Monday, August 24, 2009

Let L'Adventurosa Begin

I went to bed at 3:30 a.m. I was awakened later that morning by the sound of my hotel room phone. It was Giuseppi from the front desk calling to tell me that men had to come to my room to fix the air conditioning. It was about 11 a.m. anyway and it was really time to get up. Prior to the telephone ringing, I had a dream about being in the Sudan. It was quite a remarkable dream I feel to be prophetic in some ways for my future.

I made the mistake to tell Giuseppi that I could get dressed in fifteen minutes, but really I meant to say twenty-five. I took the twenty-five. I saw the men standing on my balcony. As I dashing in out of the bathroom with various things and at times with not much on, I thought they could not see me because there are sheer drapes that people cannot see through. Well, I was way wrong and guess what, they had an inadvertent peep show courtesy of me. No wonder they really lingered on my balcony. My mind screamed at one point - "Stupida, why don't you check those curtains to make sure they are what you think they are!" I did and found out otherwise. I guess I made their work day most gratifying.

I went back to Caffe Mazzara again to read another journal article this time about anxiety and fear. Some of you on Twitter and Facebook have read and responded to my questions surrounding this issue. The author of the 30 plus page document asserts that there is not empirical evidence that directly links what is happening in the world to the cause of anxiety in a person. While there are claims that say there are events or media coverage that are causal, because anxiety is subjective and has a lot of variables to it, one cannot necessarily say that events or troubles in the world are the contributing factors to anxiety. There was also a back and forth discussion about fear versus anxiety - fear being something that is based upon something that is tangible and/or real and anxiety based upon something that is perceived.

Prior to commencing my reading, I ordered some sort of spinach and cheese pastry thing with pear juice and water. I saw the same waiter from yesterday (the one who gave me the free Iced teas) coming in to work. He was all smiley seeing me. I smiled back, but I knew if I smiled too much, he might think I came back to see him - which is not the case. It is the best cafe around for a morning hang out and reading. He's nice so I was not going to be mean. At one point, when I got up to get something; I almost collided with him - which would have knocked all of the dishes off the tray he was carrying. I said molto apologies for this. I think he would have liked for a collision to have happened actually.

For those who travel to Europe and do it European style, you will notice that when seats are full, Europeans are not afraid of asking to share a table with you. Since I was commander of my table, I shared my table with two elderly people at two different times - a man who ordered penne with a ragu sauce and cheese and a lady who got the same thing. Now, I know I have a tendency to eat fast, but these two persons scarfed down their food like there was really no tomorrow. They sucked up that pasta like it was in a straw. I got napkins for both persons at the two different times they were sharing a table with me and even offered the woman some of my water. She said she did not like water and then proceeded to take her cup and offer it to another strange man who had coke on his table; asking him to give her some.

He poured a half of a cup and she said Grazie and drank it. The man was a table with his buddies and they inhaled their bowl of pasta and his was about half eaten. As she scooted out of the cafe, the man stood up and could not finish his food. I guess he was disgusted by what happened and then after standing for about 2-3 minutes he sat back down and got up again and then walked out. His posse followed him after about another 2-3 more minutes of wondering what was going on with their friend. I shook my head at this and smiled. I mean the woman did not stink; or I would have left the table. She was old and just asked for what she wanted.

I completed my reading and then went to the Gelateria - bad habit over here - and asked for this thing called Brioche con Gelato. It is a French Sweet Bread split and filled with your favorite gelato topped with whipped cream. People are killing this treat here. At the moment I was there, the gelato stand must have had about 30 people just standing around and eating it. The people eat the whole thing licking their fingers too! I could not resist and ordered one. It was all that and more! I finished a little over half and actually got full and ditched the rest in the garbage can.

By the way, I saw the Garbage men out today doing trash pick ups and I waved to a few; blowing kisses and thanking them for picking up all of this mess. I asked one of the hotel attendants about this problem and they immediately said Naples has and had the same problem. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "What can I do?" I notice that a lot of Europeans will say this when they don't have answer to something. We talked a bit about Il Presidente Silvio Berlusconi and the new thing that he may be a sex addict. Oh WOW! It seems to be the new thing when the man finally wakes up and realizes his stupid escapades cavorting around with an 18 year old or someone else has caused him to really look badly hurting his power and political image - then he cry sexual addiction. My heart bleeds for Silvio really.

Any way, I mentioned to you yesterday that Palermo is full of beautiful garden style parks; once known as The City of Gardens, these small, but artfully designed spaces are very nice places to walk, just sit, read and relax. Headed in the direction to one of the parks (can't remember the name), I did a lot of window shopping and even browsed inside a few places, but nothing has really struck my fancy in the clothing department as yet.

After crossing Sentimo Piazza, I walked past a group of old heads sitting around talking (actually they are gossiping, but they won't call it that). Out of respect, I will always say Buona sera. All said it back and one of them really said it. I kept it moving. Suddenly, I hear some sliding behind me. You know the sound when someone is dragging their feet. It was one of the old men following me. I said to myself, "Here we go." "Che Bella," said the feet dragging elderly male. "Aspetti" (Wait). I stopped and waited and he asked me my name and then asked where I was going.

Perhaps this is a mistake of mine, but with some people; particularly men of a certain age and height - I size them up. Since I was about 5 inches taller than him, I figured he won't be hard to manage if I quick have to Ich Ni Sun Chi him. I told him I was going to the gardens and he offered to lead the way. I figured that he might share some information about the park I did not know, but that did not happen. He wanted to know about my business - was I married, did I have kids, was I libera (free from relationships) and if I was da sola (alone). Also, he asks for the age too. What I usually do is throw the same questions right back first and of course he answered. He had 6 children, but they are all grown and have children. He claims he left his wife in Milano some years back.

I think there might be something with Italian men in Sicily and going to park benches. He led me to a park bench and then sat 3/4 of the way down leaving me with barely enough room to sit - which would mean I'd have to sit close to him. He then puts his arm along the side of the park bench so it appears he is staking out a territory; so when I sit down, his arm can easily drape around me. So to be a little sarcastic I sit down and then moved him over a bit with my body and then moves to the very end of the seat; which with my big butt does not give me much room, but I did it anyway.

I asked him questions about the park, Sicily, if he's ever been to the U.S. before and more. He said his brother lives in Astoria, Queens, but he's never been. He then asks me if I have a house here. I reply, "Non." I ask him if he has a house here, he says, "Si," and it is of course nearby. He asks me if I want to go, I reply, "Non." He then asks if I am staying at a hotel, and I reply, "Si,and you are not invited." I knew that was coming next.

The guy is 66 around the age of my father so this is all a big joke to me in my head, but meanwhile he's acting like a Big Dawg in a little dog body. After asking me to reconsider his invitations, I told him I had enough speaking to him and had to go. Suddenly, out of no where, he smiled. When he smiled I counted 3 front teeth and the rest gums! It was a like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock for me and then he did the unthinkable - LIKE A PSYCHO HE GUMMED MY FOREARM! I yelled, Hey and then elbowed strongly back into the bench and told him goodbye old man. He must have liked being flung back because he said, "piacere." I felt like I was in one of those British comedy scenes where there is a younger woman with a dirty old man.

Walking through the rest of the park, I replayed that scene in my head and shook my head again. Nearly completing my journey, I saw a young teen couple showing some serious public displays of affection - they were kissing in a most unusual way. I was intrigued at how aggressive the young boy was kissing the girl because it looked like it was a marathon show for kissing and she could not breathe - it was amusing actually and so mechanical. They would kiss facing one direction for about 10 seconds and then move around and face another direction. After doing this 3 times, I think they felt someone was staring at them - I was. Then they stopped and I burst out laughing. I said to myself, if they were in the UAE, they would have been taken to jail by now. Kissing in public with no holds barred is definitely a Western thing. However, I learned from two men visiting from Amsterdam that Sicily gives the highest fines for doing the you know what at night on the beach, but during the day; no fine. They were both alarmed and upset that Amsterdam wants to improve its moral image by working to close down the Red Light district - those windows. Perhaps they can get some protestors together from the U.S. to hold signs that say, "We want to keep gettin' freaky in Amsterdam." Do you think the Birthers want to help with this?

Nearing the end of the park, I spotted someone out of the right corner of my eye donning a green polo shirt. He was slowly casing me like a lion hunting for his prey. I walk slowly; so when I walked slower, he walked slower too, but he was not intimidating. Just as I was about to step onto the side walk and head towards the street I hear a melodic voice say, "Scusi (Excuse me), Signorina (Miss), Prego (please) would you like to go for a gelato? I would be pleased to take you."

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