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page 5

As already noted in this space, the Palace Hotelʼs clientele more or less knew each other well during the Fifties and Sixties. We knew which table belonged to whom in the lobby, and where everyone was seated in the dining room. This, of course, led to many practical jokes being played on unsuspecting souls by troublemaking Greek jokesters, including this writer. Our easiest target was one Jean Lascare, an Aristotle Onassis lookalike today, back then a very thin Lausanne Romeo looking for love. Jean loved new things, so my friend Zographos and I would go into town and order large TV sets and other house appliances to be delivered in his room at the Palace. In those days localsʼ trust reigned supreme. All we had to do was give a name and the merchandise was delivered. George the concierge paid, and voilà, Jean would arrive in his room and find it looking like a hardware store.

The concierge back then knew us better than we knew ourselves. Needless to say, they tried to protect us from ourselves each and every night. My friend Andrea Gambardella, recently retired, once tried his best but to no avail. I had spotted Princess Caroline having dinner and had sent her a billet doux with a poem. She finally spotted me and smiled back. I followed her to the Palace and demanded from Andrea her room number. “Mister Taki, you know I cannot give it to you,” said Andrea, “I will be fired.” But I insisted so much Andrea took pity on me and finally said, “606.” I went up and found two priests parked outside her door. “Iʼm going in, fathers,” said I. “No you are not my son,” said the fathers. I did not and Andrea kept his job. I think Andrea mobilized the priests, and the mystery remains: Where did he find them?

Taki Theodoracopulos (born August 11, 1936), best known as Taki, is a Greek-born journalist and writer living in New York City, London and Gstaad.




ROOM 696