There’s a moment in the trip from Los Angeles to Cannes – the quick jump from Zurich if you’re flying SwissAir to be exact – when the airplane swoops out over the sparkling Mediterranean and circles back around for the approach to Nice, revealing the entire Cote d’Azur from St. Tropez to Monaco. The deep blue water lightens as it approaches the beach until it’s almost turquoise. Ancient towns stud the coastline with their red tiled roofs creeping up-slope as the beach gives way to green hillside. Out at sea, enormous yachts prowl the water, churning up arrows of white as they move this way and that. Even from the air they look as big as houses
Then you fly over Cannes itself before lining up for the approach to the runway in Nice. The yachts look even bigger nestled up side to side in the harbor. Finally there’s the Palais des Festivals where all the action happens, its attendant white pavilions hugging the curve of beach.
This is the moment you know you’ve arrived this is the moment where you forget the indignity of the previous 16 hours (12 in the air and 4 more waiting for flights and connections). It’s a tiny price to pay to take part in the greatest film festival in the world.
Now, I hate it when people do something cool and or fun, then proceed to constantly bitch about it. I’m going to do just that anyway, but I wanted to preface it with my unqualified joy at just being here.
The thing is, flying sucks. It’s especially inhumane if you’re not uber rich and you have to fly steerage class across 9 time zones. The seats are designed to the comfort specifications of the average garden gnome. Worse still, each one is equipped with a torture device called “The Recline Button.” With the few extra degrees of position change the button provides, it offers the passenger the dual illusions of comfort and control of their environment. In reality, all it does is destroy the personal space of the poor bastard sitting in the row behind. If you’re over 4 feet tall, every inch of space is vital. Plus, the seatback LCD screen is scientifically angled for the viewing pleasure of a 7-year old and, unless you’re part jelly fish and you slump all the way down in your seat, everything on screen looks covered in murky gray sludge. Naturally, 10 minutes into the flight, the woman in front of me jams the button and slides all the way back into my lap.
Dinner? How about a couple of chunks of gristly chicken ass-meat with a kind of sweet sauce to make it taste a little less like chicken ass. Throw in a thimbleful of albino ice berg lettuce, a dry roll made from the dandruff of a hundred dead grandmothers and some gummy rice to make your stomach think it actually ate something.
Maybe because I’m a masochist, I decided it would be a wise idea to stay awake during the entire 11 hour flight. The idea was that I could at least shorten the usual jet lag by exhausting myself then sleeping soundly through an entire night at local time. In the words of Gob Bluth, I’ve made a huge mistake. After a late dinner and a bottle of wine in town with Sasha Stone and Jeff Wells, I slept like a dead person for a few hours then came back to consciousness about 4:30 in the morning. Which is what, like 8:30 pm LA time. So, I showered, then decided to spend the morning walking around town taking a few pictures (below), getting my credentials in order, then hitting the electronics store for a universal AC adapter to replace the one for my laptop I left on the coffee table at home. Somewhere in there I’m going to stuff my croissant hole because I can’t resist the deliciously buttery and flaky French culinary cliché. Later today: Movies.