What do we want?! Croissants! When do we want them?! Now, Bitches!

Vieux Port and Fort Notre Dame de la Garde (say THAT 10 times fast)

The first night in Marseille was noisy!  Granted it is the 2nd largest city in France, but it is also the hip-hop capitol of Europe (give a shout out!).  So, of course the restaurant/club downstairs was bumpin’ some phat beats and they didn’t stop until 3 in the mornin’.  Surprisingly, this did not bother me.  Rather, it was the noise in my room in middle of the night when a dead, broken ass fan decided to come back to life!  It sounded like a sick Tyrannosaurus Rex, loaded up on whiskey and Nyquil.  I kept pleading for it to just die already, but it kept whirling as slowly as a ceiling fan with one blade.  I tried to pull the plug on life support, but its little clicker just kept on ticking.  Ugh.  I put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep for a couple of hours and woke up a few times during the night to yell at it to die already.  By 8am, the “little engine that could” act was really starting to piss me off, so I called down to the front desk and explained the issue to the lovely gentleman on the phone.

He sailed upstairs to check on things so quickly that I was still getting dressed when he knocked on the door (shocker, since I am in France and all).  He was very embarrassed about the noise and upset with me for not letting him know sooner (I was impressed with his attentiveness and customer service skills, plus he is cute and I look like stir-fried shit right now, awesome.)  Anyway, he sailed back out of the room to see if he could fix the problem and returned about 5 minutes later and told me to gather my things because I was changing rooms since he couldn’t resolve the issue right away.  He apologized and said it would be taken care of as soon as possible and offered me free breakfast for the trouble.  I told him I would rather have my laundry done, to which he agreed to both!  SCORE!  Unfortunately, I could hear the garbled T-Rex fan my new room until the early afternoon, so I left to go walk around Vieux Port.

I have FINALLY figured out why people smoke over here!  And hey, it only took me what…..almost three weeks now?  It is to cover up the shit smell emanating from the 1400 year old sewers. They are so nasty that I am seriously considering lighting up a fag, just so I don’t vomit every time I walk along the streets.  Of course, the hurricane gale force winds that are blowing through the streets of Marseille today don’t really help matters much.  Several times, it almost blew me across the street, so I had to lean at a 45-degree angle against it to remain firm in one place.  I ducked into the Maritime Museum, to get out of the wind, and looked at a bunch of boats instead of a bunch of paintings displaying Jesus on a cross.  It was SO refreshing!

Not only that, but the museum isn’t as popular of a destination, so there weren’t hundreds of tourists clamoring to see yet another picture of the Marseille seascape painted in tiny little dots that make you so dizzy to look at you feel like you have had a bottle of wine and it is only 10am.  I did have to share the museum with one older man, however, but he must be very popular in France because his phone rang like 50 times in the hour he was there (either that, or his wife is P-iiiiiiiiii-SSSSSsss-ED!).  It was all I could do to hold myself together and not bust out laughing when I heard it ring the first time – do you know what his ring tone was?!  Lady GAGA – “Born This Way”!   Get a visual on that one for a moment (and if you don’t have the song downloaded to your library yet, well give it a go, you might actually enjoy it)………

When I finally was able to stop crying from stifled laughter, I left and hiked another damn Fourteener to see the Notre Dame de laGarde which was built originally in 1218, but enlarged throughout the years, and then it was consecrated as a Basilica in 1864.  It is topped with a gigantic gold statue of the Blessed Mother and her Son who are blessing the city and its harbor.  After reaching the top of the mountain that the Basilica is built on, I had a seat in one of the pews to gaze at another of the few Black Madonnas, and cried……again!  Jesus, Mary and Joseph (which ironically is what they wrote on people’s arrest warrants in the 17th and 18th centuries)!  I have never been an overly religious person, I have my opinions about religion that I will get into in mixed company, but WTH do I cry at almost every damn church I go into over here?!  Somebody slap me already, I must be hysterical.  Or, at very least, hungry.

Must find bouillabaisse STAT (because the McDonald’s served up with a bottle of vino is starting to sound good….eeeeeeeekkkkkk!)……

Bonjour de Marseille

Sooooooo, I didn’t find any euros on my bus ride to Marseille.  But, you know what I did find in Calypso when we stopped so everyone could get out and stretch their legs a bit?  WEED!  Let it to me to be the only person who is walking around taking pictures of the landscape and happens to look down at the bushes next to them and spots a big fat sack of marijuana!  At first, I looked around to see if the police had staged a sting operation, but saw no one watching the bushes but moi.  I reached down, pulled the bag out of the bushes, inspected it thoroughly, took pictures of it, then put it back.  Yes, I put it back for several reasons:

1.) I am not 20 years old, if I want pot, I can buy it
2.) Smoking pot makes me feel like ARSE
3.) I have better things to do on my trip to Europe than get high, if I wanted to do that, then my ass would still be in Denver

I do have to say though, I stood there and stared at the bushes for a good 15-minutes and laughed along with the Universe’s sick sense of humor – well played, sir, well played, indeed…..

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I think it was definitely this guys…..and he was way to high to remember where it went…….

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The bus arrived in Marseille at 9:45pm to an empty train station, of course without any euros, I was in need of a Metro pass to get from the train station to my hotel.  Unfortunately, every place was closed down and the ticket machines in France do not even take credit cards – WTF century is Europe living in anyway?!  I was just about to pitch a proper temper tantrum, like my 3-year-old goddaughter, right there in the middle of the train station after I asked the woman in the tourist office, “Parlez vous Anglais?”.  She replied “NO” tersely.

Really?!  You work in the TOURIST OFFICE that says JE PARLE ANGLAIS!  I took five years of French, and now can only speak bits and piece (thank you public education), but I know enough to say “Chienne!” However, I caught myself just at that moment when I noticed the police officer standing near the counter holding an AK-47….aaaaaannnnddd instead I politely said “Merci” and went to find a taxi.

Taxi drivers have to be some of the most industrious people I know.  Many of them get a bad rap, but if you seriously want to know about a city, or find someone who speaks 8+ languages, or where to get a good meal, etc. then ask a taxi driver.  I found several that spoke English – and were more than happy to take my American dollars for transport from the train station to the hotel – and the exchange rate was spot on with current market conditions.  Since it is Sunday and all of the banks are closed, and I still have no fricking euros – I need to go hunt down a taxi driver.

Au revoir!