The Roman Connection

Posted by Freddy on Feb-7-2009

You may know that, I’m Captain, but there’s something you don’t know. I’m not a ‘tough’ Captain, I don’t usually have a puffed-up face with artificial seriousness and cruelty upon it. I like to be jovial, because I believe you can improve the relationship with your crew with this approach. There’s a general picture that the outside world (including my wife) has about ship captains, but I’m just the opposite of what they imagine. Please don’t think I’m boasting. This is the general opinion of my crew, just sharing it with you. Above all, I like to view this life as a ‘Divine comedy’ and not a ‘Serious puzzle’.

I’m open to discussion and any of my men can come to me at any time. Once when we were to anchor along Italian shores, my crew members approached me and spoke about their desire to visit Rome. The idea had me on board, as Rome was a place I had been longing to visit. We had been to Italy before, but for some inexplicable reason, had never been able to make it to Rome. What we usually do is shopping, I really enjoy jaunts to Italian Lifestyle shops and the spree of buying and adding to my trendy wardrobe and perfume collection. This time, we decided to revise the plan, and invade Rome.

The ruins of the ‘Roman empire’ really fascinated me. The coliseum where gladiators shed their blood to entertain the Romans, the captivating Roman architecture and the pleasant climate was really unforgettable. There’s something else, which remains fresh in my memory, an incident I’ll not forget for a long time to come.

After sight-seeing, some of my men had a request – ‘Can we go to a pub for a drink?’ I felt the request was a reasonable one, since Italian pubs are famous for their enthralling ambience and we moved to a popular pub in the city. You must have heard the saying ‘All roads lead to Rome,’ but you might not have heard the new one ‘All roads in Rome lead to pubs.’

The pub was really impressive, the service outstanding and interiors remarkable. We had just begun to relax, slowly sipping German beer, when suddenly, a young man dashed in. He was accompanied by an attractive lady.

He was very dark and had on a loose-fitting shirt with glossy yellow, red and green prints. To me this looked like a ‘traffic signal’ on legs. He had a golden chain around his neck which looked like a reflector on his dark body. And, even though the interior of the pub was comfortable dark and cosy, he had worn a pair of sun glasses.

The lady was Italian and he was trying hard to impress her. I remember wondering whether his throat had amplifiers fitted along with vocal chords, he spoke so loud in broken English! He was blabbering something about being a business man who’d arrived there for a meeting and that he visits Europe very often. He would then give noticeable pauses between his banter, and look around to see whether anyone was looking his way.

When the steward came for the order, he went for beer and she preferred Champagne. He still went on with his future plans for business expansion. Thanks to the waiter, his timely appearance with the drinks put a temporary stop to the ‘business speech.’ No sooner had the drinks arrived, the ‘young entrepreneur’ was gulping his beer down, as if scared of some one stealing it. He continued jabbering after this short commercial break.

At last, it was time for him to pay his bill. He opened the billfold, smiled and placed the money. Seeing this, the waiter asked ‘The balance, Sir?’ ‘Oh you can keep the balance,’ he replied with an elaborate wave of his hand. ‘No sir, my question was how are you going to make the balance payment?’

‘What! Show me the bill once again!’ Saying this he snatched the bill and stared at it. ‘My God! 480 euros? I thought it was 48. I don’t have this much money with me. I didn’t know this Champ akini was so expensive. Why do you charge so much..’ he began to wail.

Soon the situation was an utter mess. The Manager of the pub appeared at the scene. On further questioning, they found out that this ‘young business tycoon ’ was really a driver of a Srilankan business man who’d come to Italy to attend a conference and while his boss was at it, he’d sneaked out to explore the city with just 50 euros in his pocket. After hearing the story, the manager asked him to follow and they moved out. All the while, I was looking for the lady, who had accompanied him..but in vain. She had already fled the scene.

I don’t know what happened to ‘Mr business tycoon,’ but he comes to mind every time I see a traffic light.

  1. Rosamma chacko Said,

    Hi Freedy,

    Nice to know your experiance. Iam migrated from india to Italy. Now settled in Rome. The pub experiance you mentioned is really true. I know many Indians who happened to be in pubs and trapped in the same way. The pubs and night life of rome is famous . Most of the tourists dont miss the final Kiss before departure.

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