A Little Bit of Me

Jottings and Writing, miscellanous misgivings

Venting my spleen

Beautiful apartment but dodgy Italian infrstructure rears its ugly head. Point one, I have documented the hot water situation. This morning, following the instructions on the wall, I could not get any hot water. Finally, after an hour of resetting everything, trying on vain to find the pilot light, I thress the instructions to the wind and followed my instincts. Hey presto! Instant hot water.
Next there is a sign in the bathroom DO NOT PUT ANYTHING DOWN THE TOILET. THIS HOUSE HAS A SEPTIC TANK WHICH MAY BACK UP. Now my limited understanding is that a septic tank will only back up if its not wmptied occassionally. I still have visions of my good friend Gordon up to his elb9ws in excrement after emptying his. AndbI am not going to deposit shitty toilet oaper in the wee bin to remind me what I have eaten last night. Cant see any obvious companies doing septic tank cleanouts and why a septic tank less than 5km from the capital of Italy in a built up suburban area. The house is relatively modern.
Then Alison turns on a switch and there is a loud buzzing noise sounding ominously like a short circuit. Another sign warns us not to run more than three electrical devices at the same time and that Italian households have a daily limit on tbe power they can consumme. This, in a country which has the highest uptake of solar power in the wo4ld.
And, door and gate locks – the bane of my life. Italians have this complicated three lock system which only seehs to deter the homeowner. Three to the left and then back one or two, or thre then righ5, left, right. We broke and jammed ( I should say I broke and jammed) three keys and were given numerous tutorials so as not to break, jam keys. Cant see why the old ,put key in lock, 5urn righ5, door unlocks cant work.
A huge storm in Mondello in the past few days. The bay is usually like glass and the colorful fishing boats bob up and down at their moorings. Much thunder and lightbning and then a tremendous downpour of rain which floods the streets. No water conservation here. Havent seen a water tank and when it rains you could fill a 3000 litre tank easily. Then the waves arrive in a strong (30-40 knot) NNW wind. Breakers crashing over the promenade, fishing boats bashing into each other, objects flying through the air. A day later it is only starting to die down but once the sun goes down you know that winter is fast approaching, although, I couldnt stay out on the balcony midafternoon as the sun was so hot.
We have a d3cent TV here so I have been indulging myself. Italian TV is crappier (if possible ) than NZ TV. Long out-of-date american crime shows, ancient american, french movies badly dubbed, endless shopping channels, really bad news channels which seem to be obssessed with immigration, earthquakes 9ten live feed cuts in one half hour segment and all showi g the same shot of a church crumbling), and advertising worse than any I have seen in any country. There are some gems though. I caught Vera Cruz with Burt Lancaster and Gary Cooper, I caught a Scandinav8an comedy film which had many of the actors from a miniserues I watched called Jordskott, which was interesting and a car show which al5hough having the same format for each hour segment; man buys car; man shows all the defects in car; man takes car to mechanic friend; mechanic friend fixes car; man flogs off car at a profit or not. What is different is the show goes into a lot of technical stuff like how to remove bearings, how to do a valve gri d, how yo rem9ve rust, how to bleed brakes, how to replace a softtop, how to install an exhaust system – stuff that appeals to me rather than Jeremy and Co doing spinouts and abusing johnny foreigner. Also some d3cent music shows. We eat hed Mark Knoefler doing a show in London which I hadnt seen befoe and a documentary on Bobby Rush (dubbed in Italian)
I have a rabbit to cook tonight so am off to the village to get something to go with it. €14 -complete with head and eyes which I probably won,t use. Something Sicilian, I think.
Alison has today planned out for our last day here. We are going to visit Palermo. First to explore the markets, secondly so I can have some famous Sicilian street food, and lastly fix up a glitch with the incredibly cheap but devious Ryanair. We found out last night that we must have printed boarding passes to get onboard our Ryanair flight to Rome or will incur a €45 fine for each of us. We had been warned that this was a Ryanair trick to provide cheap fares then load them up with fiddly things
Ike this. Alisons attempts’ with Livechat only got us to the point where their wonderful new app would suffice but we have discovered this only applies to EU members. We have to print out a boarding pass and as we don’t travel around with a printer, and, Internet cafes with printers we can connect to are rare in Sicily we are hoping, by some miracle that Palermo will provide us with a solution.
The markets are a huge disappointment. Selling the same tat as you get on most beachfronts in Italy. The food stalls are better but as our home cooking days draw to a close not much to see. And the smells and rubbish are really offputting. Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor both say the Old Market is dead and gone and these are the places to be but I am increasingly questioning who these peoole write for. The Old Market has some cool bric a brac and the food is much more pleasantly presented.
Then, my next disappointment. I find my beef spleen in a bun but only served with lemon. Its not nice but I could see how with fried onion, cheese and lemon it could grow on me. A big thumbs down.
Then, we find a hotel who agree to print our boarding passes and presto , problem solved.
Palermo, a mixed bag. The city itself is dominated by Mafia built apartment blocks which are in stark contrast to those in Mondello which are characterised by the Art Nouvea villas.
The Art Nouveau villas characterize the architecture of the place, making it an important landmark in the history of international modernism . These buildings (many by the famous architect Ernesto Basile) are among the best examples of Art Nouveau in Italy and Europe.
Tomorrow all paths lead to Rome if Ryanair doesn’t spring another little Irish surprise and if the earthquakes don’t crack the runway in Rome or if …………….img_20161027_150941


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