Wednesday, January 31, 2007

14 July, 1956 (Part 2)

The bar—which was rather out of the way—was a small, old-ish place with large, small-paned windows. The lady who owned the bar speaks seven languages, & was very friendly. Actually, it is not a restaurant, but if you want something to eat, she will run out & get it. We explained that Marc, Michel, Guntar & Yohakiem were probably on a low budget & asked her advice accordingly. She suggested an omelet, some ham, chicken soup, & salad. Her husband ran out & returned with a head of lettuce & some carrots, fresh from the garden. The soup was delicious—a large bowl, with noodles. The ham & omelet were also very good, though the omelet was a little underdone for my taste. We also had a glass of wine & later a large bottle. Total price for the meal & wine? 2,500 Francs ($8.00 for 6 of us.).

While waiting for dinner, & afterwards, everyone began doing stunts—Guntar yodeled (he is very good), Tom did the Charleston, Marc & Michel did balancing tricks with chairs (i.e. holding one’s body at a 90 degree angle in the air while holding onto the arms of the chairs). Guntar tried—unsuccessfully—to swallow burning matches. He is really a natural comedian, though he doesn’t mean to be.

After we left the bar, we walked arm & arm down the street, singing old German war songs.
A grand time was had by all.

Yesterday, we met Marc & Michel at the ruins at 2:00, & spent the afternoon the same way—swimming & diving. I even dived for bottles this time—got them, too, only the pressure hurt my ears.

Guntar & Yohakiem had gone to another beach, & said they’d join us later. Two girls on bicycles came by (Marc & Michel are typically French—especially Michel). Soon they were swimming with us & we spent the rest of the day with them. At sundown, again, we left—the girls peddling off a few minutes before, & went to eat.

Tom, incidentally, had gone to & flunked out of OCS (Officer Candidate School), & one of his buddies who had gone through is on one of the ships with us. We ran into him, & he joined us. We never did find Guntar & Yohakiem.

After supper in a little restaurant near the railroad station, we went to the Normandie Bar, a sailor hangout. Phil (Tom’s friend) had a friend in the floor show—a girl called "Cobra." The show at the Normandie was much better than that at the U.N. Bar, where I’d stood shore patrol. The girls were all very nicely constructed, which you do not see much of in America.

During the "intermission", the piano player/hostess asked for five volunteers to come to the middle of the floor. Phil pushed Tom out, & the bar girls dragged out four more. Each was to do a dance—the first, a ballet; the second, a can-can (he backed out); the third, a Russian Dance; the fourth, a strip-tease, & the fifth—Tom—the Charleston. The winner was chosen by applause, & Tom won; the prize being a bottle of champagne! We decided to keep it until Sunday—Marc & Michel took charge of it until then.

On the way back to Fleet Landing, we stopped at Shore Patrol headquarters & got six passes to come to the ship—the two girls had said they’d like to come.

Today it rained for awhile, but cleared up & became quite hot. Marc & Michel arrived on the second boat, & Tom & I showed them around as much of the ship as we were allowed. Tom had to go back to work, & just after he left, we saw Guntar & Yohakiem. Yohakiem was fascinated by everything & anything.

Tomorrow, if possible, I plan to go over again to drink the champagne. Monday is our last day in Cannes, & our last port (except Gibraltar) before heading for home. I rather hate to leave Cannes, in a way.

More Monday.




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