Naples' big attractions are supposed to be Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. We did both in what you could call “sweating to the oldies” since the volcano involves climbing uphill over loose ash pebbles and the ancient city lacks shade.
But the real attention-getter? An impromptu walk along the streets of Naples, where we had the great timing to witness a vendor bust. As in 17 cop cars descended on a square to arrest the illegal street sellers. It was definitely an added entertainment bonus for the folks grabbing a pastry and coffee at the sidewalk cafes, too.
But you know, I’m a cop’s kid, so I’ve seen petty crime arrests before. It’s exciting on television — in real life it’s people filling out paperwork. So we went on our merry way, turned the corner to look at yet another cathedral in Europe, and saw something far more interesting.
A man hiding behind the potted plants, one hand wrapped around his signboard full of sunglasses, the other hand dialing the keypad on his cell phone. Which meant when I whipped out my camera to take a photo of this hilarious sight, he had his hands too full to do more than glare at me.
If I had some kind of control over fate, the cops would have seen what I was up to and come over to investigate, cooking this dude’s goose in the process. It would have been great revenge on every annoying street vendor who has tried to make me a deal over the years. That was my only hope, of course, since I can’t speak Italian beyond saying arrivederci in a decidedly American accent.
But I’m sure it was the one word this peddler wanted to hear me say.