Thousands of years ago, the victorious were rewarded with pottery vessels in Apulia (Southern Italy) and Greece. Maybe they still are? It was kind of the forerunner of the modern trophy, except not made out of cheap gold colored plastic with the little parts that always seem to break off, and the obligatory sliver of a marble base. At the left is a much better red figure ancient krater than I have, since it is in the Louvre, quite a bit larger, impeccable provenance, and was not purchased from a modern day artisan.
And as long as we are on the subject of awards, I think it's time to present an award to an outstanding blogger Mo 'Mad Dog' Stoneskin, who never seems to be at a loss to tell a great story. With help from Mark Twain, you are hereby awarded the 'Finer stories than a Ritz Carlton' award. Hopefully you'll keep up the great work, even though it makes the morning drive to work a bit more dangerous.
And as a (poor) tribute to your anecdotal abilities, I'll try to recount an odd and uncomfortable story of Tintamarre Island.
Some friends and I were waiting for a day trip catamaran excursion on the beach in Grand Case, St. Martin aboard the distinguished and regally named 'Scooby Doo'. The crew proudly mentioned that luminaries such as Mariah Carrey had spent quite a bit of time hiring that very boat, which I didn't think was interesting but one of the girls we were with did.
The boat was a wonderful Fontaine Pajot Taiti class sail catamaran with a great crew from France. At one point, they even let me take the helm for about 20 min between Anguilla and Grand Case (because they do that all day and it can be a little bit boring) Neither hull left the water I'm proud to say.
Anyway, around noon, we motored over to a small island just East of St. Martin called Tintamarre. The crew dropped anchor, expertly getting within a few feet of the beautiful pristine sandy beach. The large front gangway went down, and everyone received snorkeling gear. So for a while it was the typical 'living in a beautiful sunny aquarium' tourist experience complete with a ray and the usual neon colored fish. We were all finished early with the snorkeling, returned the gear and went down the beach to see what the island was like.
Some guy was trying to sell all of us a story about how locals went to a mud pit we found on the island for some kind of therapy. It seemed like b.s. to me (the story, not the mud).
Then after a bit more exploration, it was time to head back up the beach to the boat. Out of the corner of my left eye, I noticed several (maybe 4 or 5) rigid bottom inflatable boats each with about ten people in them motoring up. Walked a little further... Then one of the girls screeched 'Oh my God, he's not wearing a bathing suit!' At which point, we were all stunned and unable to continue forward where the miniature Naked Normandy invasion was taking place before us. Some people tan, some too white... Naked women running up with beach umbrellas and the guys hauling up ice chests, and nooo... a volleyball net. What the hell?
And, it was all taking place between where all of us were standing and the boat. 40 naked people running around...
The island was pretty small, but hiking to the right through the underbrush didn't seem like a good idea. Swimming to the left would take a while, and what if the naked people swam out?
So, when faced with a situation like this, you want to not look. Really, you try really really hard not to, but it is a complete train wreck and just so odd and unexpected. And there were just enough normal looking people to keep it from being completely gross.
Eventually after the shock started wearing off, our group formed a pact with quick glances to gather up the courage to get through the throng. We kept the heads down pretty much and did the muttery 'hi, nice day' kind of thing until around them. 'No obese lady, please don't bend over to pick that up that beer can from the ice chest, ohhhhhnnnnooooooo.'
Closer to the boat I noticed there was an older Spanish couple and even though the man wasn't looking in that direction (I assume for the pretense of his wife's benefit), he had his video recorder going and aimed towards all the nekkid people. Tsk tsk...
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