I had intended to write upon reaching Monaco something along the lines of “This time, I did a little research.” and then provided something
interesting from the wikipedia post on Monaco in my blog. However, just as I was opening up said post, my mother told me on the phone that the casino in Monaco was the same one attended by James Bond.
Enough said. My research was done.
I set out to find the casino. On my way I passed through a fun filled Christmas fair with happy people and lots of candy to look at.
I was thinking that I would arrive at the James Bond Casino and order
“A dry martini, shaken not stirred.”*
“How much is that?”
“It costs what! Don't you think there should be some sort of warning? Thanks anyways.”
But Alas! Riffraff like myself are stopped at the entrance to the casino with a nine Euro cover charge.
“What if I don't play anything?” I hadn't intended to anyways, but I did want to take a look.
“It's still nine Euro” the lady at the front desk told me. She went on “But you should know, tonight there's a strike.”
“So you're not charging people?” I said hopefully.
“No, we're still charging, but there's only one table of each kind open.”
“So you're still charging, but everything is closed?” I asked.
“Ummm, no thanks.”
I went to look through the doors. The insides, what I could see of
them, looked fairly cool. I'll tell you what I saw for four Euro.
Day 34, Country 4:
Today was a gorgeous day with an intermittent light breeze.
I left Monaco behind and soon crossed the border into Italy. I sang about it for some time. I also reviewed my Italian lexicon. Let's see their's … "ciao." That's it. This morning I knew one word in Italian. French I had the advantage of Ms. Piggy. If I were to go to Sweden I would be near fluent, but no Italian.
As I paddled along the large green mountains above me would sometimes part to reveal great valleys leading towards giant white caps in the distance. It was really nice.
After the border, the scenery immediately changed also. Along the French coast the steep hills were mostly empty, but here in Italy they are cluttered with houses, having their own small farms and radiating a simple happiness that comes from living on the sea and working a rough earth.
By midafternoon as the sun was beginning to set I pulled into a port. I got a fisherman at the dock to tell me where the captain's office was, and with a little more work, to tell me that 'Thank you' in Italian is 'Grazie.' And so I began learning the new language.
The captain's office had been closed since 11:00 in the morning. But a group of men playing cards where happy to offer me tips like, “You should find an unlocked boat to sleep in.” and let me into the port's showers with a set of keys.
So far, Italy is good.
* vodka martini. Not dry martini. ~ ed.