0620 The Darker Side of Monaco (Monaco 001â€”new)
Monaco Travel Blog› entry 44 of 92 › view all entries
Letâ€™s backtrack a few days to my first day in Nice and my day trip to the nation of
Visiting a new country is for the very first time is always an exciting event. An event that I enjoyed quite frequently from 2004 to 2007 when I visited about 50 countries for the first time. Nowadays I enjoy this experience quite infrequently, so I want to make the most of every New Country experienceâ€¦ even if itâ€™s a tiny little country like
The bus goes through a tunnel and suddenlyâ€¦ here I am. The first thing I notice is the railing, chain link fencing and seating being set up everywhere in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix which is still several weeks away, but it turns out Monaco spends a good chunk of every year preparing for and tearing down after its big raceâ€¦ Kind of mars the landscape, but I guess it is a big part of Monacan culture.
The second thing I notice are these big, ugly skyscrapers everywhere, interspersed with magnificent baroque palace style buildings.
I continue on to past the harbour, where I take my video clip with a couple of â€śsuper yachtsâ€ť in the background. I know theyâ€™re really obsessed with security here and I donâ€™t know if folks appreciate some hobo taking video clips of their yachts, but no one seemed to really mind or notice meâ€¦
From there I reach a little boardwalk/beach strip-- a pretty stoney beach at that. When I look at the African construction workers and the waiters and and boutique salespeople I wonder, do these people all live here or do they just commute in from
Then, thereâ€™s a big hotel andâ€¦ suddenly a sign that welcomes me to â€ś
After spending a good chunk of the day exploring Roquebrune and Beausoleil, I find myself back in
Iâ€™m sorry but Iâ€™m just really not feeling the charm of this unique culture though. I just canâ€™t help but look at the going by with their fancy suits and jewelry and not see â€śtax evaderâ€ť stamped on his forehead. The fact is, 84% of the people here are not really Monacans-- theyâ€™re just rich folks from other countries who become Monacan citizens for quite questionable reasons-- which makes me wonder if there really is a â€śMonacanâ€ť cultureâ€¦
Anyways, I continue to explore the city. I head down to the pleasant
Then suddenly I come across something that really disturbs me.
Iâ€™m passing the Hermitage, one of the fanciest hotels in the city and I notice to guys taking a photo of a license plate on a car. Iâ€™m curious so I go to see what the big deal is. Itâ€™s a Maserati, parked in front of the Hermitage, with Liberian license plates!
Now that just doesnâ€™t settle right at all with me. The thought of rich Europeans coming here to hide tax money from their rich European countries is, well, not that big of a deal-- I mean, if their countries really wanted the money back, they could get itâ€¦ But to think that someone might be siphoning the wealth of Liberia, stashing it away here in Monaco, and leaving the country utterly destitute, now thatâ€™s just really messed upâ€¦ Suddenly I have a much darker feeling about this whole placeâ€¦
I continue to ponder this as I wander through town, up to the
So Grimaldi is the national hero-- a sort of the â€śGeorge Washingtonâ€ť of
A guess that sort of explains why it is what it is todayâ€¦
So how does
So I finish my tour with a stroll around the peaceful
Then I head down an elevator shaft to a shopping center, where a suit and tie security guard stands at the entrance to the public restroomâ€¦ and into an industrial zone-- an area of land reclaimed from the sea, where there are actually a couple of factories-- Monacoâ€™s attempt to â€śdiversifyâ€ť its economy. But Iâ€™m still confused as to how a factory worker could afford to live here in
And thatâ€™s it, my first and quite possibly my last visit to the Independent Principality of Monaco.