Les Petits Contes

About life's little observations, which matter. About hilarious situations, which illuminate. About stories which offer immense possibilities, open endings, different interpretations and perspectives.

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Location: Singapore

A nature lover; sun-worshipper, manic book-collector, dessert-devourer and a magnet for hazards

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Friday the 13th: a Lucky Day

Last Friday, after my very tiring worldwide communications meeting in the lovely golf resort and vineyard in Fregate (near Bandol) I took a train to Cannes, where I was to stay with Virginie, a friend of my colleague.

Struggling up and down steps in the tiny run-down train station in Bandol with a heavy suitcase, a hand luggage, a laptop and a handbag, and in the heat, was not a ''glamourous'' start indeed.

Worse, I had to change train at Toulon, another tiny station with steep staircases. As I was dragging my suitcase (and eroding the wheels...) a nice big smile greeted me, ''voulez vous un coup de main?'' A young man with a bright and friendly smile and equally bright eyes had simply taken over my luggage to haul it up the steps.

That was not the end. When the train arrived I had to haul everything up the steps of the train too, with some ''help'' from those behind..... by then I was pretty exhausted and sat on my suitcase at the super narrow corridor... the packed train had no more seats for some of us!

I actually nodded off at one point, and woke up to make way for pple getting down the train. After a while a boy came to me, and asked me to go to his first-class compartment: ''madame, il ya place maintenant...'' and even started to take my suitcase along, ''c'est a vous?'' I was really moved by his kindness and rebuked myself silently for resenting his stares earlier. I sat down opposite him and he looked back and smiled shyly (and probably curiously too).

It was more hauling and dragging as I finally reached Cannes. Virginie had parked in some place where there were lots more steps and walking to do... Virginie was way ahead with my hand luggage while I struggled with my suitcase and laptop...halfway thru the carpark, a car actually stopped next to me and asked if I had a car... I guess they were trying to offer me a ride.

But what I experienced that evening made up for all those muscle aches! Virginie had two friends from Paris staying with her too. One was a screenplay writer - Sebestian - and was in Cannes for the festival. His colleauge, Alex, was there too. They were both going to a movie and party that night but had a ticket for another show. Tickets were not easy to obtain and if you got it and do not show up, you will be rapped the next day, according to Seb. Virginie suggested that I went ''for the experience'' - so the three of us hurried thru dinner, ironing/ fixing my gown and taking turns to shower. It was a mad rush trying to get ready. Good thing dinner was a simple salad - Virginie is on some kinda diet (skipping all things sweet) while the two vain (and already very slim) guys were also on a no-carbo diet!!!! I was the only one who was eating normally - and looking fatter than them:-) She busied herself selecting 3 gowns for me to try, and made me wear the dress I chose and parade it for Seb to ''approve''. ''Hmmm... very nice,'' he nodded (what else could he have said?!) as Virginie made me turn round and around for them.

So, when all of us were finally ready Virginie drove us to town while Seb gave last minute instructions: ''after the movie, stay there and we'll come pick you up. Gimme your mobile #. And we have to run real fast there cos we are late... and whatever u do, when u are up the red carpeted stairs, Don't fall... cos there'll be lots of cameras .....''

Alex joked, ''with your shoes, it's going to be real easy to run...''

Anyway, Virginie dropped us off while I tried to run after Seb who led the way. Alex even offered his arm, ''tien..'' so that I could march up there in style...escorted by two men:-)

Seb was giving more ''instructions'' before he left me at the Q and rushed off for his own show - ''enter via this way, show your ticket, wait for them to scan the barcode and just follow the crowd and enjoy the march up the stairs...we'll wait for you at the end of your movie...'' Well, before I cd even go up the stairs, I was already stopped by the ushers, ''where is your badge? No badge? Stay one side''.... and a conversation ensued among the ushers and officials abt badges etc. Oh dear. I tried to find my mobile to call Seb to bail me out but by then he must have seen me still outsdie and had returned, ''what's up?'' I told him abt having to show a badge and he went, ''ah, the badge...'' Somehow, in our confusion, another woman with a ticket of a different colour showed up with her badge and a helpful usher swapped our tickets and allowed me in, while I turned back to look at Seb and we both shrugged and went o ff , happy to be able to get on with it after all.

Climbing up the red carpeted stairs together with the stars and hearing the clicking cameras was quite a nervous experience - I kept thinking of Seb's words and said to myself, ''dun fall, dun fall'' and looked intensely down, and thus missing the ''glam star'' action of looking at the flashing lights and lens!

After the movie Seb rang, ''where are you? Just come meet us where we dropped u off'' He could not find me, as I had left the theatre via a different door... With the aid of my fabulous sense of direction, I finally found the original drop off point but was blocked off... so I decided to trudge across the street where the crowd was smaller and start calling Seb. Before I cd do that an Afro photographer stopped me and took so many pic of me and I somehow meekly obliged... until I got worried, and thought he might just post my pic on the internet or something, and decided to walk away, after fighting off more requests to pose ''like this and like that''. I wonder why he found me photogenic - esp when my brows were furrowed, looking stressed and trying to find Seb and Alex among the huge crowd.

Seb rang again and I told him to meet me opposite the theatre since I cd not get back to the drop off point, and he mentioned ''outside Chanel boutique''. As I waited an eternity, a lady photographer sweetly came up and said, ''madame, une photo'' and surprised me with another snap. Thinking of the same ''internet sale'' I turned away and said, ''non'' as she raised her camera for yet another shot.

Seb rang one more time... ''where are you? We are at Chanel now but don't see you...'' After some exchange, I realised that there are TWO Chanel boutiques and that he had been waiting at the one directly opposite the theatre...sigh!

We found each other - a big relief to see Seb's big grin as he saw me waddle up the street swimming in my long big (and oversized) gown....


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