Saturday, May 25, 2012
Bienvenue a France friends.
This blog isn’t going to be about tennis. It’s not about a little tourist outing. It’s about all that is Roland Garros. What makes this Slam different from the rest. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the other three Slams to feel left out (I will do a little behind the scenes for each Slam) but this just happens to be my first analysis. This Slam is quite different.
First and foremost, you’ve got the language. This is the only Slam that mainstreams in another language other than English. Since it is in France and all.
We arrived from Brussels on a great train that took a total of about an hour and a half. We arrived, and sure enough, we had a driver, a car, and a red carpet waiting for our arrival. The sunroof in the car. Looking at the Eiffel, the Louvre, and Notre Dame—-rough I know. The apartment we got is in the heart of Old Paris. Fifth floor with a balcony that’s got an awesome skyline of Paris.
We got a ride to the site. Couldn’t have been a better ride. When I tell you my eyes got more than they bargained for, I’m not kidding.
Upon arrival, we got our credentials right away. No line, just go. Got a practice court for a little groove “sesh” and then sure enough, Jeff wanted Reilly (his 11 year old son that is on this trip) to go inside and look into Phillippe Chatrier, which is center court here. Sure enough, Fed’s practicing. Sorry about your first ever appearance at the French.
The details. That’s what I’ve noticed like never before. The Roland Garroslogos are in the most creative places. When I tell you that everywhere the eyes wander, the RG logo looks amazing. The thought that has come building and creating this facility is mind boggling. Picasso meets Matisse, who then met with Van Gogh—-who then met with Rafa.
The people. We couldn’t walk around the first day because of the amount of people and kids that were around. Jeff made the mistake of signing one autograph for a little boy—-which resulted in 40 kids bombarding his bubble and begging for an autograph.
The car rides. Not hating on the drivers, but French driving is honestly something to look forward to in the morning. There’s been a couple of times where I just wasn’t sure……………….. However, one thing is for sure—-Peugeot’s brake pedals are world class.
The clay. The second that a practice, set, or a match finishes, four court managers show up. It’s almost magical. They are just THERE. They water and sweep the courts to perfection, and slowly disappear to only be seeing after your practice is over.
Every night, Jeff, Reilly and I set off to find the perfect spot to have dinner. The first night we went for dinner, we arrived at this awesome spot about 10 minutes from our apartment, that had the perfect set-up with an amazing fountain right outside that allowed a little flirty glimpse of the Eiffel tower—-I have yet to take a bad picture in this place.
The food. Every time you think of France, you think of gourmet. And sure enough, it’s gourmet. The pasta, I mean, I haven’t been to Italy yet, but right now, France has won every pasta award in my book. I love Salmon, and I know my girl Kim “The Ripped” would love her some Salmon, but let me tell you, I don’t get sick of eating it. Now, I won’t do the raw uncooked stuff that they serve for breakfast, but hey, that’s a little culture for ya.
Last but not least, The Fashion. I mean, every time you think “fashion” you think Hollywood, New York, Milan, and Paris. Gucci, Dolce, Dior, Cartier. They are all here. And when you’re walking around Roland Garros, people let you know that they have some of that.
Friends, the French Open is a great Slam. Every single Slam has got its perks, and its beauty. And I’m quickly finding out all about the beauty of Paris.
American in Paris.
Cannes, Cagnes Sur Mer, Nice, Monte Carlo…..Love.
It all started on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012.
I knew that I wanted to finish my trip with an epic finale, so what better way to do that than to visit Cannes, Nice, Cagnes Sur-Mer and Monte Carlo all in one day?
The train station was only 5 minutes from the hotel. I think the ONLY thing that wasn’t perfect about the day was the fact that I had to wait a few minutes for the train. Shame. Good thing for an iPhone and a creative mind.
The train itself was legendary.
It was a double decker, so of course, you go second floor every time.
The seats were posh, and even though I bought a 2nd class ticket, it would have been considered Business class anywhere else.
So, what do you choose—-the beautiful mountain ranges on the left, or the amazing coastline to the right? The decision was quite difficult and there were a few times where I looked like a jumping bean going from one side of the train to the next. But no worries.
I took a bunch of videos and pictures.
The whole time I’m thinking—-is this really my life? Yup, it is.
I made sure not to stand out.
When I go to foreign countries, I don’t want to appear like a tourist.
I had my incognito shades, a nice shirt, my amazing stylin’ Asics going out shoes, and shorts.
I didn’t have a bag.
I didn’t have a wallet.
Nor did I have a huge purse.
I had two pockets where I had my cash, and my credit card, and the other had my camera and phone.
To make me even more non-touristy looking, I made sure to have my hands in my pockets.
I had a smile on, but I wasn’t gawking.
Now, tourists that read this, please don’t take this wrong in any way. This is just me, and that’s how I like it. You do medium rare, I do medium well. It’s all good.
Upon arrival to the ‘Cannes’ station, I just decided to walk.
I decided to first head towards the Beach.
Now, keep in mind, the Cannes Film festival is in a week or so.
You can only imagine how amazing it looked.
And the details. Most importantly the details.
It was all epic.
And it was all for me to see.
I got to the harbor where I decided to go left towards Dior, and away from Gucci.
I found Dolce & Gabbana along with Fendi along the way, but I decided not to succumb.
Yesterday, I realized I’m a phenomenal window shopper.
The longer I window shop, the easier it is to find out what I really want to wear/buy/ not buy and not wear.
After exploring one of the many beaches, and taking some quite artsy pictures, I decided to turn around and head towards the train station and past it, but only take the super small alleyways.
That was one of my favorite things about Cannes.
The small alleyways.
And the hole in the wall coffee shop.
And the corner booth that had a secret door to an even smaller alleyway.
I finally came across a more populated alleyway with a bunch of more stores like Sephora, Mango, Esprit, etc etc, but once again, I resisted temptation with ease.
Sure it was not too hard to say no to shoes that were 750 Euros, but hey, when in Cannes.
For security reasons, I can’t mention the celebrities that I saw, but I made sure to just give them the internationally known, “acknowledgement nod.” I’ve perfected it. For lessons, contact me.
After what seemed to have been hours, I was ready to eat.
I chose the hole in the wall that didn’t have an English menu—-perfect.
Now, some of you may not know this but I’m doing Rosetta Stone for French. I know a little bit to get me around France without a problem.
So sure enough, I ordered in French, and even spoke to the waiter for a little bit.
He asked me where I get my ridiculous tan.
I was glowing—-when in France!
Anyway, anyone that knows me pretty well, knows that I cannot do cheese unless it’s melted mozzarella on pizza or lasagna. So sure enough, I get my dish and it had cold mozzarella on it.
I decide to go for it.
I went all Italian on it and cut a little piece on top of a small tomato and some balsamic vinegar.
Once I took my first bite, I was scared I was going to scare everyone away from the restaurant—- I started heaving.
It wasn’t great. Nor attractive. But hey, good thing I had a smoothie/fruit juice thing, that was probably the best drink I’ve had in quite a long time. After almost hyperventilating, and assuring everyone that I was ok “C’est bon, c’est bon” I decided to eat the rest of my salad.
It was an amazing salad, but there was one vegetable that I couldn’t figure out.
I’d never had it before, didn’t know the name, and was completely virgin to the taste.
Once I tasted it, I knew right away that I loved it, and decided that I would find out from the waiter what it was.
Sure enough, by the time he came back, I had already finished it.
After not leaving a tip, since that’s how they do it here, I kept on with my stroll.
I decided to head past the train station, and look at some postcards.
Usually postcards are the best things to look at for your own touristy experience.
There’s a ‘palace’ that’s called the Carlton Palace that is famous, so I decided why not. Apparently I was just short of it when I was on the coastline, but hey, I didn’t mind. Last time I checked, walking on the beach is pretty awesome.
After taking some even more artsy pictures, I realized that it was still only 1 o clock. Still super early.
So sure enough, I went through some different alleyways, did some more window shopping, and talked to more people.
There were fresh markets.
A shop with fresh fish that was getting brought in as I walked by.
At around 2 o clock, it was time for my afternoon expresso. Once again, I went to another hole in the wall spot where the waiter told me I had a beautiful smile in English. I told him thank you in French, and complimented him on his beautiful white hair on his head. He laughed and complimented me some more.
The expresso was smaller than a kid’s size in America.
After my expresso, I figured it was time to go.
I got my fill of Cannes, and I felt like I knew the city pretty well.
I couldn’t have come at a better time either.
During this time, the city can get up to 12 hours of sunlight.
I hadn’t walked that much in a really long time (athletes just run) so it felt really refreshing.
I got to the train station where I asked a kind lady to lead me to Nice, my next city for the day.
I got to Nice, and sure enough, another beautiful site. This city wasn’t as packed as Cannes was but it still had it going on. I walked along a deserted alley where I found one of the most beautiful public gardens in the middle of the city.
One of the things I noticed about the cities so far was the amount of pigeons, and the amount of fit people.
I sat on a bench next to these lovely older ladies that were probably gossiping more than two teenagers.
I laughed at some of the things they said, but I just kept to myself.
Knowing that my time frame was not long, due to my next journey, I decide to head back to my hotel to pick up my travel buddy for the night.
I picked up my British friend, Heather Watson, and we headed to Monte Carlo—-as one does.
We arrived at around 6 o clock to Monte Carlo, and I personally think it was perfect timing.
Oh, keep in mind that the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It was 75 Degrees Fahrenheit with a slight breeze. Good visual.
We got there, and decided to once again, just go.
No specific spot.
We just wanted to walk—-and find food ASAP.
We were both completely famished, and wanted some grub.
Yacht, upon mansion, upon luxury car—-Monte Carlo was a joke.
I think I spent money just looking at some of these places and cars.
We decided that because the Grand Prix is only in a week, we would go ahead and walk on the track. I mean, how do you not?
After taking the legendary picture in front of the Casino, Monte Carlo, we realized that we were even hungrier.
We found this totally empty alleyway with a little shop that held the best beef pastry that I’d ever had.
It was legendary, and gone too soon.
Per morale, we decided that we needed to go to the Monte Carlo Country Club and see the club where Rafael Nadal has held the winner’s trophy 8 years running.
Kim, trust me when I tell you that you would love the place.
After taking some pictures and videos, it was finally time for food. We resorted to this Vietnamese spot that was yet another hole in the wall, and wasn’t going to completely rid us of our savings with the prices.
Great dinner? Check.
The scenery was getting better by the minute, but unfortunately, it had to come an end.
We totally decided to go back to the train station via bus, and sure enough, we got there right when a train was departing towards our spot.
A perfect morning.
A perfect evening.
The perfect day.
Cryin cryin cryin
There are two websites right now that are just totally making me produce tears of laughter. There are no better tears.
The first one is called IFUNNY (http://ifunny.mobi/#11146241)
I’m sure that you’ve probably been on it already, but if you haven’t, I suggest you go on it pronto.
The second one is the SOMEECARDS website (http://www.someecards.com/)
Just scroll, browse, search, and most importantly—-
My good ole British friend on the tour, Laura Robson, told me about her amazing MC Hammer skills that she eloquently expressed a few weeks ago.
The rap become a huge sensation.
We decided, after enough deliberation, that we would attempt at a new rap—-a tennis style one.
This is what I’ve concocted so far:
”I like hard courts, and I cannot lie,
All you clay courters can’t deny,
When the ball hits the line,
Takes a really funny bounce,
And the clay is on yo face,
You get PISSED…”
Pretty excited about it, and be on the lookout for the next verse.
MC Baller out.
Imagine mountains all around you.
You’re in a pocket/hole that’s surrounded with a mountain range that has villas all throughout.
If you look past the pocket, you see cliffs and even more mountains.
The beach is right in front of the hotel.
Only a 30 minute ride to Cannes, Monaco and Monte Carlo.
Considered one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
Unbelievable harbor that is home to thousands of sailboats and welcomes nude tanning.
And the coolest part of it all—-?
The French language.
Rosetta Stone is totally paying off.
Charlottesville Player Party.
My caption on every other social media outlet was “Funny the way it is.” I thought it was clever… In my head
The results you achieve will be in direct proportion to the effort you apply — Denis Waitley
Awesome chill music...Free download...Enjoy :) -
My buddy Juan Alvarez ( @wamoopapez ) is a talented young musical talent and a close friend of mine.
He just released his new album and it’s free to download. If you like my kind of music, you’ll enjoy it. Peace
So I feel like such a noob for not writing a blog on siblings day…but then again, every day is a great day to thank your sibling for being awesome. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do today.
The story of my sister Stephanie is quite the unique one. She was born five and a half years before I was, and I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t quite thrilled about me coming in. Why? Well, we all know what happens to the first born—-they ain’t that first born anymore. I mean, they are, but you know what I mean.
So I come in, thinking I’m the coolest baby EVA, and my sister is like WHOA WHOA WHOA WHOA.
So first reason why she’s awesome? Because she loved me once I came in the world even though that meant less attention for her.
Second reason why she’s awesome is because she made me tough. When I tell you this little skinny thing I call my big sister would knock me around and make me feel super not-awesome—i ain’t lying. She made me tough, and that has helped me like no other—-and I thank her for that.
Third reason why she’s awesome—-because she still continues to challenge me as a sister, a friend, and a plain old human being. Being my big sister, we are always going to be competitive against each other (including tennis, maybe not now but back in the day :-) So that means that whatever we may be doing, talking about, she’s constantly challenging me. It makes me sharp, quick on my feet, and allows me not to take anything for granted. She also helps not take any crap from anyone—-and I mean, at the end of the day, who wants poop?
And the fourth reason why she’s awesome? Because she loves me. And she’s my sister. And no matter what happens, she’s always going to be my sister. No matter what.
And for that Stephanie, I thank you.
Thank for being my sister. You’re awesome and I love you.
Happy siblings day.
Holla at yo sistah
Is there such a thing?
So I’m totally talking with the coolest cat in town right now, Travis Lee Hartman, my bffffff, and we’re discussing social norms.
What people deem normal. What is normal?
I mean, to goths, goths are normal. To billionaires, billions of dollars is normal. To tennis players, the sport of tennis is normal. How can we be in a society where our span of life and the world is so absolutely minute, to the point where anything and anyone can be considered normal/abnormal?
Let’s say movies.
You have a friend…Says this movie is terrible. You still watch the movie. But, you go in there already having a somewhat predisposed opinion of the movie, which you had nothing to do with. So you go watch the movie, which you actually think is good, but in the back of your head, you’re thinking “hey, my friend said it was bad, it must be bad.”
no people! everyone is different. everyone is normal.
sure there’s argument in that, but you cannot fault people…bah i’ve gone too far. yawn.