The Russians are coming…..
This used to be the Cold War warning which would cause any American child to check under his bed anxiously.
Well, they (the Russians) have arrived and are currently sunning themselves in the most exclusive and expensive hideaways in the more fashionable resorts of Sicily. Just like C and I.
Now I do not wish to tar a whole nation with the same brush…..but as long as they continue to invade their neighbours, dope their athletes, and keep that idiot, Putin, in power, I am willing to make an exception for the Motherland.
In any case, they (the Russians) like some Borg-like collective, appear to have assumed a certain stereotypical caricature of themselves – older (often much older) and more rotund (nope – think bigger and rounder than that….), quiet and surly men with pretty and much younger (think Woody Allen) trophy wife/partner.
In fact, and this may be doing a great disservice to the magnetic personality, intellect, wit and sexual prowess of your typical Russian oligarch (or not), but, I suspect, that some of these young Soviet lovelies might have been paid to accompany their hirsute speedo-wearing comrades.
The Russians are almost legendary in Sicily. Our tour guide asked if there were many Russians at our hotel and when we said yes, he stated “they are either engineers or drunk. Nothing in between”. They are also renowned for their rudeness, richness and, for their appetite.
Let me describe our first breakfast here and the Russian couple who sat at the table to the side of us.
She, let us call her Olga, was about seven foot tall (its the doping…) and model-like glamorous – not unlike King Ragnar Lodbrok’s second wife in the Vikings, if you can excuse the Scandic reference. Boris, well, not so glamorous. He was older and, therefore, obviously rich and/or a connected oligarch with the demeanour of a pot-bellied, surly Muscovite taxi driver on the way to a drug deal.
I trust I’ve painted the picture adequately…..
Olga brought a plate which would have impressed any aficionados of Nandos or a 1980s “as much as you can eat” Pizza Hut salad bar. In the American style (and Russian apparently) meat, fish, pastry, fruit, cheese and scrambled egg were all piled high onto a single plate. Olga retreated only to return with extra salamis, cake and a bun with a huge dollop of cream.
Boris brought a similar feast himself but did not set it down until he had made the waitress change the already clean tablecloth (for this is the type of upmarket, nay swanky establishment C and I have become accustomed to frequent….). He too went back for more food, juice and a couple of glasses of Prosecco (I will miss breakfast when we return to Blighty). He ordered poached eggs on the side and coffee – one espresso and a cappuccino.
We kept expecting other guests to join them. But no. The pair simply sat and chomped – she more glamourously than he – their way through mounds of food which would have been enough to feed a small army on its way to occupy the Crimea….
And it is not just their culinary appetites that are huge….apparently.
C and I are currently sunning ourselves next to a huge Russian guy – think Daredevil and Spiderman’s nemesis, the Kingpin.
He is fat and conjures up images of the Southern Comfort ad with the guy in his speedos as he struts up and down the decking beachside. The wood is groaning slightly under his weight.
This guy reeks of Bratva (Russian mafia). Even the other Russian oligarchs scattered here and there around us looked on a little embarrassed, awed, and intrigued as to how the dog had been smuggled into Italy in contradiction of strict quarantine laws. And, how much they would need to pay for a second playmate for themselves.
We tried to avoid eye contact and retreated to the relative safety and normality of the pool area where C turned to me and asked “do you think he’s killed anyone…….with a meat cleaver? And, do you think they take turns.”
We both hope that the threesome and their dog are not in the room next to ours……
La dolce vita……