July 14, 2011

Me: “You Russian?”

He: “Yes.”

Me: “You Jew?”

He: “Yes.”

Me: “You billionaire oligarch?”

No answer.

Then he started.

He: “You Greek?”

Me: “Yes.”

He: “You Jew?”

Me: “Not even close.”

He: “You very rich?”

Me: “Father big ship-owner and industrialist, but me make small fortune out of big one. We probably met while you were going up and I was coming down.”

That’s when he burst into laughter.

He gave me his card and his address is in Kensington Palace Gardens, the foreign embassies’ Welfare Row. The trouble was that he could not have been nicer, laughing at my stupidities and drunken talk. He was not at all the ogre one expects when one hears the dreaded words “Russian oligarch.” Live and learn, I guess.

Next evening everyone assembled right in front of Bushido and regaled me with compliments about her beauty. Nat and an assortment of other Rothschilds came onboard, and we had a quick cocktail party before walking across the palm-fringed promenade to Nat’s final evening shindig. There were yachts and private jets galore and some awfully leggy blondes. But for the moment I am sailing down to Corfu and poor little broken Hellas, whose financial problems would be solved tomorrow if power was taken away from the politicians and given to some of the types I met over the weekend.



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