Nothing to do on a Saturday, we decided to take a day-trip to Monaco. Monaco is one hour by car from Fontan. Sandwiched between French towns like Menton and Beaulieu-sur-Mer and bordering the Mediterranean sea, it is easily recognizable by its gratte-ciel (skycrapers).
The national road leading to the small but very compact Principality (where the American actress Grace Kelly used to be the princess of Prince Rainier, both now resting-in-peace) is some 200 meter high up the mountains so while driving down towards the exclusive gambling capital of Europe, one is easily struck in awe about the magnificence of the entire panorama…. the Port with its as-tall-as-building private yachts, the Royal Palace standing above a giant rock and the gratte-ciel of apartments and office buildings.
Monaco is perched on rocky mountains so it is amazing to see apartments and houses built in-between giant rocks. The hig-rise modern apartments are simply ‘a cut above the rest’ – as magnificent as 5-star hotels! The 19th century architecture on villas and important buildings is simply mind-blowing!
As soon as we found a parking area, we could already smell the Euros and could see the dollar signs written on everyone’s faces!
We could see wealth all over the place….simply amazing to observe and watch but no way in this world, affordable to anyone but only the well-heeled and the jet-setters!
Here are the figures I’ve written down: (in Euros x 75 = Pesos)
Parking – 2.40 per hour
Entrance to the Jardin Exotique (cactus garden) – 6.90
(we thought it’s a rip-off so we just contented ourselves looking at the sample garden behind the Entrance gate)
Rent of 1-BR apartment – 10,000 a month
To buy a 4-BR, 4-bathroom Villa – 8.8 million
To buy a 3-BR apartment – 4.2 million
To buy a 25 sq.m. studio – 750,000
But we thought, the government is probably encouraging business so cost of renting an office is reasonable at 1,200 a month.
food is not so expensive:
a plate of spaghetti – 10euros
Kebab …..5 euros
As Saturdays are the normal days to get married in France, this particular day, in Monaco, must have had the most number of weddings taking place. Every hour, a wedding convoy of several cars, are noisily blowing their horns as they drive past the streets. (It is a tradition that after the wedding ceremony, all cars of the wedding entourage and their guests, would be blowing their horns non-stop, on the way to and from the reception).
What struck us most…. that as late as 4pm, people are still eating in restaurants. In France, at 3pm, they will be closed and will open again at 7pm for dinner.
There are no dog poops around! (France is the dog poop capital of the world!)
Unfortunately, our promenade was cut short when I discovered that my 3-week old 590euros pair of eyeglasses (as i told you in my earlier post) was missing! Cursing myself for being so careless, kinda throwing 590euros down the drain, we slowly traced our way back, hoping that someone, who finds it useless for him, will just leave it where it is, so I, the careless owner, will find it eventually.
Back to where we started, at the parking lot, we asked the guards (whom we saw earlier) if they saw my lunettes (eyeglasses).Miraculously!, they said they found it earlier and had just handed it over to the police for safekeeping.
They quickly called the policewoman who had my lunettes, and I couldn’t believe it when she came driving in her motorbike waving the 590euros worth of thing!
And you know what she said?
That … in Monaco, lost items including cash are usually returned to their owners because the Monaguesques (citizens of Monaco) are usually honest!
And my husband’s comment, BECAUSE THE PEOPLE ARE ALREADY ROLLING IN MONEY so those small change or lost things don’t interest them anymore