Thursday, August 10, 2006
High Flying Snake Snacks
Because of popularity, I am adding the picture of the dog in question. This really is the dog on the boat that day. I don't know the smaller breeds very well, so if anybody knows what it is, you can post it in the comments section.
Because Italy has so many tourists, I'm learning more about French and German tourists than Italian culture and society. One thing I have noticed about the French in particular is their penchant for yippy little dogs. These dogs aren't capable of pointing, retrieving, sniffing for cocaine, or herding. In fact they don't seem bred for any task that anyone would consider economically worthwhile. But for whatever reason, Europeans, and the French in particular, seem to adore and worship these stupid things, even bringing them on vacation to the Riviera.
Today, my father and I boarded a ferry destined for Portofino (on the Italian end of the Riviera near Genoa), and an oddly large number of tourists on the boat decided to bring their beloved little canines. I'm not kidding. Most of the dogs were obviously frightened by the boat, dock, all the people and the stairs. After being seated for some time, the boat made another stop, and the crowded soon filled to standing room only.
One middle aged French couple had two little dogs, one of which looked like a pathetic mixed chihuahua/dashhund breed. Obviously the product of a breeder with a twisted sense of humor. It was an annoying little thing too. Obviously frightened and excited, it was making all sorts of pathetic shrieks and cries that perfectly complemented the screaming babies and low rythmic noise of the motors. The dog delivered a perfectly annoying virtuoso performance of irritation in a huge symphony of frustration.
Well, the ride went on for some time, with my Dad and I both exchanging looks at each other, the French couple, and the dog. It started to rain a little, and I could tell my Dad was getting a little impatient, as I'm sure most people in the boat were.
The next moment, I heard my Dad scream "Thing's peein' on my leg!!" Before I could look down to see the whiny little thing urinating all over the place, my Dad picked it up by its hind leg and flung it overboard. Just like that. My eyes tracked it for a bit, helplessly floating through space, head over tail into the Mediterranean horizon. Now, because we were on the second deck up on the roof, and because of the noise of the motors, we only heard a brief cry from the dog. No splash. The boat was going pretty fast too, so by the time it hit the water, it was probably pretty far away.
Again, before I could look or say anything, the French woman was in my father's face screaming all sorts of things in French. While French is a beautiful language, I'm certain she was saying things that weren't very nice. A number of other people around saw and started yelling things to crew members, no doubt informing them of what happened. The boat quickly slowed down and stopped after about a minute and some crew members came over and started asking my dad and the woman some questions. They quickly started yelling at my dad as well.
The boat started turning around, and several crew members had out big binoculars, in an apparent search for the dog. The boat started going slowly in the other direction, the whole time crew members and this French Woman yelling at my Dad.
Now the French couple was interesting. The woman had obviously received a very bad facelift and a complexion that bespoke of way too many martinis, cigarettes, and a life spent frying herself to a crisp in the sun. She was irate, screaming at the top of her lungs while the rest of the crew and passengers stared and waited for her to throw my Dad over. The French man however, seemed disturbingly calm, and even had a slight grin on his face suggesting that he probably didn't love the dog as much as his wife.
Finally the crew spotted the dog, and were able to retrieve it with a long pole-thing of unspecified purpose. The woman got her wet dog back and cuddled him, still uttering occasional screams at my father, who at this point is rolling his eyes and mocking every French word she yelled at him. This only enraged her further, as she threw plastic water bottles and a makeup applicator at him. Other crew were still yelling and questioning my dad. They finally got my dad and I to move away from the lady.
The shore wasn't far, and the boat was soon steaming strait for the nearest town. The boat slowed down as it approached a harbor and what was obviously not a scheduled stop. The boat stopped and the walkway extented, when some crew members ganged up on my dad and made it clear that he needed to leave. I quickly followed my Dad. We had to go to Portofino by Train.
Portofino was a nice place though, although it was kind of ritzy. It was the kind of place where the fabulously wealthy pull up in their yahts and buy overpriced jewelry and cocktails.