One by one, like players in an Oceans Eleven film, our little ensemble arrived in Nice yesterday afternoon. Smaller from Dubai, Nicholls from Kuala Lumpur, Fletcher from Newport Beach, Roberts from Boston, and the London Rat Pack—St. John, Ian, Austin and, of course, Hardy, our host. A glass of champagne aboard Hardy’s 110-foot sailing yacht, Unplugged, and a short cruise to La Porte de Monaco where we tied up for the night at the gas dock, a rather unusual development necessitated by the great number of megayachts in town for Monaco Classic Week and the Regates Royales in Canne.
I don’t know what the deal is but it’s almost impossible to get a taxi from the harbor to Monte Carlo. Even worse is trying to get one going back, particularly late at night. A few years ago when we were here we stood in a drizzling rain at two in the morning along Av. Princesse Grace looking like a sorry bunch of hookers after a fruitless evening at Jimmy’z.
We didn’t even mess with trying to find a taxi in the harbor this year. Instead, Hardy flagged down a hotel van that was just pulling out of the parking garage of the Riviera Marriott and offered the guy a wad of euros to take us to the Café de Paris on the plaza next to the casino.
This is a wicked scene—drunk tourists, super-rich Russians, young Italian playboys, and more than a few well-dressed gold diggers (Cutie da bomb/Met her at a beauty salon/With a baby Louis Vuitton/Under her underarm). You just pull up a wicker chair and watch the show go on in front of you—a half-naked girl sitting on the hood of a Ferrari, holding a bottle of Veuve; young things from Eastern Europe in barely-there skirts, primping like models along the promenade, just waiting for some grotesquely rich Russian (preferably one named Roman) to suggest a late-night trip out to their yacht; transvestites in full-length furs.
The Café de Paris is like an outdoor cabaret. Where the floor show never ends. So we sat there, elbow-to-elbow with some shit-faced-lederhosen-wearing Germans on one side of us and two silk-suited gay Italians on the other, drinking a beer. One beer. A beer that cost 15 euros each or about $22. And it wasn’t even cold.
Now I ain’t saying the Café de Paris is a golddigger. But she ain’t messin’ with no broke….
Well, you know what I mean.