The morning of Sunday May 26th I woke up with a sudden change of heart- maybe I wouldn’t go to Monaco- Id been warned of big crowds, outrageous prices and the possibility of not seeing any of the race. But then, as a woman’s can do -and does- my mind changed again. I’d like to think that at my current age of 24, big crowds are not a threat to me. There is plenty of time to hate them later on in life. I figured since I am now employed on a yacht and am earning more per month than I’ve ever earned before, I shouldn’t let the Grand-Prix inflated prices put me off. And since my interest in Formula 1 is currently at an all time low, I wouldn’t be too put out if I wasn’t to see any of the race.
It turns out that the warning was spot on. You were lucky to get a seat on the train, you were paying a little above average for food and booze and a lot of people, like myself were only privy to the ear-drum bursting sound of the race. So why did May 26th 2013 rank so high in my hypothetical Top 5 Best Days Ever?
Because, and tell me if I’m wrong, most people will only ever get to experience that all too familiar sound of Formula One cars racing through the streets of Monte Carlo on their Television sets. I may not have seen the red paint of a Ferrari (or the other ones for that matter) but I sure did hear them. And that was exhilarating enough.
The weather also played its part which, despite it being late spring, is a massive achievement. This has been the coldest spring since 1987 Which means seriously unreliable, not very hot but often windy and rainy, days and nights until June. This day was perfect. The cloudless sky the colour of, well, sky blue. Below it, an equally impressive but different blue that gives the Cote d’Azur its name.
I bumped into friends who bought VIP tickets that allowed them into the same places we had weaselled our way into. This was thanks to Teri and the combination of her crew uniform, her pass and her smile. The VIP pass we managed to avoid buying cost 80 Euro each…. but a prize winning smile is priceless.
A big part of the race track runs along the circumference of the port, giving the boats docked right there the best seats in the house. This also meant that our afternoon was spent shouting across the restaurant table over the noise of the race, in between shots of tequila.
How might we afford to be buying expensive booze at one of the World’s classiest events? You align yourself with those who can afford to do it. In this case it was Captain Joe, someone a friend had done about one day’s day work for and here he was throwing his money at a bunch of (really appreciative) Saffas. An Australian salty sea dog, Joe made a friend feel better about having missed her boat’s departure after a big night on the town. He’d hire on the spot with that kind of attitude he said. I guess that says a lot about good old Joe. We bar hopped ‘on Joe’ but realized the madness couldn’t continue when we found out a round of 6 drinks came to 120 Euro (R1500).
As they’re somehow still allowed to do, Malboro was running a successful promotional gig. One of them asked me if I smoke and if so, what brand? I showed him my box of Lucky Strike with a single smoke left inside. As any good promoter should do, he asked if he could swap- my old empty Lucky box for a full box of Maloboro. Not the worst trade off in the World.
To add to it, they were throwing a party that night on ‘M Boat’, almost definitely temporarily named that for the evening. The trick was to attend the event after indulging in the main after party and before the last train back to Antibes at 23:45. I did that successfully after practicing much self control. The next day was Monday and I know how incapable I am of working without sleep, I knew I needed to take the last train of the night and not the first of the next day (how responsible?). Many a yachtie-Grand-Prix-goer had the same plan as one could see them scattered around the train and far from awake (read ‘passed out’). Most of them missed their stop, I’m guessing.