Monday, August 15, 2005

The Italian Job...

There aren't too many countries in the world where you can be ferried away to eat raviolli with a quartet of men named Rolando, Sergio, Fabio, and Flavio. You'd be forgiven for thinking we were dining with the front four for Inter Milan; but these men were in fact head honchos in Switzerland's Tourism and Hotel Industry. Once again the complexities of Switzerland were at work... here we were inside Swiss borders but you couldn't get more quintessentially Italian: Mini Coopers zipping past vegetable stalls, olive -skinned men throwing buckets of waste on cobbled roads, 600-year-old architecture, Hitler even surrendered a million Italian troops in Ascona.

But to get to the Swiss-Italian border Phil, Mal and I had to make the journey over the famed Nufenen Pass. It's Switzerland's highest pass open to motor vehicles and I was promised snow. Instead it was a nauseating crawl up the mountain in the slowest Voyager to come off Ford's production line. At one stage I spotted Lance Armstrong overtake us on his victory lap. I may not have got summer snow but I did get a rather snazzy photo of which I'm quite proud.

Ascona wasn't all about being wined and dined in a haunted hotel on a botanical island... we also got to eat Italian pizza with equally stunning scenery. No Cheesey Stuffed Crust Hawaiian on the menu here so I went with the Quatro Stagioni. Set along Lake Maggiore, Ascona is a popular summer tourist town; there are countless restaurants, bars, and cafes along the lake front (think Auckland's Viaduct but five times bigger and without the Epsom-girls-who-should-know-better). Each night eating becomes a spectator sport as everyone turns their chairs around to face the Lake for an instesive session of people-watching. Bettering the voyeriusm is the half dozen street performers who entertain you while you pick the olives off your pizza. From mimics to a family of circus acrobats, this was quality busking. Proving a good case for irony was a slightly retarded man who juggled a beach ball from side to side with his crutches. Kinda cruel, I know, but set against this back-drop of world class street performers and wealthy Italians it was like a scene out of There's Something About Mary.

Despite befriending the Sopranos of the hotel world our accommodation was a little out of Ascona which wasn't too bad as our hotel was set in the shadows of a bombed bridge with an amazing river that run underneath it. This wasn't you typical hotel swimming pool (especially considering it was a nudist bathing area) but seeing as this was the hottest day of the year I certainly wasn't going to resist a refreshing dip in this readymade watering hole. But if there's one thing I learnt from my trip to Switzerland is that no matter how hot the day if you're gonna chuck yourself head-first into a Swiss river remember that the water has run straight off the Alps and is essentially melted snow. One head-freeze later and I had sufficiently cooled off.

Now, throughout my journey I become more conscious that people were looking at me funny... this isn't all that uncommon for me but these looks lingered slightly longer than I've become accustomed to. It was then brought to my attention that I had a strong resmemblance to Switzerland's most famous musician. This thrilled me no end and I just couldn't wait to check out his website and marvel in the similarity. The superstar in question calls himself DJ Bobo which didn't fill me with confidence and if you'd kindly head to you'll realise my shock (click here for an instant photo). With an act called "Pirates Of The Dance" he's not so much a rock star but more of a cross between Meatloaf and Ireland's toe-tapper Michael Flately. No wonder people were looking at me funny... I'm surprised I got past customs at Geneva Airport.

Anyway, cast your votes on if you think I look remotely like DJ Bobo and log on next time to find out if I could fool the people of Zurich with my pirate dance.


At 11:35 am, Blogger Bee said...

No you are who you are.
Do you think you look like this musician?
You never mentioned whether you joined in on the tradition of the river dress attire.
Have fun and I look forward to the next installment.


At 8:59 pm, Anonymous Anita said...

DJ Bobo??
Not a chance! / Maybe it's a first glance thing, but I'm not seeing it.
I agree, it's quite a photo you've got there.
You never said what the pizza tasted like.
Another great read of a piece of your journey. Sounds like a fascinating trip, all told (so far).

Love Anita

At 9:15 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff! I like your blog! Can I refer this to my collouges?

pl do check our site on making money online. It has good stuff on making money online and some hot selling products.

At 9:48 pm, Anonymous ravey_dave said...

hahaha ffs. i can't believe people actually spam blogs with advertising!
well, actually, i can. :-\
btw it's spelt colleagues, you stupid foreigner.

ps. scandal = dj bobo? kind of... i think whoever made the armand "my, my, my" call the other day was right on the money. shot.

At 1:14 am, Anonymous LNCJC said...

Anothr gr8 tale. Wish we were there 2. U DJ Bobo? Well if u squint a litle & tip yr head 2 the left u mite c it. But nah, not posible.

Let us knw how the job huntng is going.

Keep the storys rolling!

At 12:50 am, Anonymous sweetpants said...

yikes. we are following a few weeks behind the trail of destruction you are leaving randal, keep up the fine writing, we'l sort out some sort of fone thing with the PUBE soon, i get to spend 12 hrs on a plane with the Lewis-Mayes' next sunday, imagine being in Hong Kong with the king of Manus.

oh yeah, fleeting resemblance to DJbobo - maybe more like Monty Burns' old soft toy Bobo though...

At 2:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The writings of Scandal Munro bear no ressemblance to the facts of the story. This was a hardworking golf assignment similar in demand to all previous golf assignments. Scandal has broken the rules of the brotherhood by enhancing an incrediblyboringdemandingworking golf club shoot.
Scandal,your future assignment prospects are being reviewed.
And my final comment on this matter...I believe I was the person mistaken for DJ Bobo ..DJ and I both rate Whitney Houston as our all time favourite artist.

Phillip L
Overseas Golf Tour Organiser and (part time) Exec.Prod Golf.

Do you want your job back?

At 7:55 am, Anonymous Phantom48 said...

Finally I get to read your blog!! Thought I'd missed it for a whole week and was getting withdrawel symptoms.
BTW Phillip L - they say don't believe everything you hear/read in the media so which one of you two media guru's can I believe? I know he put's a good spin on it, but I tend to think there's more than a little truth in Randall's stories - LOL!!
Anyway Randall - keep it coming. Luv always - Mum
(Oh and maybe it's the forehead that has a slight resemblance?)

At 4:36 am, Anonymous mark said...

I love you Randall, I miss eating pizza with you at La Porchetta...

At 11:39 pm, Anonymous D'Arcy said...

good work agent munro. i trust from your writings you are still a fanta face, i expect the swarthy locals are fascinated with that ginger growth.
drink recklessly and drive it like you stole it.


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