near children. That’s an infamia. I don’t want to see them on the Prom. I don’t want to see them at Lou Pistou. I don’t want to see them anywhere near the port. I don’t want to see them in the Carré d’Or. I don’t want to see them on the tram in Jean Medecin. I don’t want to see them sipping rosé in the Old Town. And I refuse to see their bony asses climbing up the Nietzsche trail. They’re all animals, anyway, so let them lose their souls.
Well, none of this is, er, gonna happen.
So, as I gaze at my newly-arrived UK/UE passport, which is good for two years of presumably hassle-free living in France, without worrying about Carte de Séjour crapola, until this brain-damaged Brexit bs kicks in for real in 2019, and I wonder… is Nice really the best I can do, in terms of escaping from America?
A kéké trolling Place Massena
Put another way: is the Côte d’Azur (a magnet for snooty retired Parisians, rich Mafioso wives with suitcases full of Euros, Corsican thugs with separatist tendencies, superficial kékés patrolling Place Massena, and vomit-inducing Russians) the best I can do in terms of getting the heck out of Gringo Land for a while?
Isn’t there another place, one where I also have the right to live if I want to (ah yes, that nice Egyptian ID card I have neatly stashed in my back pocket is looking mighty sweet right now), and where it’s really not a very smart idea to start mouthing off about Moslems (wouldn’t it be a relief not to have listen to that nonsense any more!) and where the living is safe and easy and yes…
… a place where I could chill for 6 months, and return to the US in, say, March for summer, before returning to Paradise?
… oh and did I mention…
Yes there is!
On the Red Sea Riviera.
To someone like me, it’s a veritable utopia, compared to expensivo, rainy Nice; or maybe it’s just a desert mirage that can’t possibly exist.
Actually, it’s quite real.
Uh, seems to be a no brainer, if one bases such a decision merely on a pic I filched from some travel blog. You can even buy fresh veggies here, as well as your libations below. (How does a reasonably-priced, ice-cold bottle of local brewsky sound to you after a bracing ATV romp in the desert flats behind Gouna?)
It’s usually a good idea to have a good understanding of the economic environment you’re contemplating going to live in long-term (obviously if you’re a young tourist out for a bargain sun and windsurf weekend bash, or a foreign retiree looking for the calmer pastures of perpetual dining out, golf, snorkeling, and senior tennis, grasping the role of, say, Naguib Sawiris and ORASCOM in Egypt, which Amr Adly’s excellent report covers, would be largely irrelevant; ORASCOM dominates life in Gouna).
With the dollar currently at 18 LE (more than double the exchange rate of 4 years ago, when I last visited Gouna), and as long as one goes in with eyes wide open, ça peut-être vaut le coup — assuming continued political stability, and that the water wells don’t run dry!