Sentier du Littoral: When not to go
Tour de France 2010: Not South Enough

Big Brash Beautiful Bus

Bus I love taking the bus on the French Riviera. Plenty of time to admire the surroundings, lots of space for luggage, lots of plush comfort, of relaxation, of arguing.

I loved my latest bus trip from the Nice Airport to Fréjus. A poor customer who clearly had not read this blog post arrived 15 mins early at the airport bus stop. It was freezing cold. He asked, no demanded, to go in the bus. Listen to this: he was speaking in English. At the international airport, c'est incroyable. The bus driver said no, you wait. He got impatient. The bus driver told him that if he's unhappy, take a taxi. He started screaming that it was cold and what the hell, the bus was here anyway. Bus driver responded in French "c'est ma pause". He said he "didn't give a shit". In English. Big mistake - he should have said it in French. Bus driver "j'en ai rien à foutre," and exchange continues until it's time to board. Bus driver let me and others climb aboard. Fuming but freezing poor lad had to wait outside. Is last to board.

So. Are you visiting the Côte d'Azur? Coming from another planet where "the customer is king?" You're going to need some prepping before taking the bus on the French Riviera.

Top 10 Rules for Proper Bus Behavior
  1. Before: Allow plenty of time to find current bus line schedules.
  2. Before leaving house: Make sure you have exact change ready in hand. While waiting at stop: Make darn sure you have exact change ready in hand. Double check change in your sweaty palms as bus rolls in at stop.
  3. If your bus is ready, idle and waiting at the bus stop. Do not board until the scheduled departure time unless you're interested in a lesson in injurious speak.
  4. After the bus doors open for you, before you make any motion. Say "bonjour!" loud and clear, "bonsoir" if evening.
  5. As you climb up toward driver. Say where you are going. Do not attempt any other discussion at this time. Pray that you have a match between place you want to go and places where bus stops.
  6. Hand out your change in a quick cowboy draw.
  7. Take your receipt instantly as it spouts out of machine next to driver.
  8. With receipt in hand, say "Merci" and move back slightly. As bus dashes off, do not tumble. Appear sturdy and well-anchored at all times. Do not even hint that driver may have a lead foot.
  9. If bus is still waiting for exact departure time, attempt brief conversation. Try a dash of dry humor such as "quelle foule aujourd'hui" if there's not another soul on-board. Or "ça roule bien aujourd'hui?". If no response, sit in far back.
  10. You want to get off outside of a standard bus stops? You're kidding. Don't mention a thing. Walking is really good for your health.
And to think that in the States, we actually have to pay extra for this kind of entertainment (see Dick's Last Resort).

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