A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings


Was a quiet Sunday morning, blue sea rolling in from downtown Italy as we cruised up the east coast from Catania to Messina. Past St Maria de Teresa, past the horrible Taomaina and finally in Messina Centrale. Beaut snack mozzarella and cruudo in a beautiful warm bread and an americano. We are off to Cefalu on the Messina to Palermo Intercity. Italy certainly does train travel well. Grotty train but 150 kph at times and efficient ticketing etc. Why ever did NZ downgrade rail. I was reading ‘ The Rough Guide to NZ’ which made a point of NZ not having much of a rail system. img_20161015_104036
Our plans have changed. Rather than rent another car,and drive from Catania to Syracuse in the middle pf the night we booked an overnight stay at the Excelsior hotel in Catania and are training the rest of the journey.
Alison has woken up very grumpy. Apparently the room next door had very loud TV until 2.45 am and she has had little sleep. Me, I had a great sleep and am rearing to go.
Just a short little rave about Air B&Bs. On the whole we have found them to be great. Aside from Bari where the apartment was a cellar, the hot water arrangement meant a two minute shower, then a twenty minute wait while the water heated for another shower or to rinse off those bits you missed earlier. And the smell. But its the little things that annoy. Take this morning. Beautiful apartment close to shops, restaurants, transport but no plug for the sink so no washing of last nights meal so ee can have coffee and a fry up for breakfast, No utensils to cook with, no washing up powder, no d3tetgent for the washer so Alison mistakenly adds bleach because she cant read Italian and is to stubborn to ask me to read the label. So a load of washing that is now ruined. The shower looks great with jets up the wazzoo but only the miserly hand held gizmo will work. No soap, no shampoo, no teatowel, no dishcloth. And a hostess who now doesn’t speak or understand any English although yesterday she was fine. Then the Internet which was working fine last night wont go. Her response – phone YOUR internet provider. Pardon me Ms canta speeka da inglese – but its your bloody provider. Plugs for sinks have been a constant problem I think Italian housewives ( i cant imagine an Italian male going anywhere near a sink) just rinse them off under the tap. Toasters are a hit and miss affair and jugs have only appeared in those places that have many foreigners staying. Soap and shampoo are seldom present and most places have no basics like salt and pepper. On the positive side some have left enough ingredients to whip up a quick pasta dish when you arrive.
This morning I also realised how little some people know of the world. Most, when asking where you come from, seem bewildered as to where NZ is. Part of America? Part of Australia? When i tell them in Italian how long to takes to fly here (trenta ore) they mime swimming or driving. When I flap my wings they are incredulous. I shouldn’t be surprised. Our current hostess, a seemingly educated woman of the world, doesn’t even know where Malta is. She could probably hit it with a stonethrow on a good day. But then there is an arrogance about some people as well. She has just fronted up and seems bewildered why our Internet is not working. Now I am a little borderline on some IT things but I have a pretty good grasp on why Inherent is not working, She shows me her tinny little smartphone and the wireless signal. “ is good, is good , internet work fine , your machino is problem “. Hmmmm! Thank god when I ask her to go to her browser and look up something she gets the little dinosaur and YOU ARE OFFLINE sign. So then its “yoyse been pkayng with switch?…?.. you broke?…”. I had actually rebooted the router as this is sometimes the problem with these dreadful cheap D-Link routers but all the lights looked right. The problem was elsewhere. Same with the shower which she swore was alright when she last used it . Yeah right! The apartment is so unused that the freezer has mould growing in it. She then showed me the deep gash on her hand she had inflicted on herself whilst trying to turn on said shower, and, before she got a man to unfreeze the jammed valve. She then starts to forget her English and gets very bossy. Time to remind her who is paying the bills. At least they all front up to fix the problems. Eventually. Unless its between 1300 and 1600 hrs. Or a Sunday.


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