My colleague tells me the buses from Nice to Cannes that we take here are far better than the AS4 that plies between Andheri and Backbay in Mumbai. The buses seem the same. The roads look a little different though. As are the people and how they behave.
You can't help but be humbled by how ingrained being polite is in the French - almost everyone who gets into the bus is greeted by the driver as he gives away the tickets. And almost everyone who gets out does the same. And if there was one thing that's cheaper here than back home, it's the cost of a bus ticket - 1 Euro only. I remember paying Rs 50-plus for much shorter trips that took far longer from Bandra to Kasturi Building in Churchgate, in a past life.
On another tangent, the politeness of the French could perhaps be attributed to the fact that we are in the South of France, advertising for Microsoft thanks to the tags around our necks - we're tourists attending a conference in tourist paradise. But we do know of other Shylocky tourist destinations, don't we?
After having been warned about being greeted by 'rude' French people, this comes as a pleasant surprise. Coming to think of it, not being able to communicate through the language barrier can test one's patience. Most people here, despite that real problem, are courteous and helpful. I hope it's not just to us. And I hope it stays this way.
Lost and found
Not that all is well at Cannes. But most of what is not is perhaps our own doing.
Take the case of a couple of ladies from an Indian agency, who lost their bags and what was in them, I am told, on a shopping trip. Don't blame them - could happen anywhere, to anyone. Or for that matter, a couple of journalists who booked into a picturesque hotel about 16 kilometres away, who tried cycling from the Palais one evening only to get lost in the forest, taking a 30 km 'short cut'. They were found by a security patrol that helped end their four-hour journey. We hope the ladies find their bags too. And me, my dictaphone.
Parties and patriotism
The Indian celebrations went into the wee hours of the morning, we were told, when the awards came thick and fast in a couple of the categories. Not just the winners; India's wins were being celebrated. A little while after it dawned on us that there were no shortlists in film, ad land was still partying. While the Campaign Party had some ad landers asking us for invites, the top of mind party looked forward to amongst Indians was the one hosted by The Times of India on day five. A brilliant property to own. Well, if only some of them had added to the paper's session at Audi A, the number in attendance would have swelled beyond the 20 people who did.
Coming to think of it, not many were in sessions after day one. The New Director's showcase by Saatchi drew in a handful of creatives. Among them was Ogilvy's Abhijit Avasthi. He reasoned that a lot of first timers do take time off to go sightseeing. Fair. With 40 per cent being non-repeat delegates from India, that could be a part explanation. The other being that the Cannes veterans have nothing much to take away from the sessions. Friday will be a big draw, for sure. We do hope the partying Indians - there was a Shots party that started at 2 am - find their way, with their bags and tags safe.
The one team that's trooping in dutifully each morning is the one with a young lion and two young lionesses (Interface and TBWA, I think). On the dot. 9 AM. And grateful for the opportunity to interact with the creative Gurus. For them, it's a 'Portfolio Dawns' of sorts.
Andhra Bank's learnings
A gentleman from Andhra Bank headquarters in Hyderabad has been a regular here - for the last three years. And he's been at almost every session possible. More on him later. For now, suffices to say that we know he's grasping as much as he can as the Bank prepares for a national campaign. A change in visual identity has been effected already.
Lunch without frills, and bills
When JWT India's Senthil Kumar, ET's Ravi Balakrishnan and yours truly strolled about for lunch, the first spot was the Jaipur restaurant, located somewhere in the vicinity. I did recall the name, not from geography but from the card Tigress Tigress' Meera Sharath Chandra dutifully handed out to Indians after patronising the place. Only, it was shut at 3 pm. We ended up having omlettes.
Another joint, a shack adjacent to the Palais, is a favourite munching ground for delegates. And cheaper. But as one Indian delegate put it, there's no point in going there if it does not give bills. So claims pre-exclude stand-and-eat options that could save over 50 per cent on food expense. We wonder if anyone's tried asking the guys there for a bill. Who knows? They just might give one. If they do, I hope it's written in English.