SOME DOLCE VITA … AND SOME DREAMS


I had a few days spare between meetings in Italy and rather than lounge about my hotel suite flipping through channels I didn’t understand, I had planned to lounge about my yacht instead, and savour some Dolce Vita.

Some astute planning on my part made sure my yacht was anchored in Portofino as my meeting got over.  And then it was a helicopter ride away.

Me alone? Alone for three whole days? You think that can’t be possible.

Ok, I agree that’s not me. But everyone needs some downtime, and this was mine.

The sun was setting and the beautiful boats in the spectacular harbour were bathed in a golden glow. Blue and gold. Oh, I love those colours. I am glad I was here.

Log Entry:

0430 hrs, End of Day 1

The beautiful part of this hemisphere is that the days stretch forever.

Showered and smelling good. Looking good too. I head up to the deck to grab a quick drink before heading off to the Piazetta for some more drinks, and a quiet dinner in one of the restaurants of Calata Marconi watching posh people.

The wine was really good, must find out what I was drinking before I left for shore – Check with Jane tomorrow.

Every year the boats get bigger at the Umberto 1 wharf, as does the size of the paparazzi contingent. I didn’t know George Clooney could be so gracious with them.

“No matter how much money you have, there’s always some one who has more”. The saying can’t be truer. Damn! Sergé has got himself a new yacht. It’s a 280 footer, must have cost him at least a 100 mil. Damn!

Must get a new boat.

Sergé, Sergé, Sergé! Sergé and his new boat! He spoilt my evening. Damn!

Quick, do some math.  If I sell this boat and use some of the play money I have, I’ll still be short about 20 mil. Got to raise the money fast – Get cracking on it tomorrow.

Got to get the 280 footer!

Seduced by Sergé’s boat, I tossed and turned and turned and tossed again through whatever was left of the night. In the brief snatches of sleep I could manage, dreams of me on that big boat played out in soft, luxurious scenes.

Outside, the sun is a time-lapse photographer’s dream and it rises rapidly. So does the heat and time withers away. Salvador Dali is at work again. Everything looks like “The Persistence of Memory”, his painting, (just in case you’re not into art). It’s noon. I order a large breakfast. There’s nothing quite like the full English when you feel like a wreck.

My laptop reveals notes from a punter who has made a fortune on the markets. I look at my watch. The stock market would be opening just about now back home. I look at the trends of the past few days. Up. Up. Up. I look at the play money I have, compare notes with the punter’s tips, and place my call.

The commission he would get on the “buy order” made my broker smile. Hell…I could almost see his beaming grin on the mouthpiece! And I guess he could see me lick my chops at the other end too. 20 mil, here I come. You 280 foot beauty, here I come.

A cool breeze breaks out over the water, taking some of the edge out of the heat. Unusual weather for this time of the year I think. Must be the global warming thingy everyone’s talking about. I make my self comfortable on the lounger and slip into dream world again.

Log Entry:

2230 hrs, End of Day 2

Barolo. The wine I was drinking was Barolo. They say it’s the greatest Italian wine. It sure was great. Must get me a case – Tell Jane to source it for me pronto.

What goes up must come down. That’s the law of the stock market. Damn! Just when I wanted to make some quick cash, the market tanks! Global something or the other my stock advisor says.

Global something or the other seems to be sweeping the planet!

Thank god the stock market is not my source of income, but merely a provider of play money.

The “Bel Ami” is moored in the marina!  Guy de Maupassant’s “Bel Ami” can you imagine! – Get Jane to check whether I can buy it. That would be a good investment.

I hope the punter is right on the tip. Must pray tonight.

Morning came, as it usually does. I skip breakfast for a good reason. I’m going to have a gourmet brunch specially cooked by Claudio Pasquarelli, the famous chef well known for his culinary masterpieces across the Mediterranean.

I go below deck and have a chat with him. I tell him I’m going to be drinking large amounts of Barolo, so he should cook his spread accordingly. He frowns; he had sea food on his mind.

I go back up and log into my account, check for updates on the stock. It’s my turn to frown. All the indices are down. Damn! The stock markets are in yo-yo mode.

Ah never mind, there is always the wine. Drink up my friend, I tell myself. It’s only play money. But I want that 280 footer.

A few hours later I check again. Up. My stock has gone up. I look across the bay and catch a glimpse of Sergé’s yacht. I smile.

Then I get a call from my advisor.

Log Entry:

0030 hrs, End of Day 3

History has a habit of repeating itself.

Why does it always happen that when I enter the market, it always crashes? What curse do I carry?

I never learn, do I?

Envy is a bad word. Greed is even worse! Perhaps I should have just stayed with the Dolce Vita.

I guess the 280 footer will just have to wait for a little while…

India Boating, August ’07

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