i had heard horror stories about how touristy nice and how i should avoid it like the plague. however, when it came time to book a hostel, nice was the only town on the mediteranean that had decent prices. so i booked 2 nights and i do not at all regret it.
the hostel was clean and had free internet, two of my big sticking points. i met a guy who just got out of the navy after 9 years and we went out for dinner and discussed teaching and politics and the war in iraq. since he had been in bagdad a few months ago i asked him about the current situation. he explained that this is prob the worst mess we have seen in many years and will end up being there for 10-20 years and as poor of a job as we are doing at keeping peace, if we weren,t there the country would be in absolute chaos.
later on the train to florence i read an article in the international tribune that explained that most if the government contracts given out to companies to rebuild iraq are expiring and that the companies (ahem, haliburton) havent actually completed much rebuilding, thanks in large part to security issues and a lack of criticism and prodding from those in power. and the us government has no plans to renew efforts at rebuilding. considering the country is only getting 6 hours a day of electricity, is it really a surprise that the insurgency is only getting stronger? is this even being talked about back home in the midst of elections that are coming up? has anyone put forth a plan to actually improve conditions in iraq so that our army can actually have a chance at coming home in the next 10 years?
sorry, this is supposed to be a travel blog and i really started this out as a story about nice, but its hard to avoid the news from home when it seems all bad.
Nice however really was nice. i ate cheese and french bread on the rocky beach the next day and then decided that 65 degrees air temp and similair water temp meant that i should go for a swim in the med sea. it was awesome. a saltier than the atlantic, but i floated around for awhile then basked in the bright sun for an hour. no vacation is complete without a little beach time.
Nice kinda\reminds me of the jersey shore, touristy, relaxed, but in the offseason the fading grandeur of the buildings and cheesiness of the shops becomes a little more evident. in other words it was perfect.