Nice – The redneck´s tan salvation
The magnificent Mediterranean. Unlike the emerald green tones of the Atlantic, it´s blue turquoise that darkens as you go further from the shoreline.
The temperature is on that perfect “thermal spot” when you´re preparing for a shower and the tap water goes from cold to warm, just before it gets really hot. Quite different from the Atlantic that provides a “crack-bone” feeling every time you go for bathing on the beach. There´s no sand but a wide “carpet” made of medium size pebbles, which makes it difficult to move around barefoot, specially for people with hazardous balance like me. Nevertheless, it´s an awesome “non-cost” foot spa.
Nice is a more exquisite and safe version of Rio de Janeiro. The beautiful and taken care architecture is Nice´s beautification ingredient, you can breathe history and quality of life in every door or window frame.
Just like Rio, the landscape is built upon green hills, oily corps starring at the sun, toned people that “cat-jog” shirtless, sunscreen aroma sauteed with the sea breeze. There´s also a paredão called “Promenade des Anglais,” where all the Riviera good summer times role.
18th century, a harsh winter encouraged immigrants to Nice. The fellow “Anglais” were already established there enjoying the good weather. They proposed the “new-joiners” a project: the construction of a boardwalk throughout the Mediterranean coast. Everyone cheered the idea, specially the Brittish who found on the boardwalk the perfect spot to crisp the skin up to their usual reddish tone. Reason why in Portugal they´re cutely nicknamed “lobsters,” specially in the region of Algarve. If back in those days they´ve accessed the youtube video regarding the importance of sunscreen, that reddish tone wouldn´t have turned into a “trendy” habit.
The promenade was first named “The Path of the English” which changed to “Promenade des Anglais” after Nice´s annexation to France in 1860. It´s still a suitable name due to the promenade´s goers who try to overcome that “redneck” tan into a more homogeneous skin tone, as seen on the pictures below.
In Portugal, “redneck tan” is called “truck-driver tan:” truck drivers wear tank tops that only tans arms, neck and face. “Tank and tan and young and reddish, the boys from the promenade go walking..,” not quite lovely as the “Girl from Ipanema” perhaps. Lady Piaf would have most likely seen a “vie en orange.” Destiny should have set Edith Piaf and Tom Jobim (the Brazilian singer of “Girl from Ipanema”) on a first sight summer love. What a fantastic duet under the French Riviera sun: a Brazilian heartthrob and the lady who sees life in color pink, black beans* and croissants matching together into beautiful chords.
For the non-fluent french speaker, three words are enough to survive in Nice: boulangerie, patisserie, creperie. Words as nice to your ears as for all other senses affected by these greedy places, total boosters of the verb “to get fat.”
Ah Nice.. C´est supér, magnifique!
À bientôt chéris!
Maria Bonifácio Lopes
*Black beans are very famous in Brazilian cuisine; quite used in several dishes as well as a side dish on barbecues and other meals.