Monday, May 16, 2011

The Irony of Nice

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I’ve visited Nice more times than I can count. I don’t say that to brag; I’m just telling you this so that you understand my history with the city. I used to meet a friend there years ago. We had great times. Nice has great music bars and some OK restaurants.

Nice has changed. You might even say that Nice isn’t nice anymore. Of course Nice is as safe as any other city in France during the day—although I was roughed up at around one o’clock in the afternoon. The city, despite its affable name, has one of the highest crime rates in France. So why don’t they call Nice Mean?

Tourists who potter around the old town in Nice for a few hours don’t really see the ugly side of the Côte d’Azur. If you stay out after dark, though, you'll see it's getting uglier and uglier. Actually, it’s getting prettier and prettier if you count the prostitutes that hang around the corners a few feet away from the promenade as dusk sets in. I have nothing against these statuesque ladies personally, but I wonder what kind of life they lead, and what kind of horrors they must endure.

And then there are the drug dealers making odd sounds to get your attention. You’d think that they’d just say, “Hey, you want some hash?” Their freaky little whistling sounds are just as obvious.

And it’s our fault really. The tourists. I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly need a six-foot prostitute from Ukraine or a kilo of hash. I just want to enjoy the Côte d’Azur without being reminded that there is a dark undercurrent of crime. I want the police to react to crime, but it is really too much to ask when they are afraid for their lives. Or is it?
 
Nice is a beautiful place, mostly, but it isn’t nice anymore. Canne has been awful for quite a long time: artificial and embarrassing. 

These European cities that are totally dependent on tourism are infuriating in their arrogance. OK, I’m ranting. Watch me rant. The Côte d’Azur would be a better place if the tourists stayed away until these cities and towns ached—ached—for us to come back.
 
I must be off (to France for the weekend),
Christopher

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Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle.