One of my favourite movies is The Talented Mr Ripley. It’s a great thriller with superb acting and direction. I’m very drawn to the lead character, Tom Ripley. He is bright, well read, plays the piano, loves art and appreciates culture. All things I aspire to be. He’s also ruthless psychopath, which I try not to be.
I root for Tom because he does whatever it takes to hold his own in a world that rewards privilege and snubs the rest. His rich friends are stupid, spoiled and undeserving. Tom survives on his wits and his charm. Although, murdering the man he loved and dumping the body at sea was probably going a too far.
I thought of Ripley recently while on a day trip to Capri. I eschewed the usual tourist traps to enjoy a long, indulgent lunch at the Grand, watching the passers by. I chose a good wine and read a good book. It was just what Tom might have done.
Having worked on cruise ships for over 20 years, I’ve been to most of the places they visit and have long since ticked off the tourist hot-spots. This leaves me free to take my time and enjoy simpler pleasures like sitting on a quayside watching the little boats bob about in the water, discovering a good local wine or getting lost in the deserted side streets.
In his song ‘Why Do The Wrong People Travel?’, Noel Coward cries:
There isn’t a rock between Bangkok and the beaches of Hispianola,
That does not recoil, from suntan oil, and the gurgle of coca-cola!
He’s right, but whether it’s Port Isaac or Portofino, you don’t have to go far from the beaten path to discover your own Ripley moment.