C’est la vie
by Tracey Nelson
12 Sep 2007
France. Land of small dogs and narrow streets. One of my travelling companions got a refresher course on the narrowness and tight turns of inner city streets in Marseille following the All Blacks’ big win over Italy last weekend. In true male style he had worked on the “bigger is better” theory and upgraded the rental car to an Audi A6 – fabulous if you are blatting down the motorways but not the size car you want to negotiate the little winding streets on the hill below Basilique Notre Dame de la Gare. Accordingly, we became cast on a tight turn and the Audi is now looking slightly less than pristine with a nice gouge and scrape on the rear passenger door. But it’s ok, we have full insurance. At least, that’s what he thinks he’s signed up for…
I must also say that for a land of small dogs they sure can produce a lot of excrement – a major past time in Marseille and elsewhere in France has been avoiding standing in the stuff which is all over the footpaths. Marseille spent a couple of days heaving with New Zealand and Italian supporters, with the population in the bars and cafés around the picturesque Vieux Port quadrupling in size on the Friday and Saturday nights. However, one of the most noticeable things so far in France has been the lack of RWC fever. Take away the visiting supporters and really there is precious little to let you know the event is on. There is some subtle advertising and small displays in some shop windows but as a non rugby person you wouldn’t even know France was hosting the competition.
The only newspapers in English over here are the British ones, and they have grudgingly given praise to our win over Italy as much as they can ever give us praise – and it’s more coverage than Australia are getting. But all focus is on the mouthwatering match up of South Africa v England this Friday night and I am going to make sure I’m in a bar that is showing the full game and doesn’t suddenly switch channels part way through to show a Euro 2008 soccer qualifying game. Serves them right that they lost to Scotland last night seeing as they switched off the Itlay-Romania game part way through the second half. Apparently the technology isn’t good enough (or the wallets deep enough) for bars over here to have two sports channels playing simutaneously.
In the last few days we’ve travelled through Montpellier through to the walled city of Carcasonne, and we’re presently in Avignon about to head to Lyon where no doubt the hordes of Kiwis will be beginning to gather again. With any luck I won’t have to spend an hour trying to find an internet café in that city, although I shan’t hold my breathe with any degree of anticipation…