April 16 – A different work ethic

Location: Monaco

It has taken me three days to get my new French sim card to work – I had to walk all the way back up to the original shop where I bought it, yesterday and today, to complain before it magically started working properly.

“What did you do to make it work?” I ask the girl behind the counter after waiting an hour for the shop to open at 10am, not 9am as advertised on the door.

“I did nothing,” she says, opening her long-lashed gorgeous eyes even wider. I’ve noticed that all of the world’s most beautiful women are visiting Monaco this week.

Anywhere else in the world I would involve her in a long torturous argument until she finally broke down and revealed that yes, she really did whisper some magical incantation to make it work, and yes, she really is married to a plastic surgeon.

Instead I make do with just thanking her and glaring at my traitorous phone before reluctantly relinquishing her to the long queue of people waiting behind me.

CasinoBill and I have just returned from Monte Carlo Casino where we had two free tickets from Franco to L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. I dressed to impress in my ‘best’ outfit and sat next to Bill to watch a couple of brothers, David Lefevre and Alain Lefevre play Mozart and Bartholdy on their violin and piano, backed by an orchestra, in a fairly small theatre in the Casino.

Amazing, except I started enthusiastically clapping during the dead silence of a break between the first and second movements. I realized my mistake fairly quickly when several heads in the audience snapped towards me, scowling, and the silence extended.

The blood rushed to my face, my smile froze, and then slipped, as I realized what a dumb-arse I was. I glanced apologetically to the brothers on stage and was gratified to see them both smiling as they casually flipped through the music sheets in front of them before starting the next movement.

Apparently you only clap after the third and final movements! There you go?! Who would have guessed?

Monte Carlo Casino is the most famous casino in the world according to Monaco. It formed the backdrop in the James Bond film, “Casino Royale” and still looks just like a movie set with lots of glitz and glamour inside and jaw-droppingly expensive cars—Ferraris, Porsches, Bugattis and Hennesseys—parked haphazardly around the entrance on the outside.

Historically the casino has formed the mainstay of Monaco’s economy. Funny thing about Monaco. Monaco citizens—known as Monegasques by the way, and don’t ask me how to pronounce that—don’t have to pay any tax, but in return for their tax-free status, are not allowed to gamble at the casino.

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