Have you ever been to Monte Carlo?
It's about what you'd imagine: yachts in the harbor, the Hotel de Paris with tourists snapping photos, not nearly enough cabs because everyone has a car and driver.
We were there for a wedding, though - the sister of A. the TV producer - and we got the full treatment, since the bride and groom live with their daughter there, in that little principality where gamblers foot the government bills instead of citizens paying taxes. A wedding complete with Swedish parson (although the church was Anglican), champagne on a long jetty carpeted in white, a dinner of six courses including a cake that turned out to be macarons, macarons and more macarons, peonies and roses and lilies and freesia enough to cover a field in Holland. And dancing wildly into the wee hours, lesbian photographers who were a couple, both named Emilie, neither of whom really spoke English taking pictures that I will be most curious to see.
Then there was the lunch the next day for everyone with gallons of rosé wine at beach a boat ride away from the harbor. And then dinner all over again, in a club with more champagne and fish and vodka and dancing wildly yet again, not realizing until later that that was no DJ playing cool covers, it was a real-live woman singing.
(Did I mention the call girls in the club? Russians in one room, Brazilians in another. Didn't hear of any rent boys though. Oh, and then there were the awful names on the yachts: The One and Solid Gold. But really, what can one expect? The place is all about conspicuous consumption.)
It was the most luxurious kind of exhaustion you can possibly imagine. And the best way to get to know the very strange place that Monte Carlo is.
The Swedish word for the day is skumpa. It means bubbly - as in champagne.