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.
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Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Treasures of Ireland: Piped Inside Ashford Castle
The Palladian Traveler enters into a world of regal
elegance wrapped in Irish charm as he files his latest dispatch from inside
one of the Emerald Isle's most storied fortresses.
Chuuk + Wrecks = Scuba Divers' Paradise
As we dropped down to 25,000 feet I saw one of the
most extraordinary panoramas I'd ever been lucky enough to witness. The
majesty of it all and the stunning vistas that lay below and before me were
spectacular. It was as beautiful as spring's first rose, and it made me
understand why so many pilots on commercial jetliners love their job; they
get to see so many awe-inspiring sights from the cockpit. My view was that
of a vast vista of the Pacific.
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.
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing
as the Man who Lived There
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from
the president during Black History Month Frederick Douglass has done
an amazing job... it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's
legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC
surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself
would be a good place to start.
Discovering Art, Culture and Cuisine in Lancaster
Lancaster has always been one of those cities that I pass
through on the way to some other destination. But last week was different.
I finally took the time to explore the place and wow, was I surprised!
I discovered a downtown full of charm, culture, cuisine and community
spirit. My recent getaway began when a friend and I drove about 60 miles
north of Los Angeles toward the Mojave Desert and checked into the Towneplace
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" A Tribute
to the Human Spirit
I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film
Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries
were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother,"
a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and
inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who
go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome
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!
Crooked Eye Tommy: 'Butterflies and Snakes'
When you load the CD Butterflies and Snakes into your
sound system, you know from the onset Crooked Eye Tommy isn't your run-of-the-mill
blues band. The entire recording is based around multiple styles, assorted
genres and two lifetimes of influence. From the swamp-like vibe of the
opening track through the weeping steel guitar highlighting the finale
there's a brand new, old school familiarity that resonates throughout
each one of the 11 original songs.
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.
The enormous Sonora Desert, a colossal 120,000 square
miles of splendor that spreads like a great tapestry of textures and colors
across international boundaries from Arizona into the State of Sonora
in northern Mexico is one of North Americas grand, untrammeled natural
treasures. The complex, sun-blessed region of bright dry heat, brilliant
low-hanging stars, and long, ever-changing shadows that shift with the
sun as they drape like endless silhouettes across craggy walls, mountain
ridges and hidden canyons, is a vibrant land with tales to tell.
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.
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz,
Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours,
which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo,
were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for
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.
The Corinthia Lisbon: A Sybarite's
I was kind of bedraggled and despite the fact that it
was just before noon, I was ready for a nap. However, when I heard how
fabulous the hotel's spa was, I opted for a long and leisurely deep-tissue
massage and knew that afterwards I could collapse on a lounger. What I
had not anticipated was that the spa is a veritable water park, with an
extraordinary hydrotherapy circuit pool and seductive sensory showers.
Travelís Triumph over Terrorism
After a three-month adventure seeking beauty in the
world, many thoughts race through your mind, especially when you have quit
your job, run out of money, and have no clue what comes next. However, a
philosophical discussion on the meaning of life with a perfect stranger
is not one of them.