In the week preceding my trip to Cannes, I kept a close eye on the weather. The chance of rain for the weekend increased and increased, making me think that I was not going to get to do the things I had planned to do while in Cannes. I consoled myself with the fact that if it was pouring too hard to enjoy being outside that I would take advantage of the downtime and rest in my quiet hotel room, reading, napping and catching up on various things as I wished.
Though it was raining Friday night when I arrived 10 hours later than planned, the rain held off on Saturday. The skies went from cloudy to clear and back to cloudy, but there was no rain. I explored Cannes, walking along the promenade on the shore, up to the old town and around the shopping areas. But when the rain started to come down in the evening, I headed right back tot he hotel, happy for an excuse to just relax.
The rain came down, harder and harder. The thunder and lightning were right outside my room. The tv stopped working. The internet stopped working. I finally looked outside and saw the street completely flooded. With my access to the outside world completely cut off, I had no idea. Was the flooding in the street normal? A result of poor drainage because of the construction project? Or something more? I just didn’t know. The lights flickered a few times, but the power stayed on.
I went to bed not understanding the extent of the flooding. When I woke in the morning, packed and tried to checkout, the hotel staff apologies for the lack of phone, internet, tv and hot water. As well as the fact that they could not check me out. I stored my bags and walked down to the ferry. The streets were a bit dirty, but I saw very little damage and didn’t think more about it.
That is, until I returned to the hotel to get my bags and go find the bus. The train station underpasses were filled with floodwater(!) so I had to walk up and over and around the station to find the bus. then I started to be aware of the damage. the train station had “blocked” much of the debris from traveling further down, and it was all piled up against the station. People were emptying their houses, putting all their things out to dry. The bus stop was filled with trash and sticks. The firemen had the street closed because of the cars piled up in the middle. I soon learned that there were no buses running. And no trains. And that the roads were bad. Eventually, the hotel found me a taxi to take up to Sophia-Anitpolis.
The roads were washed away. The hillsides were washed into the roads. The damage was everywhere. And when I got to the hotel, I turned on the news. This flooding that I wasn’t sure if it was normal or not? A large scale disaster for the region. Many deaths, many homes destroyed, many lives disrupted. And from looking out the window? I had no idea.