Editorial

EDITORIAL

Christmas surprise in Malindi: Briatore is here

How many "italian" touristic seasons waiting for him...

24-12-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo

Fifteen years ago, when I was alternating my work as a journalist and correspondent from Kenya for some newspapers and agencies with the management of a small restaurant on the central Lamu Road, the rumors about the alleged arrival of Flavio Briatore in Malindi for Christmas fueled bets under the umbrellas on the beach and made the self-styled VIPs of our house in Africa clench their asses, boasting fraternal friendships with the then "deus ex machina" of Formula One.
What a shame if they hadn't managed to get themselves invited to his exclusive New Year's Eve party, where at the same time you could have met Naomi Campell, Fernando Alonso, Giovanna Melandri (but what happened to her?), Beppe Grillo and Paolo Bonolis.
But most of all you could have met Katana, the gardener. My trusted informant on gossip, which, in the absence of instagram and in the presence of only the paparazzi of Eva and Novella, was crucial.
It was the second golden age of Malindi, the one of the slightly rougher metal that always made one shiver a little, despite the equatorial heat.
If today, 2021, the questions I get from readers and acquaintances (and even the few readers I know) are about visas, green passes, invitation letters and self-certifications, the lightness of 2006, which in hindsight (or rather, "poa") we miss so much, sublimated into the fundamental question of vacations in Kenya: "Has Briatore arrived?".
All other expectations took a back seat: is the political situation calm? Is the sea clean? Are the roads full of potholes? Does the light keep coming and going? Will there be animals on the savannah? What is the student population like?
No, first of all Briatore. Because if he arrives, it means that the political situation is calm, the sea is clean, there is a good chance that he will patch the roads and solve the problem of electricity and maybe even put in a good word with lions and elephants. Plus he's a guy who brings his students from home....
So, as a joke and a bit of provocation, I invented a gadget to sell in my local, the t-shirt with the words "Is Briatore here?".
A big success, you might say in times when the accrescitive is also used to greet, as long as this happens from the right distance. I've sold a lot of them and I've been told that someone had managed to show up at Mister Billionaire's to get it autographed.
In recent years, Flavio has had his own sentimental vicissitudes, the joy of becoming a father and breeder of a Hawk and of combining his many activities, many of which are well known, with that of pizza taster in various world destinations. However, his interest in Malindi has waned. As he explained in his last interview with the local media a few years ago, the government's unfulfilled promises regarding the international airport or at least a serious and continuous program of direct connections to Malindi and a master plan for the upgrade (as he says, in Cuneo it would be "alzuma el livel") of the tourist destination.
No dice. Then came the pandemic, with the lockdown and the bans on tourism and, as we mentioned before, ciaone!
But now, after four, maybe five seasons, Briatore is back to celebrate Christmas in Kenya!
Announced by his social media and followable, likeable and commentable in real time, the entrepreneur has set foot in his Marine Park estates again. Will we see some great stuff or will it be a private visit and respectful of covid protocols?
What will he do? What will he say? Will he release another enlightening interview? Will he bring water back into the Mawasco pipeline?
Will there be time for an old-fashioned New Year's Eve, even without too many VIPs and with pizza instead of lobster?
In the meantime, given the current times, I'm going to print the new masks: "Briatore is back", but this time with an exclamation point.

TAGS: briatore kenyastagione malindibillionaire malindi

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