Monthly Archives: August 2006


The chavs have landed. I felt the wind of change at the weekend when I saw a few Burberry baseball caps in the supermarket Geant, and now it’s been confirmed.
Posh & Becks are in town.


French drivers

Say what you like about the French drivers (and a lot has been said) – at least they have manners. If they run you off the road, they apologise, and if you let them run you off the road, they thank you.


I’ve seen it all now: a woman carrying her rat-dog in a Burberry baby papoose.

Ring any bells?

I got round to watching Superman in Cannes yesterday, in version originale (English to the uninitiated) in a truly old school cinema, with only the whirr of the projector to distract you, instead of multiphonic mobile rings, Arabs talking on the phone, kids squawking and rustling food.

The plot was an interesting one: power-hungry man decides to recreate an offshore continent to sell as prime island real estate. Reminds me of something, but can’t quite think what…

Visit to les gendarmes

And back to reality: my car radio was stolen today from just outside the office. Those pesky French swine managed to pick the lock of my Noddy car and disembowel the radio without anyone seeing them. On the second trek down to the commissariat to report the crime (first visit was aborted when we were told all the police officers were out at lunch), the police showed much forward thinking in allowing me to fill in my own report.

I struggled a bit on the Star Trek Enterprise computer, with no keyboard and touch pad only, but not half as much as I struggled when it came to describe the colour of my car. The French, lovers of language speaking the langage of lovers, don’t believe in keeping things straight to the point. Red was just not an option – the closest I could get was brick red or garnet red. Poetry in motion …..

Porsche invasion

It’s not just me that has noticed it is sheikhmobile season in Cannes – it’s the talk of our office. Apparently, this season’s hottest model is the Porsche Cayenne in iridescent purple. Expect to see it cruising the highways of the Gulf by September.

Lessons learned so far

Having been in the Riviera for just over three weeks, I’ve learned six important things.

1. Clothes. The French don’t wear any. Queuing up for McDonald’s in a bikini is perfectly acceptable, as is (to my horror) taking all your clothes off on the side of the street and changing into a baggy thong for the beach, as demonstrated by an old man last weekend. Not sure if my eyes will ever recover after my sheltered existence in the Gulf.

2. Cars. Size counts, but the smaller the better. The French seem to get an adverse pleasure out of showing their status and, well, Frenchiness, by having a teeny micro car that only looks suitable for Scalectrix. I have fitted right in by hiring a Fiat Panda, which passes a striking resemblance to Noddy’s car, which struggles into fifth gear but is fab for parking in ridiculously small mountainside spaces. In fact, the only gas guzzlers I have seen have been those driven by Arabs on holiday.

3. Dogs. Truly man’s best friend here. They go into supermarkets, and banks, and even offer great barking welcomes in the arrival terminal of Nice Cote d’Azur airport. And they are almost always smaller than cats, or even rats (see point 2).

4. Paperwork. Second only to wine in the national league of importance table – a whole rainforest was destroyed just for my bank account application forms. Online applications? No chance.

5. Air-conditioning. Truly a luxury and one that very few have, which makes the 36 degree heat far more unbearable than a sweltering Dubai summer.

6. French TV sucks.