A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

At Sea


They cruise slowly down via JFK in their black Alfa Romeo Guiletta with a bold red stripe along both sides. Black Ray Bans, arms slouched outside lowered windows, caps pulled down to cover their eyes. The carbineri. Apparently a national joke. I say ciao and the nearest one smiles and answers me with the appropriate reply. I had asked one of them at a railway station where to validate my ticket and found him to be polite and helpful and skilled with English despite being accompanied by two machine gun wielding military types.
I have been for my first swim in The Adriatic sea ( I wont count dipping my toes in a canal in Venice. Water temperature at 24C and despite all the dire warning signs did not have to pay anything. I thi k the season has ended and the summer scam of extorting € off swimmers and sunbathers is over. A few souls were in the water but mostly people packing up deckchairs and tearn g down aquatic structures. Intend to repeat this as much as I can. Brings to mind memories of Salvo Montalbano going for a swim early morning. I want to do the Ionian and Mediterranean seas before my trip is over.
I have noticed the Italians fascination with dogs. They walk them morning and night and seem enchanted by them. Various opinionated writers have said they treat them cruelly, leave them outside, abandon them on a whimsy, whereas others say they are part of the family. I tend to favour the latter. They ride on their owners bikes or scooters and even handbags.
In smaller places such as Pescara it is much harder to be understood , even in Italian. I have found the two local butchers by far the worst. They don’t understand 500gms and quantities of sausages and we have to resort to finger counting even when I have said “otto” and after counting off eight fingers they utter “ahhh otto”. We also had difficulty in a chemist shop trying to purchase some paracetemol. I didn’t have the Italian word for it but saw a package with Paracetemolo on it and pointed. I think the lady behind the counter had no professional qualifications as another chemist shop person knew exactly what we wanted. Twice the price.
I have taken to reading Italian papers when I can. Note that the cruise ship wrecking a marina and sinking a number of boats and doing €250,000 worth of damage didn’t seem to make it into the NZ news obsessed with Auckland house prices and Labours fall in the polls. However, Italy didn’t seem to notice that Hilary Clinton has pneumonia but a strange case of a 67 old man being let off a charge of masturbating in public has led to Italy saying masturbating in public is OK as long as its not in view of a minor. Go figure.
Pescara is a small town/city that is the result of two fishing villages joining together. It’s a curious mix of the old and new. The main piazza is very Americanized and restaurants (for the first time in my Italian travels) offer Eggs Benedict, waffles, qnd muesli rather than the ubiquitous pastry. We have an upstairs apartment in a long cul de sac and are really enjoying the street life. Short walk to the beach and to the local shops and about 15 minutes to the railway station as we start our journey further south and to the other coast. Our next stop host will not be there when we arrive but his non English speaking father is to pick us up at the station. Should be interesting.


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