Monday, July 10, 2017

Hanging Out with Coworkers Part Deux

(In case you're wondering, Nice was Part Un).

For people who know me, I'm writing this waiting for my hair to dry so I can sleep.

This past Saturday, I rode the train to Eze with two of my coworkers and my roommate J. ('20). The two coworkers, MC and VC, are two first year master students from an engineering school in Paris. They're at ParisTech as "stagiares" or interns, like us. They only arrived a week before us, and we all work in the same huge office that consists of four rooms separated by half-walls.

At first, when I arrived at ParisTech and heard that J. ('20) and I were the only undergrads, I thought that maybe the age gap would be too wide to hang out with our fellow coworkers. Wrong! There's that stereotype that guys are less mature than girls, which I think may hold some truth at least in this situation. I mean, I don't see any of the girl master students randomly playing ping pong on the floor in our office (since for some reason we have ping pong balls and paddles but no table). So hanging out with these grad students didn't feel weird at all.

MC always complains that VC is playing games all day during the weekend, so MC has nobody to go out and have fun with (they're roommates). So he tagged along with J. ('20) and me this weekend, and we extended the invitation to VC. Frankly, I thought he was going to decline from all the times I've heard MC complain about VC's addiction to video games, but he said he would join us in Eze, so score!

This is the blog post where I give up trying to do fancy formatting because it changes after you publish.

We arrived at the Eze train station around noon, but we still had to take a bus to the Eze village. My first impressions of the mountain village was a watered-down, less rich version of Monaco. That is not to say that I had a bad impression of Eze. Quite the contrary, it was on the opposite spectrum of cool tourist places: the quaint, peaceful village with the beautiful ocean and mountain scenery resting in the background, periodically interrupted by the zoom of a Ferrari, presumably from the neighboring wealthy city-state.

A historic church in the style of the baroque period, if I remember what I read from the sign correctly.

The first thing we did was hike up a small distance from the bus stop to the succulent garden at the top of the tiny mountain. It was a warm day, and with the sun shining full force, it was almost kind of hot. However, the approach to the top was simple and direct, nothing like the confusing staircases in Monaco, so the journey was pleasant and the succulents exotic.

Such cool cacti.
After reaching the top, with the most beautiful, rewarding view in front of us, MC declared he had to take pictures for his snapchat and facebook. Conversation that followed:

MC: "Why don't you get an iphone? The camera is better!"
Me: *shows him my camera on my android*
MC: "Oh. Can you take a picture of me?"

I somehow become his photographer during this trip.

Afterwards, J. (20') and I hit the tourist shops that are carved from small enclaves in the rock mountain. They're not the cookie-cutter shops that sell all the same things like Ferrari jackets or Formula One hats. Instead, inside each store there's something unique, whether the products are rubidium crystals or alternative fish paintings or sparkling ruby hairpieces. The guys mostly stayed outside while we looked around, since apparently it's a "girl thing" to go shopping. They missed out.

We weren't allowed to take pictures of the stores, so here's another pretty view.
After a late lunch, we visited the Fragonard perfume factory. It was free entry, and I was really excited to see a factory with condensation glasses and evaporation techniques. Did I care about the perfume? Not at all. I don't even wear perfume. I just wanted to see the chemistry and the machinery.

So worth it!!!
I ended up falling for the tourist trap and buying a royal jelly cream for my mom, so the "free entry" actually cost me 25 euros. But it was worth it, since the whole interior of the admittedly small factory was packed with citrus and floral scents and fragrances. Plus, my mom would be happy that I bought her a gift. And what do you know? MC and VC both bought products for themselves. So I guess you don't have to be a girl to like buying things.

Afterwards, we headed to the beach to wait for our train, since the train station was only about a five minute walk away. For some reason, I was the only one wearing shorts, so I kicked off my shoes and waded in the water. It continues to amaze me how clear the water is at the Cote d'Azur. You can see small fish swimming in the distance, and look down at the rounded rocks and pebbles littering the sea floor.

Likewise, MC rolled up his jeans and stepped in the sea. He stooped down to pick up a circular, flat rock, and skipped the stone rather impressively three times. Then, VC, staying on the shores of the rocky beach, immediately outdid him by skipping a stone that bounced five times in the water. They both taught me their tricks, and I was able to skip a stone twice! New skill to work on.

Finally, around seven in the evening, our group of four headed home. Except while MC and VC stayed on the train to actually head home, J. (20') and I got off at Antibes to eat dinner and gelato and buy cactus juice.

Do people usually leave scales on the salmon? I ate it all, but it was a little bit weird. Still yummy!
Thus concludes our adventure in Eze. If there's one lesson I've learned while in MISTI, it's that coworkers are pretty cool to hang out with. And guess what? I'm going to hang out with another coworker next weekend. And who else? Hint: one of the sassiest people in LMF who shares my love for Cardcaptor Sakura. Next time: Paris!

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