April 18, 2000

This tiny country that I did walk from nearly one end of the other to, is so small, it's considered just a city in France by most guidebooks. The true Monégasques don't pay taxes, but the 5000 of them only make up 1/6 of the total population.

I entered in the unimpressive East side of town, but it later picked up to what could be a very glamorous night for the wealthy. There are a few people who definitely live for their status symbols. Fur coats, gaudy jewelery and fuzzy haircuts on mostly elderly women with their male counterparts drive the Rolls Royce through the car wash.

There are no backpackers here, but generally friendly people and all kinds of exotic shops for the rich to nonchalantly drop some dough. Some great antique shops, a port of large yachts, and the cars. Oh the cars, for a tiny country, they certainly have fast cars all over the places. Luxury ones like Bentleys out number Volkswagens and shiny Ferrari's are not only in the dealer show rooms, but littering the streets like new bright red Matchbox cars. It's easier to find a Lamborghini or Maserati dealer than a used Chevrolet.

If the street looks like a steep climb, you probably don't have to go to far to find an outdoor elevator or escalator to bring you up to the casino. Fortunately, there are free public bathrooms (you have to pay in France), but no toilet paper in the stalls - no worry, someone is there to hand you what you need.

Amazingly, there's hardly any snobbery here, but it is a bit touristy.

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