26 May 1980

Rowing in the wind

Ann rows hard
There is a pretty lake nearby and we try to rent a canoe or a row-boat. No chance, they say all their boats are reserved. But there is no one around, the place is clearly not busy. I suggest to Ann that she tries and out some dollars and repeat the question. Magically, any boat we want is now available!

This says much about how deeply rooted corruption is in this country. I am not even sure it is appropriate to call it corruption. Corruption means you are doing something wrong, out of line, disruptive of the system. But here it is a way of life, it is normal, it is expected and universally practiced. It IS the system, for things big and small

We choose a row boat and go out into the lake. The sky is cloudy but it does not rain and it is just altogether pleasant. It's cool and windy but it's fun to be out in the nature and do some exercise.

After a while, it get really cool and really windy and it's difficult to steer our boat back to the peer we started from. The man who rented the boat to us sees this and come out to pick us up with a small outboard. It is a bit humiliating, especially as we were never really in danger, but still, it's helpful! We give him three dollars as an extra tip for getting us out of trouble and he is so happy he literally jumps with joy.

Easy evening of card playing and chat in our hotel. We mostly play "scopa", the Italian game I have taught my three American friends.

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