Back in Italy and lovin’ it

I flew into Milan this morning and was off and “running” by nine.  It’s an easy bus ride from the airport to Milan’s Centrale Station where I was to catch a train later in the day.  But since I had three hours to burn, I decided to take the metro (luggage and all) to the Duomo Square and see what was happening. 

Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, is loaded with all the top end stores such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, D&G, and other prime storefront property.  So it was no surprise to find no “vendors of worthless crap” roaming the streets selling knock-off designer stuff.  But, there on the main square, were ebony black men with gleaming white teeth “giving away” small hand-made multi-colored string bracelets.  Standing back and taking it in, I learned there was an “art” to getting the bracelet tied on to a person’s wrist before they could say no.  I even fell victim, although I did it purely for research! 

The nicer name for these men are extra-communicati .   We call them illegal immigrants at home.  But I took an opportunity to talk to one such man as he was tying a bracelet on my wrist.  It seems he is happy to be working in Milan.  This is his “home” and he lives in an apartment with six other fellows.  He is originally from Senegal and has been in Italy for one year.  He was a pleasant fellow and spoke intelligently with broken English.  After he finished tying on my bracelet, he cut it with a pair of fingernail clippers and then asked a some change.  I gave him a euro and two quarters which he kept for a souvenir! 

Well I’m off to catch a train to Venice.  I’ll catch you later.


About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
  1. Holli Holdsworth Reply

    Hi David – are you still writing for the CBC? I was wondering if you would be interested in my blog – I am a Canadian living and working in Ghana for the past 12 years. Canadian Expat Association is currently writing a piece on me and I would also like to submit my articles about life here in the right forum.

    Please review my site and let me know your comments.

    Kind regards.

  2. Susan Reply

    How long did you keep the bracelet?

    • davidmcguffin Reply

      I took that bracelet off after the summer and put it in my journal.

  3. Wendy Richardson Reply

    I hope that all the “street vendors” such as this nice man are like that in all places around Italy. You were very fortunate to find a nice man.

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