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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Contrast in the Mediterranean

    The greatest contrast between the wealth and poverty that I witnessed along the Mediterranean had to have been between Monte Carlo, Monaco, and Naples, Italy. Our first stop was Monaco where the beautiful bay stretched out containing countless yatchs overlooked by the royal palace. When walking along the main strip one comes to realize that the majority of the businesses are banks, yatch dealerships, clubs and high end car dealerships. Once the day had concluded a waiter told me while dinning, "it's not a city, its a playground for millionairres." Nothing could be more true.
    Naples, even from affar, looked underprivelaged. The port city had many nice things to see but it was overshadowed by the crushing poverty of which numerous people lived. Jammed between a highway and a road, situated close to where the cruise ships were docked, lived perhaps the poorest sector of society I've ever seen. I was told that these were the Gypsies, illegal Romanian immigrants. This seems to be a widespread problem for both Italy and Spain. The 'homes' were shacks built out of sheet metal and garbage bags. Children picking up trash and, in other areas that we drove past, stacking metals. The entire area of the port was dilapidated; graphity covered what once appeared to be architecture.
    For what the Western world has been able to accomplish; nothing like this should be able to exist. Italy is an amazing country but even within Naples the wealth gap is enormous. The port area being the low end and the glass skyscrapers in the distance being the high. The fact that it remains in such plain view and nothing is done to raise them from poverty is disturbing. I was, however; fortunate enough to witness what is actually going on rather than just the tourist facade.