Nice, France: Before the Massacre
A Time for Celebration Story & Slideshow by Skip Kaltenheuser
recent shock and awe from a broken mind had me recalling when I joined
celebrants watching fireworks from Nices Promenade des Anglais.
Its a sadness now to envision the tragedy of Bastille Day, the
vulnerability of those looking skyward. But those who know the city,
and who have felt the joy of crowds on the promenade La Prom
can also recall the citys irrepressible spirit.
Starting in the 1700s, much of the English aristocracy
wintered in Nice, drawn to the splendid coastal panorama. Egalitarian
roots were planted in 1820, when a rough winter brought beggars from
the north. The English dreamed up a project for them, constructing a
walkway, paid for by the English barrister and reverend, Lewis Way.
Christian charity at its best.
The beautiful Mediterranean backdrop is a good fit for
one of the most artful and whimsical cities in Europe. Art museums are
an embarrassment of riches, from the Museum of Modern and Contemporary
Art to museums specific to individual artists including Matisse and
Chagall, with loads more up and down the Cote dAzur. Contemporary
galleries that stretch the imagination testify to the quality of artists
still drawn to the magnetic region.
Overlooking the beach It is hard to imagine a more innocent
seven kilometers than when La Prom is filled with families. Baby carriages,
skaters, bicyclists, skateboarders, walkers and joggers it stays
in happy motion beneath the palm trees. It is also hard to imagine a
more artful place than when I was there in February of 2003, for Carnaval
One of Carnaval's treats, the Batailles des Fleurs
Battles of Flowers comprises five parades on La Prom, interspersed
with other parades over a couple weeks. Twenty or so painstakingly decorated
flower floats, each with thousands of stems refreshed on the design
in a single day, carry costumed models throwing one and a half million
or more locally grown flowers at the crowd. Floats are accompanied by
artful dancers, bands, jugglers, acrobats and stilt walkers. Its
a jolting contrast, the recent tragedy and flowers flung at delighted
Satire reigns in other carnaval parades scattered over
the celebration, including the parades of "big heads" and
parades of a couple dozen or more elaborate two-ton floats built by
volunteer artists over six months, based on winning themes submitted
by cartoonists from around the world. The biggest worry was string in
The satirical theme when I was there was the King of
.comMedi, with plenty of hard jabs at medias oppressive and intrusive
aspects. I remember a float of a papier-mâché Larry King
driving a giant tank, firing confetti from the turret with a CNN microphone
at the end. Easy to reflect now on the pundits of major bellwether media
that cheer-leaded for the invasion of Iraq. Shortly after that parade,
the neo-diss and dats, Nut'nyahoo and the other geniuses got their way.
Afghanistan was back-burnered and Iraq was invaded, unleashing waves
of hell that destabilized the region, displaced desperate millions and
lost the childhood of generations. It incubated Daesh and gave broken
minds wherever they might surface the illusion of higher purpose, even
for massacre by lorry. As prescient was a float of a giant grim reaper
with a video cam.
The port city is strengthened by its international melting
pot. The sadness Nice suffers wont disappear as easily as a Carnaval's
King burned in effigy, taking away a year of woes. But this city's artistic
sensibilities and playful humor will survive any assault from madness.
The 2017 Carnaval theme is the King of Energy. Perhaps
global warming, another great displacement in the queue, is on the mind.
It's on mine, as the heat dome settles in.
Any part of the year is a good time to uncork a lunch
bottle of rose' on the French Riviera, but if you want to join Nice
poking fun at society's foibles, check out Nice
tourism, French tourism.
Let Skip know what you think about his traveling adventure.
* * * * *
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Treasures of Ireland: A Pint of the Black Stuff
The Palladian Traveler attempts the perfect pour
as he files his latest dispatch from inside Europe's most popular tourist
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!)
As she came around the corner we could not believe
how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful almost elegant
in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic
example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us
was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power
she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as
quiet as a church mouse or "as quiet as dreaming trees."
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
In the 1840s, the population of California was only
14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived
from all over the world and they came for one reason: gold. James
Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very
much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from
last years Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little
ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already
fed and are rubbing their stomachs.
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on
the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought,
"Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part
I'm not a morning person so I had no problem leaving those
early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their
red snapper for dinner.
Hanging Out in Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is legendary around the world as one
of the best surfing spots. Its waves and beaches are so great, it is also
officially known as "Surf City." But as I learned on a recent
getaway, the town is more than just tasty swells and beautiful white sand;
it also boasts gourmet restaurants, luxury, ocean-front hotels, great
shopping, and tons of California coastal charm.
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom
Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic
television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming
a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic
River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the
camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder
and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five
years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions. Robbins recently
sat down for an exclusive two-part interview, which has been edited for
content and continuity for print purposes.
Monte Verità: In the Footsteps of Anarchy
Just as I reach the end of a squiggling, multicolored
path, an acorn plummets from an oak tree above me. It lands at my feet,
just as the path culminates at a mandala of Venetian glass, eight feet in
diameter. On the worn-out front lawn of Monte Verità, the Mountain
of Truth, this path, Chiara's Rainbow, evolves through the colors of the
spectrum red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally violet
before arriving at the mosaic mandala where psychic energies supposedly
prevail. The falling acorn brings me to the present moment.
Through the Outback on the Indian Pacific's Christmas Train
It was mid December and a heat wave had embraced the
country. Record setting temperatures were searing the land from high 90s
in Sydney and Adelaide to blast furnace heat in the great Outback. Fires
were raging throughout the country. But we were cool, riding the air-conditioned
Indian Pacific railway across the southern expanse of Australia to the west
coast city of Perth, a four-day transcontinental tour...
Leviticus 20:13 Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana
was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've
been interpreting it wrong all these years!
John January and Linda Berry Have Chemistry
Chemistry by its very definition is the spontaneous reaction
of two people to each other, especially that sense of mutual attraction
and understanding. This month John January and Linda Berry release their
new project, Chemistry 101 and together they explore a range and
depth of musical styles on both organic and physical levels. As a joint
labor of love, January says Chemistry 101 is pretty straight-forward.
The Impossible Happened: Itís Time to Get to Work
All of us are stunned, across the entire political spectrum,
by the results of this election. Many are both sickened and saddened,
while others are jubilant. I am guardedly optimistic. I think it's too
early to despair, or to celebrate. In my experience nothing is ever as
bad as it seems, or as good. But there is great cause for concern.
Dia delos Muertos: The Day of the Dead All Saints
October draws to a close with a melancholy air. Days
are colder, dead leaves flutter to the ground after a last burst of color,
before finally drifting away to be tossed by the winds in all directions.
Something about this image that inspires vintage, romantic songs like "Autumn
Leaves" and brings memories of a Love, once held close.
Costa Rica's Green
Sitting at an umbrella table in downtown San Jose overlooking
the Plaza de la Cultura is like a page out of Hemingway's "The
Sun Also Rises." The plaza is laid out in a maze of stalls where
passive vendors sell sparkling silver jewelry by the trayfull, hand-carved
clay masks, colorful Guatemalan belts, area rugs, and hammocks perfect
for a midday siesta. Three men play an old wood marimba over the buzz
of the crowd while a steaming plate of Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) is
served to an elegant lady who was performing with her guitar...
Seville The Most Gay-Friendly City in Spain
I find it nearly impossible to sleep on airplanes. When
I couldn't sleep on the overnight Delta flight from New York to Andalusia
last September, I scrolled through the movies (blah) and other entertainment
(double blah) until I came across the TV show "Game of Thrones".
I knew of it, that it was bloody and sexy, but had never seen it. I watched
more than heard three episodes before dozing off. As I found out later,
it was the perfect introduction to my visit to Seville, Spain.
Tahiti and Her Islands
Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic
images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her
people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks,
tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the
senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my
experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that
NOLA: New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras, the French Quarter, the Garden District,
the streetcar (now a bus) to Desire, the jazz clubs, the beignets at the
Café du Monde and breakfast at Brennans come to mind when you
think of New Orleans. But thats not all there is to this unique American
city, filled with treasures both culinary and cultural.
Telling Tales through Travel
As I ambled through the verdant and sometimes wild, untamed
off-road "savannahs " of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire,
England, I was glad that Robin Hood was my trailblazing Sherpa. Robin,
known outside of the forest as Ezekial Bone, is an actor/interpreter of
history, an extraordinary story teller, and font of information, much
of which will supply me with fascinating cocktail-party persiflage for
years to come. During this stroll, his merry band consisted of me and
a few other Sherwood Forest interlopers, there to learn from a man who
calls these woodlands home.
California Road Trip
You would never guess that you didnt have to
leave the mainland USA to find an Island with lush gardens, oceanside views
and fabulous food all minutes away from downtown San Diego. I wondered what
exactly we were heading towards, an Island in the middle of a city? It sounded
slightly absurd, never-the-less, we drove onto the property of Paradise
Point Resort and Spa and were pleasantly surprised.