Monday, February 14

Stupid Decisions/Narrow Escapes

I'm beginning to wonder what the hell is going on. It seems like I can't get a peaceful couple of days to save my life.

So as I recall, my last post was when I was in the polish monastery. After leaving the town of Bastia, I went off to explore the rest of the island. All of the towns that I went to were very beautiful, though the island itself was extremely expensive.

First was Calvi, a smaller but very popular village. As there was no accommodation in the price range I was looking for, I ended up camping out in a park again. This time, however, there weren't any rude awakenings.

Next up, I headed south. The places that I had already been to were very French, but as you work your way down the island, the true Corsican culture becomes stronger and stronger. And to be honest, it wasn't a culture that I was particularly fond of. The people were extremely aggressive, and in the end, I felt lonely and edgy being around them. They're basically a cross between Arabic and Italian, with the only thing French being that they speak the language. I'm not sure where the Arabic influence comes from. Perhaps the original settlers (who came centuries ago) were of Arabic origin.

Still, when I say that the island is beautiful, it's an incredible understatement. After a few days, I ended up on the southern tip, in a town called Bonifacio. This is easily the most beautiful place that I've ever seen. Hands down. The town is built into the side of a 200 foot sheer cliff, and looking over the cliff side, the water is so clear that you can easily see the bottom. I'd never seen anything like it. And watching the sun sets were magnificent. My being taken-aback by the town brings me to the climax of weirdness of my current (or any other?) trip.

Just after I got into town, I'm walking by the port. Someone shouts out "Quebec, Quebec!" I have no idea how they knew I live there [I don't wear a flag on my back pack, as I think it's sort of silly. Just my opinion]. The voice was coming from a bar/restaurant, and so I go over to talk to the guy. Picture Napoleon on speed. He asks me what I'm doing in Bonifacio, and I tell him that I'm just passing through, before going to look for work on the mainland. He tells me to come into his restaurant so he can talk to me.

It turns out that he's the owner, and he tells me that he's looking for workers. Strange, considering that it's off season. But the chance to spend some time in Bonifacio is very tempting, so I hear him out. He looks over my resume, and offers me a job as a cook. The pay is 1500 Euros per month, including food and accommodation. The only hitch is that I have to work 14 hours a day, seven days a week. The offer sounds very good, and he offers to let me stay at his place that night, as there's no cheap accommodation in Bonifacio [I was planning on camping out]. My naiveteé combined with my really liking the town gets the better of me, and I give it a shot. He tells me that I'll only have to stay at his place for a week if I take the job, then I can move to staff accommodation.

The next day, I start work. Grueling, but I'm ready to handle it. I had left his place a few hours after him, and locked it with his key (very trusting guy!). And as if I'm in a bad movie, you can guess what happens next. Of course he gets robbed that afternoon. So I figure that I'm toast, good and proper. Somehow, though, he doesn't suspect me. He has one of the kids that hangs out in his bar pegged as the robber.

On a bit of an aside, pretty much every kid in the town is a hooligan wannabe. This was slowly becoming apparent to me. So he has a big argument with the kid, the kid denies everything. He doesn't bother going to the cops (the cops are pretty much non-existent on this island. I learned a bit later that it's all controlled by the Mafia).

Keep in mind, this kid is in the bar almost always. Hardly ever leaves. So naturally you expect him to take off after all of this. Not so. The next day, he's right back in the bar, and the Napoleon is still serving him drinks. All the time, still accusing him of robbing him. This whole thing just gets stranger and stranger.

Now, I'm not very popular with the other workers. They keep telling me that I'm not doing a very good job. The irony is that I'm doing all the work. They just sit around all day while I clean the bar and kitchen. Fine. I'm there to get the cash and experience.

Still, I'm beginning to become more and more concerned (about freaking time!). Everyone keeps dropping hints about which team I'm playing for, if you catch my drift. So I'm becoming pretty sure that Napoleon's intentions are less than pure. Still, in a few days I get to move into staff accom, so again, because I really love the scenery, and jobs are next to impossible to find there, I stick around. And I'm told that the reason that people aren't taking kindly to me is that I come across as a snob. Why is this? Because when you enter the bar, you're expected to shake the hand of every single person in the bar, whether you know them or not, and introduce yourself. If you know them well, kiss them on both cheeks. This includes guy - guy. And they're questioning MY sexuality... Sorry, but it's weird seeing two Ginoes laying big sloppies on each other.

Through all of this, I still haven't got the motivation to leave. Finally, I get the kick in the ass I need. I was told that I could move in with the other cook, but we'd have to share a one bedroom. Fine. Then I find out that he's already living with his girlfriend! This means no apartment, which means I'm stuck in Napoleon's living room. This, plus him making a pass at me is enough. I'm off to the road, where I hitch hike out. Still, I can't believe how close I was to staying, just because of how pretty it was there. I thought I was old enough to know to better...

After getting the heck off that island, and swearing never to go back, I ended up in Saint Tropez. This is basically the Malibu of France. Way too many rich people with way too much money on their hands. After a night there, I end up in Aix-En-Provence, which has been my long term goal for a while.

Last night I was looking forward to a nice quiet night, but not to be. I'm staying in a hostel, and at around 2am, I was woken up by a mad rush of very loud... paramedics! Seems one of my roommates got food poisoning, and the other called an ambulance. He pukes all over the floor, and feels better. The paramedics take off with a very loud exit, just as they came in. Given that I was half asleep, and unable to comprehend what was going on (let alone understand what they were all screaming about), I was having a hard time deciding if this was really happening, or just a bad dream. Maybe the entire past two weeks were just a weird dream. I wonder what I ate...


Post a Comment

<< Home