Thursday, September 11, 2014


Things work a bit differently here.  We reserved a big car (well, big for here; it would probably be eaten by a suburban back home) and when we go to spot # 40 this is what we find.  
The tiniest one.  A car so miniscule you don't so much get in it as put it on.  Like a jacket.  Fortunately our key beeped open the big car next door.  Wrong spot number, but we didn't ask any questions, we just jumped in and zoomed off.  So far so good.

Biking thru the city, trying to find a way out - why are all the streets one way?  And not our way? we ride past a group of old people talking in the middle of a parking lot, the men leaning on bikes, a lady standing next to her car.  Thru sign language and our pidgin Italian we get that we ride up the walls, then down, then make several loops (sign language has its limitations) and we're out.  We hope.

One of the group, an older lady with chestnut brown hair and matching eyebrows has left her car, door open and engine off, blocking a lane in the parking lot.   When a man pulls up behind and honks - once - she waves and says "Si, Si! Ha ragione!" which means "Yes, you're right!"  And she gets back in her car - slowly, remember she's old - and trundles off.  No festival of honking, no screaming, no recrimination.  I can't imagine that happening in the Farmers' Market parking lot in Danville, and it's a lot more crowded here.

We have a washing machine in our apartment, but nobody has a dryer.  I think they must be illegal - it is illegal here to heat your house, except for November thru April, and even then only to 20 degrees.  Celsius, not Fahrenheit - thank goodness.  I wonder - do they have heat police?  We do, however, have lovely air conditioning.  Go figure.

So back to the washer: I look and look for laundry soap, and I finally find a bottle that has a picture of clothes on it.  Yay!  I wash a load - looks pretty good.  Then I start thinking...I found that bottle with the housecleaning supplies.  I open it - sniff - yup.  Bleach.  Oops.  I washed all our clothes with bleach.  But they look okay, and eventually I find a store that sells all kinds of soap, including laundry soap - IperSoap.

One evening as a chatting couple stroll past our table at an outdoor restaurant, somebody in our party says "Hey, I can understand them!"   "Yeah," Wally says.  "They're speaking English."

Sitting at another outdoor cafe (there are lots, and most of them are pretty good) the pigeons are so aggressive they knock over the wineglass of the woman sitting next to us trying to get to her peanuts and potato chips.  We flap them away, and hang on to our peanuts and potato chips.  Altho you should always be suspicious of a potato chip that bends...  As we are sitting and sipping, two people with red flags and Notte di Lucca tee-shirts begin to direct runners - and walkers - to turn the corner by our table.  At first a trickle, then a stream, then a torrent of runners and walkers go by, some in team shirts, some in full race spandex, some in what look like their jammies.  
It's a once a year charity run.  Tourists with strollers think they're being told to turn too, and the narrow street is soon choked with bicycles and strollers and runners, and we laugh and say"This can't get any denser!" and then a car comes.  From the opposite direction.  It gets denser.  But no yelling, no irritation.  I guess if you live in a town with this many tourists you either learn to live with it or you move.  

Part of the genius of Italy is blending the old

with the new. 
 We fit right in.

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