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DAY EIGHT: Lisse and Amsterdam

Posted on March 28th, 2014

Dave!"We have arrived!" announced the hotel shuttle driver to myself and another passenger as we pulled into the Nice Airport around 4:30am. And so I climb out and ask the driver to open the back of the van so I can get my bag. He says "This stop is not for you," and so I start to climb back on the van... only to have the driver slam the gas pedal to the floor as I am half-way in. The van lurches forward, causing the sliding door to smash into my side and send me flying 20 feet. My head crashes into the pavement and, as I lay there bleeding and trying to breathe, the driver stands over me and says "I said this stop was not for you!" — which is why I was climbing back on the van, of course, but let's not apply logic to the situation. You would think that A) The driver would make sure everybody is actually ON the van before hitting the gas, and B) He would start out slowly just in case the first passenger was still standing near... or the second passenger was in the process of boarding... or a pedestrian is crossing the street... or whatever. But, alas, no.

Blood pouring down my face and hunched over in pain, I somehow make my way inside the airport (at the next stop, natch) so I can try to clean myself up in a bathroom. Much to my horror, my glasses are destroyed, so I have to fish for contact lenses in my suitcase. But I can only put a lens in one eye because blood is pouring over the other one. A package of antibiotic wipes and 20 minutes of direct pressure later, my second lens is in and it's time to head to the gate for my flight.

The wonderful KLM cabin crew gave me ice for my head on the flight back to Amsterdam. This made the swelling die down a bit, and also caused the pain to subside. As for my chest where I was hit? The pain became searing, so when I got off the plane I started pressing around and... SNAP... I think I had a fractured rib, because now that it's been set back in place I feel totally fine... just a little sore now.

In other news... I have never felt so fucking macho in all my life as to snap my own fractured rib back in place! I'd go to the doctor, but all they would do is wrap me up and give me pain meds, so I'm just going to put on a tight T-shirt and self-medicate. Same difference! A-fucking-right... this is one macho bitch right up in here.*

Anyway...

My plans to visit some work colleagues in Amsterdam had to be abandoned so I could recuperate back at Casa de DutchBitch for five hours until she got off work. At which time we decided to visit "Europe's Garden"... the Keukenhof. I was there back in 2012 and loved it, so I was looking forward to another visit on this beautiful day, even if I was loaded with pain-killers...

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

The Keukenhof

After a wonderful afternoon looking at flowers, it was time for dinner at one of my favorite places on earth, Restaurant De Kas. It's a beautiful eatery outside of Amsterdam that resides in a greenhouse where they grow their own food. It's pretty special.

Restaurant De Kas

But it's at night that this place becomes really special...

Restaurant De Kas

The menu is a surprise, built around what came from the garden that day, and they accommodated my vegetarian diet beautifully...

Restaurant De Kas

Restaurant De Kas

Restaurant De Kas

An absolutely wonderful evening. After an absolutely wonderful day. After a terrible morning.

And now? Having experienced first hand what it's like to get run into by a car, I'm going to take some heavy drugs and go to bed. So good night to you! And (hopefully) a good night to myself.

   

*Unless, of course, it wasn't a fractured rib at all... in which case I have no idea what snapped inside there. Maybe I'm the moron who just cracked his own rib? I dunno. Playing doctor is a lot harder than it looks on television. Still, I'm feeling 1000% better than I was, so you can't argue with the results.

   

DAY SEVEN: Nice

Posted on March 27th, 2014

Dave!I've been around Nice when visiting Monaco and Eze, but have never actually been to Nice proper. Now that there's a Hard Rock in town, that had to change.

Well, that and the movies shot in the city always make it look so amazing. Like that car chase in Ronin... or that car chase in The Transporter... or the car chase in Never Say Never Again (well, not a car chase per se, but that would have been an excellent addition to the film, wouldn't it?).

And so... on to Hard Rock No. 155...

Hard Rock Cafe Nice

Hard Rock Cafe Nice

Hard Rock Cafe Nice

Hard Rock Cafe Nice

Beautiful views. Lovely restaurant. Kind of boring for a Hard Rock.

After lunch I headed to the beach. The weather was not great beach weather, but it was still a beautiful day on the Côte d'Azur...

The Beach at Nice

Lovely turquoise water, but something seems... off...

The Beach at Nice

Wait... that's not sand... it's... ROCKS?!?

The Beach at Nice

Yes. The famous beach at Nice is covered not with sand, but with rocks? All this time I had no idea. And yet there were people laying around with beach towels and the whole bit. Which can't be comfortable, can it? As I stumbled across the "beach," attempting to keep my footing while walking on cascading stones, I admit to being a bit disappointed.

Until I stopped for a second and listened to the rocks rolling in the surf. It was totally hypnotic...

Nice itself is quite a lovely city. Especially back at their main square, Place Masséna, which features the "Fontaine du Soleil" (Fountain of the Sun) in the southern half. From a distance, it looks quite impressive with a giant statue of Apollo standing in the middle...

Fontaine du Soleil

It's when you get closer to the fountain that things start to get disturbing. Apollo has freaky bulging eyes staring at you. And the crown of horses on his head look more like those baby chest-bursters in Alien. Not to mention his dick... swinging...

Fontaine du Soleil

And the statues in the fountain basin? Utterly bizarre...

Fontaine du Soleil

Clockwise from the upper-left...

  1. Nude Woman Flying with Buffalo While Holding a Baby?
  2. Nude Pipi Longstocking Riding a Giant Ugly Carp?
  3. Nude Man Shielding His Eyes from the Sun While Walking a Bull?
  4. Nude Man Directing Traffic with a Horse?

The northern half of Place Masséna is wide open... except for these poles that have nude men (covered in bird shit) kneeling on top of them...

Place Masséna

Place Masséna

No idea what that's all about.

Walking back to the train station, I passed Nice's version of the Notre Dame Cathedral...

Notre Dame Cathedral Nice

Which looks better with a little HDR magic...

Notre Dame Cathedral Nice

My original plan was to take a train to Cannes or Monaco for dinner, but I was just done traveling for the day. I was actually done with traveling for the week. Tomorrow's flight back to Amsterdam at 6:30am will be hard enough.

So an early night to bed it is.

   

Vive!

Posted on February 23rd, 2012

Dave!I should know better than to keep watching the Republican debates.

But like the glutton for punishment I am, I tune in with the faint hope that I'll hear something new... or interesting... or inspiring... or even just a tiny bit smart. This country has big problems, and I'm still waiting to hear from somebody who can figure it all out.

But that person sure ain't one of the Republican candidates for president. So not only am I wasting my time, I'm also exposing myself to near-fatal levels of bullshit.

Like listening to Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum once again vomit up some of his outrageous crap...

President Barack Obama actually went to France a year or so ago and was with Nicolas Sarkozy and said that, "Here I am with the French Prime Minister, our best ally in the world." Now think about this. Name one time in the last 20 years that the French stood by us with anything. But in Barack Obama's eyes, that makes them our best ally, because they fought what was in the best interest of our country.

The levels of stupid here are just too legion to even contemplate. Fortunately, I don't have to, as Politifact did an excellent job of debunking this fucked-up statement. The truth is that France has been a true ally to this country for a very long time. They deserve a lot better than to be diminished and dismissed by a piece of shit politician looking to score cheap points.

In a time when the USA has too many enemies in too many places, we need to remember who our friends are...

DAVETOON: Vive la France!

Despite my loathing of Santorum's never-ending hypocrisy, hate, exaggeration, and outright lies, a part of me still wants to believe that a candidate for President of the United States of America surely must want what's best for this country in their heart. But how can I in this case?

Either Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum is so evil that he would purposely damage our relationship with a long-time ally just to get votes out of people too fucking stupid to question his lies... or... he himself is so fucking stupid that he doesn't even know when he's lying any more...

Santorum says
Photo taken from Reuters

If you want to find somebody fighting what is in the best interest of our country, Rick, all you have to do is look in a mirror. Everything that's wrong with America is staring back at you.

   

Day Thirteen: Villefranche

Posted on September 16th, 2010

Dave!The internet connection onboard has been sucking even worse than usual. It's been so bad that I couldn't upload yesterday's entry despite numerous attempts. So glad I paid $150 for this.

Today is the cruise's final port of call in Villefranche. Sandwiched nicely between Monaco and Nice, it's a great place to start exploring France's Cote d' Azur...

Villefranche

Overlooking Villefranche

After a great drive along the coast, the first stop was Monaco...

Monaco Overlook

It's a beautiful place, with plenty of photo opportunities...

Monaco Street

Seagull in Monaco

And since you can't visit Monaco without a visit to the Casino at Monte Carlo...

Monte Carlo Casino

The interior is pretty spectacular... even if you have to pay 10 Euros to see it. I was going to go all James Bond and play some Roulette, but the lone table they had running was packed so I played slots instead. After winning 30 Euros almost immediately, I was going to cash in... but felt more than a little silly cashing in such a meager amount, and instead played it all until it was gone.

Lunch was at the famous Cafe de Paris...

Cafe de Paris

After which you are given time to wander around the pricey shops and see the sights... like the infamous hairpin turn of the Monaco Road Race...

Monaco Race Route

After goofing around in Monaco and Monte Carlo, the final stop was the medieval village of Eze, which was pretty cool...

Eze

Eze

Eze

And that was that. The last port excursion of the trip, and time to go back to the ship...

The Disney Magic

Just in time... the clouds are really starting to move in.

   

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