Day 12 Disembark and Monte Carlo
Today was quite a busy and eventful day. It started by disembarking from the Seabourn boat. Eff that place. No we go back to being regular, unknown people. It is amazing how the staff on the boat knows every ones names. Whether you meet them on day one or the very last day, the entire staff can greet you by first and or last name. We were able to walk from the boat docks to our hotel in a few minutes, quite convenient. We dropped off our luggage and set forth on a walking journey to make the Jews applaud. We went to the Prince’s Palace and watched the changing of the guards at 11:55am sharp. Apparently that is the big tourist attraction thing to do. After that we took the tour of the inside of the Prince’s Palace.
We rode another Le Petit Train around Monaco. Wifey loves these. Wifey tried to enquire about diving but the only place we found insisted that she have a medical doctors certification. Weirdest thing I’ve heard in a while. We found the one place in the country that dives and made the pilgrimage to their location. It was quite far from anywhere we planned to go. The way I see it, if they don’t advertise diving as a tourist activity, and it is that hard just to find a diving club, it is probably not the kind of place a traveler passing through would want to dive. So she isn’t diving again and was bummed about that. Later we went to the aquarium and oceanography museum. Compared to the glitz, glamour, pomp and circumstance, styling, and profiling ways of Monte Carlo, the aquarium was pretty ghetto. We were both disappointed.
We found five geocaches along the way today. There are a lot of them here. There is one series of caches that runs all along the Grand Prix circuit. When it was time to go back to the hotel we took the city bus. We missed our stop, got lost, and rode it back around to where we should have gotten off. The hotel is pretty swanky. The room is really big and the view is remarkable. It looks out right over the harbor and into the Mediterranean Sea. It also looks right down into several yachts. We can see right into the rooms and swimming pools (yes swimming pools) of these yachts docked here. We decided to have dinner here at the hotel. I don’t know if food is actually worth what they charge for it here. Starvation and/or cannibalism seem like realistic options.
Day 13 Monte Carlo
It’s hard to believe that the view from our hotel room is yachts with servants walking around. Today was spent as a lazy day wandering around Monte Carlo. We walked from one corner to the other corner of this tiny country. Mostly we wandered around The Casino and the high dollar shopping sections. We found a few geocaches while wandering and didn’t find a few. We took a tour of The Casino before it opened. Casino’s in Monte Carlo do not open until 2pm. It cost ten euro to get inside but you can go into all the rooms, private included, and take pictures. Private rooms and pictures are a no-no during the hours of operation. One of the private rooms is awesome. It looks out over the Mediterranean Sea with cool orange colored tables. This is definitely where James Bond played. I can tell you from experience, nothing tastes more delicious for lunch than a $30 hamburger. In the ritzy shops area we saw a dog walk into a shopping mall…just swaggered right into the stores. It must be his owner’s birfday and he is buying presents.
Every car in Monte Carlo is a stunner. Mercedes followed by BMW followed by Audi followed by Ferrari followed by Porsche with an occasional Lamborghini, Bentley, Jaguar, and Smart Cars mixed in. Even the taxis are luxury automobiles.
The second half of today can only be described as complete failure. I dropped Wifey off to go out alone. I was unsuccessful at finding several geocaches. That alone made me feel like a loser. Early in the evening we found out our flight to JNB was canceled. I immediately panicked and was unsure of what to do. I did a bunch of quick, unproductive research on the internets. It seems like the best we can do is go to JNB the next day and miss a day of safari. Our connecting flight out of JNB goes directly to a landing strip at the place we are staying in South Africa. I have no idea how often that flight goes. It is a charter flight, not a regular scheduled flight. I tried to calm myself down, but I legitimately freaked out for a few minutes. I tried to make this wonderful trip for Wifey, and now it is all falling apart. And falling apart at the time she was looking forward to the most is about to start. We have no real way to contact anyone. It was late at night and we have no phones anyway. We ended up buying a calling card. I had to travel all the way to 1975 to get one, but at least we had it. We decided to try to calm down, cool off, and go out to The Casino hoping to rekindle our good times. I was surprised to find out that even though I just traveled back to 1975, The Casino would not take the travelers checks I brought to gamble with. Gambling here was the ONLY reason I bought travelers checks. We ended up leaving without having done any gambling or rekindling any fun. It was probably a good idea that we did not gamble, our luck was shit today. I guess we can’t win everything.
After getting back from The Casino we decided to simply try to get to Paris ASAP, and then hopefully on to JNB. We originally were going to take the helicopter ride from Monte Carlo to the airport in Nice, France. It seemed like a novel and fun idea. We had to cancel that plan and decided to just pack up and leave for the airport in Nice immediately. I was hoping we would have traveled by all methods of transport on this trip. After canceling the helicopter that won’t happen. We did planes, boats, cars, trains, busses, and bikes…everything but a helicopter.
About 3:30am we got a cab and headed to the airport. We were hoping to get to Paris early and then just suck up the fees and pay whatever to get to JNB in time for our charted flight. That flight felt like one we could not afford to miss. Hopefully our travel insurance would cover whatever additional costs we incurred. I completely failed as a husband, provider, and August 2012 Holiday travel guide today.
A select few pictures here.