MAY 24, 2002
Welcome to Monaco
ON January 8, 1297 Francois Grimaldi, an Italian pirate disguised himself as a monk and wangled his way through the gates of the fortress of Monaco. As a result the castle was overrun by pirates.
Seven hundred and five years later Monaco Grand Prix earns more for its region than any other Grand Prix on the F1 calendar and the locals are never backward in coming forward to take more and more money from the visitors who flock to the event. Hotel prices are hiked enormously, restaurant introduce special menus for the race weekend which are (naturally) rather more expensive than the norm. Every available dollar is sucked from the pockets of the visitors.
This year Monaco went one better. If one wanted to make a telephone call from the media center one could not, as in previous years, simply pay for a single call. The locals, chasing after every dollar, insisted that in order to use one of the telephones in the press room one would have to pay a non-refundable sum of $70 just to get a telephone line opened and then pay the call charges on top of that.
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