Archive for August, 2016
Wah wha wha — wha wha wha (sounds of brakes schreeching. Duomo, lines waiting to see another big building. Ambulance. Polizia? Someone must have fainted. Noone leaves the line. Been waiting for three (3) hours. Worse than Vodofone.
Soooo. Rissoto tonight. Well it worked out. (Another recipe to follow that does not involve stock, butter, or decent parmaggio). Arabic music wafting over the street and English, American, Greek, Arabic, Chineze, Japonese sounds from the street.
And it rained. And there was thunder. And we got lost. For an hour. Going around in circles. Seeing the same spruikers over and over again. Even they started being bored seeing the same bedraggled touristi. At least the temperature has fallen. We were going to explore the city over the river and book a tour through Palazzo Davanzati. Very hot and sticky and we stopped at a weird little café that didn’t do table service and you made up your panni order and signed a little note with your name on it and then delivered to the owner who, after it was made up, called your name and you collected it. Signs outside asked you to talk quietly in consideration of the neighbouring apartment dwellers.
I must say that the day got very weary as the tourists flocked in and you could barely move.
Bucket list 2. Gelato. Mmmmmm!!.
Bucket list three will have to wait. A new lighweight jacket which is currently going at about €400-500. Probably one of those long term (think mortgage, car, bike, boat sale) just for a bloody Italian jacket.
Bucket list 4 tomorrow. Bistecca Florentino. I have managed to locate one source that does €4 per 100 gms which beats €40-60 at more high end joints. “and will sir have that with fries”.
A few years ago Alison and I stayed in New Orleans for a couple of weeks. My initial I impression of Florence, Italy really reminds me of that time. Cultural richness amongst what would be described as decadence. Via Guelfa, 27 Int. 1, Firenze, Toscana 50129, Italy. My new address for 5 days. A crumbling down apartment in historic Central Florence. Steep entrance stairs, recalcitrant door, tiny but funky kitchen, functional bathroom and lots and lots of ambience. Constant street noise and conversation. I have cooked my first Italian meal on native soil and it was a beaut. Pasta Graemo (recipe to follow). I am reluctant to speak italian but I can understand most of whats being said. Horrible plan ride from Singapore with the obligatory in front passenger inclining her seat 5 minutes into the 13 hour flight forcing me to scrunch into an embryonic ball.
Jetlag finally caught up last night and I crashed to a 12 hour sleep. Up and about at market centrali and I am able to place the first tick on ,y bucket list. Arancini (Inspector Montalbano loves them) and coffee. Incredible array of goods and we have stocked up on lemoncella (Alison drank a large glass before she realised it was 30% proof, si I have few hours to cat h up on writing.
Delighted later in the day when (sensitive readers move to next sentence) I am in the process of purchasing a snakeskin belt and whilst bartering the vendor down €5 he proclaims “ ahhh parlo Italiano”. Almost worth the exhborant price. Only later to be chagrined when I am aggressively moved on while trying to photograph an Italian military vehicle and half a dozen machinegun toting soldiers.
Hawker breakfast at Chinghai Village. Nasi Lemak. Mutton figures largely with mutton biryani a favourite. Mon jiang kueh (crushed peanuts). Everything g tastes of fish , deep fried anchovies, shrimp etc. Hard for a confirmed fish hater but I netter get used to it as Italy, particularly Sicily, is fish mad.
Supposed to be a clean country and it is but look closely and the same miscreants flick cigarette butts, let loose plastic bags, it on the ground (despite heavy fines for doing so). One innovation that grabbed me was the plastic bag with a straw mainly found in hawker stalls to carry coffee, tea, coconut drink of any liquid. Singapore had a huge plastic bag problem and this is supposed to relieve it as the bag with a straw is reusable. It originated from the practice of toting tea, coffee in condensed milk cans attached to the arm by raffia ties. Neat, and I am busting to try one.
What the official unemployment rate of 1.9% says about official record keeping is beyond me. It seems the streets are full of men wandering around doing nothing. Beggars are euphemistically called touters and perhaps they are recorded as employed. There must be a huge demand for hand wipes though I only saw one sale in two days.
Taxi ride. So all is not rosy in paradise. Basic problems with infrastructure and government mantra of GROWTH. Current population of 5.something million expecting 6+ million in the next few years. An Auckland scenario at rush time.
And in breaking news the Singaporean government is disconnecting all its IT from the internet fearing a cyberattack after Chinas South Seas brainrush.
What gets me beside the ove4crowding, the heat, the humidity, is everyone walking or sitting around interviewing their phones. I have not seen it as bad as this. Shouldergazing reveals they are mostly playing games (pokeman). Whole families eating and all on their phones.
Silver Lounge Swissair, Alliance partner. A preflight toilet visit and a bewildering sign. “Watch your step – squatting toilet”. I open the door –
Take off from Singapore tonight and fly to Florence via Zurich. Will keep updates on the way. This blog will be more of personal reflection rather than guidebook stuff. Go to my Facebook page for the more day to day stuff.
From the co.d of Du edin to the summer of Singapore. We ha e started our Italian holiday.