When you get off the train in Rimini on the Adriatic Coast, you are met with the quaint sights of scooters and taxis, exactly what you expected from a visit to a small Italian town. Maybe you are there to sunbathe with the locals in an area relatively devoid of foreigners. Perhaps you’re on your way up to the tiny republic of San Marino. But I’m sure you’d never expect a surreal encounter with Ali G at the Doner Kebap shop about 200 yards to the right when exiting the station.
Having become addicted in Italy to Doners my friend Jazelle and I decided to stop in to this little, nondescript shop to eat. We asked for two and found that, unlike every other Doner shop in Italy, apparently here holding up two fingers and pointing to a picture of a kebap was an unintelligible communication. The small man behind the counter asked us to wait, and went into the back room. He reappeared soon after, then followed by an extremely tall, thin man in a white mesh tank top, nylon shorts, clear goggles, and a skull-hugging spandex wave cap on his head who had clearly just been awoken.
If anyone is familiar with Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G character I can assure you that multiple times I looked around me for hidden cameras to see if this was really happening. There was never an individual who looked more like Ali G, and I’m almost positive Ali G didn’t live in the back of a Doner Kebap shop.
He sleepily asked the workers what the problem was, they directed him toward us, and, seeing us, suddenly perked up and in greeted us in slimy, rico-suave English. I couldn’t tell you most of what he said, only that I was in shock at what I was seeing.
He relayed our order and approached my friend and I, with every sentence cozying closer and closer, telling us how he was raised in New York and had lived all over the world, how he loved our Californian accents, and how he was DJing a party on the beach that night and that we should both show up and see where things went. He touched the flower that I’d earlier put behind my ear (I was frozen, still in total shock and internally screaming hysterically with laughter) and leaned in to me, speaking more and more softly and apparently having no clue how ridiculous he looked or how hilarious he was being to me. My friend just kept looking at me confused, as if to say, “Why are you still standing there?!?” Because things like this only happen once in a lifetime, Jazelle, and there is no price you can pay to have something that should be in a movie happen to you unexpectedly in real life!
We informed him that, regrettably, we would not be able to attend his rave (I’m assuming it was a rave by the outfit and sudden ecstasy-induced-like physical advances,) and took our Doners to go. He appeared offended, became cold, and asked why we had “to be like that.” Because, sir. Just because.
I often wonder if he’s still there or if anyone’s had a similar experience (I’d love to hear it!!) Maybe it’s not one of those 101 things we should never do. Maybe it’s one of those 101 things we could never have imagined could ever happen… and did… and can’t believe to this day!