Monday, May 22, 2006

Bye Bye Law School

I turned in my last paper on Friday. I was in a hotel room in Monte Carlo, where Jonathan was at a conference and the cappuccinos cost, like, 10 euros. It's really hard to pull an all nighter when the coffee's so expensive. I went to an Italian shop a mile from our hotel to buy bread, cheese and fruit, and thus to avoid either starving or bankrupting myself, and the bill came to 36 euros.

I didn't much like Monte Carlo. To be sure, I didn't see much because I was writing that paper, and everyone was tres gentil (et tres patiente avec moi quand j'essaye parler francais), but still, everything seemed to me to be about money. Lamborghini, Maserati, Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Ferrari all had showrooms on l'Avenue de Princess Grace and Rue de Prince Albert, etc., etc. Many of the hotel guests arrived in such automobiles. The women dressed like fashionable trash. The men leered. All of the place's natural beauty-- houses built into a mountain overlooking the insane blue of the sea-- was obscured by the glitz and cheeze. On the other hand, as a casino town, Monte Carlo has none of Vegas' positive attributes: $5.99 buffets dinners and open bars on the floor.

The trip was otherwise fantastic. We spent the weekend with my aunt, who lives in a tiny village. It's the platonic ideal of bucolic-ness. Green pastures filled with cows as fluffy as Snuffleluffagus, forsythia hanging from roofs, blue bells dotting meadows. My aunt, Latu Bua (that's short for Lalita, her first name, and "bua," which means "father's sister"), was as always the consummate and most loving hostess. She fed us Champagne; mangos; piping hot, fluffy pooris with chana and alu sabzi; Champagne. She gave us gifts (Indian kurtas and a skirt for me; cologne and aftershave for Jonathan). We hung out with her, her son--my devilishly handsome cousin Manu (who'd flown in from the Hague for the weekend)--and her daughter-in-law-- my lovely cousin-in-law Shadi (who had come to London from Hong Kong for business). My only regret of the trip is that I didn't spend more time with Latu Bua and the other Sachdevas. I hope I will go back soon.

We flew to Nice on Tuesday, getting (we thought) some movie industry bigwigs on our flight. One woman was definitely a Bollywood star-- very glam, long, layered black hair, lots of kohl, Saran-wrap-tight jeans and knee length boots. None of us had the nerve to ask her who she was, or to ask for her autograph, but I did try to make conversation with her mother. Unfortunately, the mother seemed not to speak English.

After the yuck that was Monaco, Jonathan and I drove a Peugeot (sounds much like my name) to Maillane, a town in Provence, to visit my college friend Julia. Although Jonathan and I had some car trouble (the car was a sort of clutchless manual shift, which was a slight problem on the steep hills of Monte Carlo), some toll booth trouble (till we discovered they take credit cards) and some directional trouble (damn those far-apart exits on A7!), we pulled up at the gate of Julia's farmhouse around midnight. Unfortunately, we could not figure out how to open the gate or ring the bell. Finally, in a fit of pique and much to Jonathan's chagrin, I climbed over the gate and ran up to the brightly lit window, where Mina (another friend who's staying there) and two of her friends were having some wine. I gave them quite the scare. It turns out we were supposed to go to the second gate, which has some buzzer. That this Provence farmhouse has two gates gives you some impression of how ridiculous and big it is, and if it doesn't, telling you that it has a six or seven bedrooms, two kitchens, a Turkish sauna, a pool, and a tennis court might. The remainder of the weekend involved at least five rounds of Kir Royales and several bottles of wine, a large and lush lunch with lots of cheese, and an extravagant dinner-- truffles, foie gras, three desserts, the works--somewhere, courtesy of our gracious hosts.

And now, alas, I am back at home. It is fabulous and weird. For the first time in a very long time I have no school work; no work work-- nothing to do except organize my life, read novels and magazines, watch movies and go for walks. Bar courses will take a bit of time, but only that.


11 Comments:

Blogger Bobby said...

Pooja - Sorry I wasn't there in Plaxtol to meet you guys - I agree with your description of Monte Carlo - I would have suggested you go to Antibes or Juan Le Pins for a nicer touch of south of france. Anyway, next time.

So, what is the next step for you? The Bar? Work at a law firm?

Love B

7:55 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Phew.......

I got exhausted just reading about the trip :)) Sounds wonderful though.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Oh and I recommend Fayance. It's about 30 minutes drive from Cannes into the hills. The valleys around there are a sight to behold especially when the mistraal blows.

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Christina said...

So sorry I was not there Pooja, I was so looking forward to seeing you guys and sharing all those treats in Plaxtol! Please forgive me! I can absolutely empathise with studying while allegedly on vacation! No more for you! Enjoy your freedom! Congratulations!

Did you guys get lost at all???

2:30 AM  
Blogger Pooja said...

Christina-- no worries! I will see you soon enough. Can anyone say bar trip?

Sandy-- I'm still recovering.

Bobby---the bar is next for me. Then a couple months of travel, and then work at a Boston law firm.

6:27 AM  
Blogger manoj said...

Pooja, it was great to see you and, especially fun to spend some quality time with Jonathan and his wit!


those mangoes were fine fine..

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anju said...

Pooja - I am jealous, jealous, jealous. My last two "vacations" were to Cincinnati to visit in laws and attend weddings.
Congrats on graduation.
What kind of law will you practice?

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anju said...

Pooja - I am jealous, jealous, jealous. My last two "vacations" were to Cincinnati to visit in laws and attend weddings.
Congrats on graduation.
What kind of law will you practice?

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anju said...

Pooja - I am jealous, jealous, jealous. My last two "vacations" were to Cincinnati to visit in laws and attend weddings.
Congrats on graduation.
What kind of law will you practice?

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anju said...

So jealous am I that I posted thrice. sorry!

5:46 PM  
Anonymous kurt said...

Oh wow, that sounds like an amazing trip. If for nothing but the mansion and the dinner alone...

3:23 PM  

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