Mrs. Monkey and I spent all last week exploring some old haunts in the beautiful Tuscan hills of Italy. The sun shone, the heat was hot – damn hot – the wine and beer were mighty fine – and the food exquisite. Amongst the best that Italy has to offer. Its probably been 10 years since we were there but it remains unspoiled.
The roads are a good foot narrower than English roads, or at least they seem to be, which makes driving a spacial awareness game at high speed. Rather like some hyper level Grand Theft Auto game, I suspect, though I’ve never played it and hope that my reference is correct.
We stayed at a beautiful farmhouse B&B where we breakfasted in the garden with a view of the medieval town of San Gimignano on the hill. Our breakfast was a sumptuous spread of continental meats and cheeses, fruit, sweet and savoury pastries, mostly home made. It really was/is idyllic.
One pleasant morning we were joined at a nearby table by a visitor from across the Atlantic. A Polish lady who had settled in the United States some 30 years ago and was zooming, it would seem, around old European stamping grounds, though there couldn’t have been many of those in the old Polish communist regime days, at the same high speed with which she spoke, DSLR in hand.
When you meet someone from the US these days the chances are that sooner or later you’re going to get around to Trump, and, if you’re lucky, your new found friend will be on the right side of the argument. After all, an American with a passport has to be a liberal, right? Imagine our surprise when our Polish emigré was a vehement anti-Obama Trump supporting unashamed Republican. I know these people exist because I’ve seen them on tv but you don’t expect to see them in the wild, especially not in Europe.
She bellowed (that was her style) that when Obama had said that he was going to “fundamentally change America” she had felt “sick to her stomach”. Being English we were way too polite to point out the gun laws, the shootings, the continued civil rights battle, the lack of health care (until Obama) for the poor, and so on. But when she complained that she’d left California “because there were too many immigrants” our politeness sank into despair. I’ve heard that Americans don’t get irony. I don’t know if that’s the case but if it is true, then our Polish American is fully naturalised.
It has left me pondering whether right-wingers who are loud and proud just believe that everyone thinks like them whilst us quiet liberal snowflakes are just too damn nice to upset anyone. And if we do speak up we’re immediately Stalinistic Communists anyway and are waved away. Perhaps for reflection another time?
Our fellow traveller grabbed her camera, clicked the view, and was gone and silence descended once more as the dust settled. I reached for my I-Spy Book of Tourists and ticked off “US Republican”. It’s a funny old world.