Vieux Port and Fort Notre Dame de la Garde (say THAT 10 times fast)

The first night in Marseille was noisy!  Granted it is the 2nd largest city in France, but it is also the hip-hop capitol of Europe (give a shout out!).  So, of course the restaurant/club downstairs was bumpin’ some phat beats and they didn’t stop until 3 in the mornin’.  Surprisingly, this did not bother me.  Rather, it was the noise in my room in middle of the night when a dead, broken ass fan decided to come back to life!  It sounded like a sick Tyrannosaurus Rex, loaded up on whiskey and Nyquil.  I kept pleading for it to just die already, but it kept whirling as slowly as a ceiling fan with one blade.  I tried to pull the plug on life support, but its little clicker just kept on ticking.  Ugh.  I put my ear plugs in and went back to sleep for a couple of hours and woke up a few times during the night to yell at it to die already.  By 8am, the “little engine that could” act was really starting to piss me off, so I called down to the front desk and explained the issue to the lovely gentleman on the phone.

He sailed upstairs to check on things so quickly that I was still getting dressed when he knocked on the door (shocker, since I am in France and all).  He was very embarrassed about the noise and upset with me for not letting him know sooner (I was impressed with his attentiveness and customer service skills, plus he is cute and I look like stir-fried shit right now, awesome.)  Anyway, he sailed back out of the room to see if he could fix the problem and returned about 5 minutes later and told me to gather my things because I was changing rooms since he couldn’t resolve the issue right away.  He apologized and said it would be taken care of as soon as possible and offered me free breakfast for the trouble.  I told him I would rather have my laundry done, to which he agreed to both!  SCORE!  Unfortunately, I could hear the garbled T-Rex fan my new room until the early afternoon, so I left to go walk around Vieux Port.

I have FINALLY figured out why people smoke over here!  And hey, it only took me what…..almost three weeks now?  It is to cover up the shit smell emanating from the 1400 year old sewers. They are so nasty that I am seriously considering lighting up a fag, just so I don’t vomit every time I walk along the streets.  Of course, the hurricane gale force winds that are blowing through the streets of Marseille today don’t really help matters much.  Several times, it almost blew me across the street, so I had to lean at a 45-degree angle against it to remain firm in one place.  I ducked into the Maritime Museum, to get out of the wind, and looked at a bunch of boats instead of a bunch of paintings displaying Jesus on a cross.  It was SO refreshing!

Not only that, but the museum isn’t as popular of a destination, so there weren’t hundreds of tourists clamoring to see yet another picture of the Marseille seascape painted in tiny little dots that make you so dizzy to look at you feel like you have had a bottle of wine and it is only 10am.  I did have to share the museum with one older man, however, but he must be very popular in France because his phone rang like 50 times in the hour he was there (either that, or his wife is P-iiiiiiiiii-SSSSSsss-ED!).  It was all I could do to hold myself together and not bust out laughing when I heard it ring the first time – do you know what his ring tone was?!  Lady GAGA – “Born This Way”!   Get a visual on that one for a moment (and if you don’t have the song downloaded to your library yet, well give it a go, you might actually enjoy it)………

When I finally was able to stop crying from stifled laughter, I left and hiked another damn Fourteener to see the Notre Dame de laGarde which was built originally in 1218, but enlarged throughout the years, and then it was consecrated as a Basilica in 1864.  It is topped with a gigantic gold statue of the Blessed Mother and her Son who are blessing the city and its harbor.  After reaching the top of the mountain that the Basilica is built on, I had a seat in one of the pews to gaze at another of the few Black Madonnas, and cried……again!  Jesus, Mary and Joseph (which ironically is what they wrote on people’s arrest warrants in the 17th and 18th centuries)!  I have never been an overly religious person, I have my opinions about religion that I will get into in mixed company, but WTH do I cry at almost every damn church I go into over here?!  Somebody slap me already, I must be hysterical.  Or, at very least, hungry.

Must find bouillabaisse STAT (because the McDonald’s served up with a bottle of vino is starting to sound good….eeeeeeeekkkkkk!)……


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