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The Big O.E An epic adventure across the world, backpacker style :)

It's nice in Nice

FRANCE | Tuesday, 23 October 2007 | Views [882]

Loaded up and on the move, Place Massena, Nice

Loaded up and on the move, Place Massena, Nice

To tell the truth, I can't remember any of the plane trip to get here. All I remember is arriving at Nice airport, completely wiped out and exhausted from travelling round England with shingles. And we had yet to deal with the daunting tasks of a) getting from the airport to the train station b) walking through the centre of town with all our gear to the bus stop (pack rubbing on shingles = not comfortable at all) c) getting the right bus to the right stop in the suburbs d) getting a room in a crowded hostel.

It just wasn't what I needed at the time. Especially not when it all had to be conducted in French!

But it was great to meet other assistants who will be working in the same region as us. It means we can travel around the area and stay with friends now, rather than forking out for accommodation :)

Nice was the start of the endless trail of French bureaucracy. Sure, there are beautiful beaches, great museums and a wonderful old town. But French paperwork has the power to suck all the beauty away. I thought it was a mission to get our French visas. I could never have even imagined the heights of paperwork absurdity awaiting us upon our arrival.

Here is an extract from an email I wrote on a particularly frustrating day:

"So 3 nights on in our own place, still swimming through bureaucracy, but hopefully half way there. About to go and try to get bank account, then take RIB forms to school, along with NIGAF form. This is after I already did the arrete form, the birth certificate and translated birth certificate, passport, visa, the attestation de domicile form and proces verbal d'installation form at school yesterday. You don't even want to know how much crap the bank needs to see. Then medical visit after rectorat visit in Nice on Monday (more forms). Then I have the CAF form (12 pages in triplicate) to get discount on our rent (hopefully). And that's before I start on the securite sociale, and the most important one, the carte de sejour. But they all get progressively more tricky, as you start needing forms that you can't have until you've completed the previous form completion saga... I don't think I could even come up with a system this fabulous :)"

Almost a month later, I think we may have come to the end of the worst of the official form filling in French. Thank goodness!

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