We were there right outside this grandiose building in Monte Carlo. My to young children and I had flown to Italy a few days earlier and it was our first trip to Europe. As an Australian mum rather naïve about European uppishness, some might call it snobbishness, we parked the car opposite and marched up to the door expecting to be let in. After all we were tourists and in a rush to see whatever the country had to offer.
We had already visited the pink palace and the Napoleon Museum, which was a great attraction for the youngsters. As they were just 9 and 10 years of age they knew nothing about any of the characters whose history and likenesses were on display. But my son was greatly impressed with the emperor’s weapons and the horse he was riding.
We got some nice souvenirs and looked over the inside of the palace. This type of luxury is not something we think too highly of, especially as we have no class distinction at home. So why would someone want all of this luxury and waste of money to support their life-style.
Monte Carlo is a small place and everything seems over the top as far as wealth is concerned. The Casino is no different. Of course it was frequently used in movies and there is song about breaking the bank of Monte Carlo, all of which was in my mind when we confronted the doorman who barred our entrance.
Was it our dress, or lack of it? It was hot and we had come from the Australian winter so we were wearing shorts and T-shirts. On our feet were the thongs that were the best and coolest for travelling in the car. Maybe we didn’t look the part as the patrons coming and going were dressed in suits and ties. Maybe it was the age of the children. We never did find out as we felt rejected and was told we could not enter.
Oh well! We wore the same get-up inside the Vatican and no one objected. Later it occurred to me that as an unescorted female, a crime in Europe at that time, with two young kids in toe, we must have looked completely out-of-place. They didn’t know us and we certainly did not get to know them. In a way, looking back at it, that doorman did us a huge favour because it was not a place that a spiritual person like me should ever enter.