21 July 2009

On the Rocks

Each Tuesday during July and August, a fireworks display is put on from a boat in the middle of the bay just off the Croisette. Each week, the fireworks are sponsored and/or designed by a particular country (although the relevance of this seems limited to the background music) and the citizens of Cannes can then vote online for their favourite at the end of the season. Tonight's fireworks were provided by Spain and were called, "Pyrofantasie" (the titles are all variations on a theme--the Austrian entry is called Pyrovision, for example). The beach-restaurants along the Croisette are all given special permission to open in the evenings (for some reason, they aren't usually allowed to do this) and you can pay 60 euros for a meal on the beach (or on one of the restaurants' little piers on which you can pay even more for sunbathing rights during the daytime) or you can rent a sunbed and sip a glass of champagne or a cocktail and watch the sunset and then the fireworks.

As we'd spent all day at one of the beach/restaurants, we raided the market and made a picnic to take out onto the rocks so we could watch the fireworks from there. First, Mum and I had a pre-prandial swim. All week, I've been waiting for the pontoon to be empty so that I could be photographed doing one of my leaps and when I spotted that it was empty tonight, I swam out as fast as I could although it seemed that about 10 other people had the same idea. I hadn't agreed with Dad the arms signals we would use either (it would have been fine if he were a scuba diver too) so I had no idea whether, after about 15 jumps into the sea, flinging myself up and out and trying to be visible on camera, he had actually got me, especially as he was using his inferior camera and not the digital SLR. Finally, though, he did yell "Yes" so I assumed he had caught at least part of me. That photo is on another camera, though, so I've uploaded a couple of the inferior shots from mine instead (I'm loitering with intent in the middle of the top photo and on the left, about to take off, in the second photo down).

Then, it was picnic time with huge Madagascan prawns, avocado, mozzarella, tomatoes and yummy rotisserie chicken (oh, and a Cornetto but I felt I'd earned it). And then the fireworks began--amazingly, only two minutes after schedule. They were very impressive, not least because of the way the fireworks reflected on the water and the bangs echoed across the bay. The big hotels along the Croisette even turned off all their lights and it was fun being on the rocks with so many other people. Afterwards, the yachts moored in the bay all tooted their approval and the applause was pretty thunderous.

Perhaps the fireworks themselves weren't as impressive as those St John's put on for each May Ball but the overall effect was very nice indeed. Well done, Cannes (and Spain)!

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