Monte Carlo, Monaco...18 July, 2010...Day Off Edition
Woke late after an exhausting day of travel the yesterday. My day off in Monte Carlo began with breakfast on the veranda of my hotel room overlooking this resorts three swimming pools and the deep azure Mediterranean...the sky bright blue and the sun ablaze. After a very mediocre pot of coffee and a few stale croissant, I put my togs on, moseyed down to the fitness centre and took a good 90 minute beating. Came back to the room and finished what was left in the stale bread basket and set out for the pool. I found a grand little area around one of the lagoons...heaven, nobody around. Unfurled my towel across the chaise lounge, removed my shirt, shoes and sunglasses then laid back. No sooner had I sunk in, a lady very haughtily informed me "This space is for rent!" Well shit, no wonder it was deserted. Picked up all my stuff and found the only other spot round the pool, near the out door service kitchen and a sound system pumping loads of crap disco music. Why do people think this creates a happening vibe? Still, it was good soaking up some Med rays for an hour.
What can I say about Monte Carlo? Think Las Vegas on the Mediterranean except with boat loads more money and sophistication, or pseudo-sophistication. Looking out of my veranda and up the coast line, it's so highly civilized that it's somehow the downfall of civilization, sort of a builder and a destroyer. Don't know how to explain it. There are so many Ferrari's, Rolls' and Bentley's here that a Porsche Carrara is like a Toyota Camry in the States.
At 7 in the evening Guy rang the room to see if I cared to join he and his wife Laurie and Danny for a drink followed by dinner somewhere out of the hotel that we could afford. We met in one of the posh bars downstairs, The Blue Gin Bar to be exact. My idea of heaven, wonderfully cool and dark inside, leading to a large outdoor patio overlooking the sea. Think of it, a bar specialising in Vitamin G...gin! The waiter brought drink menus full of every kind of frilly concoction, tiramisu drinks, bubble gum drinks, coffee flavoured drinks, rum drinks, drinks the colour of primary crayolas. They couldn't make a straight up gin martini, didn't know what that was...got it confused with Martini Rossi vermouth. We ended up ordering several gin and tonics, very good by the way and very expensive...Guyus and I splitting the tab.
Off we headed into the sunset, following the same course as the Monte Carlo Grand Prix and through the tunnel those cars tear through at 170+ miles per hour. Walking through it last night with cars going a normal speed, I cannot imagine what the decibel level would be with racing engines in there. We walked along the marina where the private yachts are tied and on display. These are things like I've never seen before, gleaming mini cruise ships all kitted out with lavish furnishings and staff to maintain it all...folks having parties on the backs of them. Nice work if you can swing it.
We finally reached our destination, a simple Mediterranean restaurant on the harbour. We had great dinner, delicious pizzas, wine, beer, salads and soups. Got out of there a few pounds heavier and a few Euros lighter and worth every bit of it. Stopped at a gelato stand on the way back.
For all Monte Carlo is or isn't, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. It was a grand day to be alive, one I'll never forget and loved every second of it...even being thrown out of the private lounge area of the pool. Face it, this luxury game is tough sledding but it must be done.