Italy is known for many things: pizza, canals, moustaches and corruption, for example. I’ve seen them all, and now I know the last one first hand. His name is Pino. To get things done in this country you gotta know the right people. And get a favour from them. Or pay them. The example often cited is the people called fixers who make their money helping people get phone lines in less than the usual two months. It’s not like it really takes that long to get a phone line, but there’s a whole industry that would vanish if they just set up your phone (or what have you) without using these fixers. And that’s bad for the economy. Italy is corrupt, make no mistake. Palms need to be greased. And you need to know which palms. The Vatican, different country though it technically is, is not that different. There can be, during busy seasons (like Christmas) a two plus hour lineup to get inside the Vatican Museum. However I work for a guy that knows a guy that he can call and a little palm grease later, a little name drop at the door and i’m walking in the front door sans the kilometer and a half line up. Earning huge tour guide points, as some clients put it the other day.

It was just like the movies. It’s like being on Gods guestlist.