8/02/2004

scappare: to escape. scappare di corsa: to run away. i spent the weekend in sunny, sandy, sweaty cote d'azur. the last time i'd been, you'll recall, was a chill january or february, about a year and a half ago, and i had stretches of beach all to myself, and the seas were unmarred by these unsightly cruiseliner behemoths and their gaudy yacht spawn. the train trip is actually a direct shot straight to nice from piemonte, and passed through the heartbreakingly beautiful roya valley at the southern end of the provençal alps. i really should have just disembarked at saorge or tende, but i got off at nice because, well, i needed a haircut. at the top of my to-do-in-france list is "find phildar shop." phildar, if you are not familiar, is a truly excellent knitwear company that puts out these kickass knit pattern magazines that are way, way better than anything that comes out of the states. (interweave knits is a contender, but appeals to a different audience.) and amazingly enough, i came upon a phildar magasin just a few hundred meters away from the train station down nice's main drag, av. jean-medeçin, and i picked up a few different issues of their current publications, along with some red phil ruban, a cotton tape that should knit up pretty quickly. the rest of av j-m is chockablock with the usual european chains. i had a few hours to waste before my haircut, so i went in search of lunch and found a cute, very east village-looking spot near rue joffre, called "paté cotes". the food here is no gastronomic tour-de-force by any stretch of the imagination, but i much enjoyed my croque-monsieur while people-watching and sneaking morsels to the dachshund snuffling around under the tables. i also found les néréides, a jewelry shop with all kinds of lovely little rings and necklaces. i got this enameled ring with a tiny peony and leaf. so didier at salon artaban still remains one of the best hair guys i've encountered in my search for the perfect haircut, but it's always one of those experiences where he finishes and you look in the mirror and can't decide whether to laugh or cry or both. but then, two days later, you realize he's a fucking genius with scissors and admonish yourself for ever flagging in faith. i feel like a shorn sheep -- and this is probably the shortest haircut i've ever gotten -- but i like it. maybe some pictures of it will show up, someday. i headed further west through the french riviera to st. raphael, in search of, i'm not sure -- something. but i didn't find it. instead, i found hordes of fat, sweaty, sunburnt german families and american backpackers and leathery, gaudily overjewelled european mistresses, too many buskers by the seaside selling crappy provençal (by way of china) tchotchkes, and a profusion of mediocre pizzerias by the beach. i abandoned the idea of having a nice aperitif while watching the waves roll in, and instead, picked up slices of paté de campagne and mousse de canard, along with a crottin de chavignol and a pretty decent ficelle from the bakery next door and made myself a little picnic. white peaches are really, really delicious right now. i found that i most prefer the plage at 9pm and 8:30am, when i can stand right at that point on the beach where the tide rolls in and sucks the sand out from between my toes. and i can lose myself in this infinite stretch of sea and feel both part of everything and not part of anything at the same time. sorry, the ocean makes me wax nauseatingly. but it was restorative just to stand there, thinking, thinking, and not thinking, about everything and nothing.

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