Before I start on the rather strange title I should mention that out walking today I saw my first snake of the year. Clearly the warm weather has awoken them and they are about. It’s time to be more careful in the woodshed when getting wood and stay out of the long grass. We have plenty of Western Whip snakes in the garden, long black numbers that seem more keen to get away than attack. They give a nasty bite it seems but are not poisonous. The one today was an Asp Viper which is a souped up British adder that packs a very nasty punch. One of those quick get me to the hospital fast type snakes. This one was basking in the middle of the road though I normally see them when cutting across country like this on my daily walk
And so to the car wash and don’t worry their is an Italian twist to it. I got a note about this blog from Chuck in Canada who I used to work with at what became Thomas Cooks North America. As one of his myriad of duties Chuck was a photographer for the Cooks holiday brochures and he sent me this photo of yours truly clutching a bottle of Dominican Republic rum in 2005 .
Chuck was down there taking photos at a Riu hotel and I was there to present the Thos. Cook wares to a group of over 300 horribly hungover Canadian travel agents who were having a conference at the same Riu. Now I have mentioned in previous posts my eagerness to find where the locals go to drink normally so I can find cheap drinks. In this instance the Riu was an all inclusive joint and so booze was free and flowed like water. Even your room at a Riu has on optic range in the bathroom. Chuck had been to the Dom. Republic hundreds of times and I guessed rightly that at some stage he would have been taken out by the local staff for drinkies. Take me I said to where they go . I finished my hour’s presentation and so at lunchtime we set off in his hire car. Where to said I. The carwash said he. Not quite what I had envisioned but hey if the car needed cleaning before we went elsewhere so be it.
Twenty mins later we were pulling up at the carwash. Very unlike the movie clip above, this one you parked in a spot and the guys washing gradually worked their way around the car park. However in the middle of the lot was a bar attached to a small supermarket. This is where the locals brought me said Chuck so into the bar we went. But it was more than a bar it was also a small dance floor and around the actual bar sat about 20 girls . The other patrons who had parked up were at tables around the dance floor or feeding the jukebox. Now the Dom Republic is famous for it’s Latin dances and the jukebox only played music that you could dance the three most famous ones to. As the music started the girls would come around the tables asking if you wanted to dance . Up got all the locals and swayed their way around the floor. The girls got a drink at the end or a tip or joined the table for a time. I believe that there was an extra service available out the back but all the time we were in there I never saw anything but dancing and that is my story and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway in the small shop next door I bought my rum and Chuck took the photo by a truck carrying more of the stuff. It is actually firewater and makes Italian grappa seem like a child’s soda drink. However ” honey I’m just taking the car up to the carwash back in half an hour ” has never been quite the same to me since that day back in 2005 !
Last year we were driving around the insole of the boot of Italy on our way to Cretone near the toe. We were on a motorway and in need of petrol so started watching for signs. The route is much used by heavy trucks and holiday makers and quite soon we began to see signs for a service station. They were big signs and proclaimed “Full Service Stop ” in both Italian and English . The signs got bigger and full became Complete and then both as we drove up the slip road . Sure enough there was a petrol station , a restaurant, a bar, a mechanic, some loos, a carwash and all along the slip road as well as along side every facility sitting on plastic seats sat girls . The Italians sure mean full service we laughed as we drove away. No dancing though that I could see.
I was reading today an article written by Ludovic Kennedy the TV presenter on Mrs Thatcher. He describes how when doing a documentary on Airy Neave the MP blown up at the House of Commons by the IRA , Mrs Thatcher after the interview in Number 10 offered to take them on a tour of the house. In the formal dining room she turned to the BBC crew and said “I had Giscard d’estaing the French president here last week for dinner”, “guess where I sat him”. The BBC team looked baffled and she said “here” indicating a chair and following her upward gaze they saw on the wall opposite a full length portrait of Lord Nelson next to a full length portrait of the Duke of Wellington.