Venice – the last days

The hotel is full. The front desk people are very warm but the waiting staff look askance at us. We probably appear rather rough whereas every hotel staff in Venice has been specially trained in case Mr & Mrs Clooney drop by. I’m more George Burns than George Clooney.

We ask for afternoon tea. Our hotel sadly betrays it’s common roots by using tea bags. We hunt in vain for a strainer. The milk jug is chipped. The terrace adjoins the water front prom but is padlocked to keep hoi poloi at bay. Pigeons flutter expectantly onto empty tables, unaware of the bird flu risk. There is a Venetian in a dhoti to chase them off. The pigeon-wallah. The waitress spoils the aloof veneer by dropping Mrs. Ha’s order on the ground. Embarrassment kicks in and we don’t rub her pretty little nose in it. The pigeons think it is Christmas as they pounce. The replacement order is a high quality, over-generous portion.

It may not have the best china but Venice has been discovered by the mainland Chinese and every waiter can say ni hao and xie xie. And no more. That is enough as unfortunately Mrs. Ha is Cantonese and cold shoulders the gratuitous insult that assumes every Asian is from the PRC. The staff return to a less inflammatory language and address us in English. I consider being difficult and feigning a lack of comprehension. But I don’t.

Long trains follow the red flag with five stars. Always the stragglers dashing to keep up. Time for another selfie? I must buy that umbrella, the gondolier’s boater and the carnival mask. Can’t go home without a genuine slice of Venetian life. Their tour schedule includes a gondola trip. They pile in. Some get a song thrown in. Just one vaporetto. At the Ponte della Paglia a sad girl plays the accordion. In three days we only hear her play Que sera sera. The tourists hurry by to gaze on the Bridge of Sighs. I’m more Sospan Fach than Sospiri.

Soon it will be time to return home. So we must make the most of our last day. But the only thing I can hear in my mind is……….Que sera sera.

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10 thoughts on “Venice – the last days

  1. If you had dressed upscale you would have gotten better treatment-maybe. Venice with all its glory sounds too touristy to me. Too bad the folks that own/run hotels and such can not get with the program. At least that is my take from what you have written here.

    But this was a fun read and I got a “kick’ from your dry and sarcastic humor. I really enjoy your posts when you write in this manner.

  2. Don’t give away too many Venetian secrets Andrew. If the waiters thought you were rough, wait till we arrive in rubber thongs and heavily tattooed. Tea in tea bags? I thought they invented tea.!

    • This was merely our hotel, Hilary. We didn’t spend much time there. I had worked out in advance much of what I wanted to photograph. I missed some of the places and could have done with an extra day or two. I’m not sure whether I will be lucky enough to visit again. I’ll see how health and finances pan out. I’d quite like to spend some time there in Winter.

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