Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Kindness Of Strangers

Youd think I could at least take a look at a map, before setting off on another day's adventures. But thats me, happy-go-lucky me. I can spend the months beforehand daydreaming with books and google of far-off places but once there, I just kick back on my instinct and see where it gets me. I went to Agrigento today, in the south of Sicily, arrived without knowing a thing, and thats where the kindness of strangers makes itself abundant. With my Beginners Level 2 Italian and their fast Italian, we make each other understand, and then the bus driver doesnt want my money, and suddenly Im in the Valley of Temples.

In the mid-30s heat, I stagger around kilometres of 2,500 year old temples and rocks, dousing myself in aqua minerale frizzante, never feeling closer to my hero Meursault, and in wonder, both at how beautiful and old it is, (um...did you miss that? Two thousand five hundred years old. I cant remember what I did yesterday), and just how the hell they did it. Why couldnt they just chill out with olives and oranges? Ah, because of the gods. I listen to the how, the why, the who, and the sacrifies they made, and as I conjure up images of goats roasting into the clear blue sky for the appeasement of the gods, I think its time to appease my tummy, and head back into the centre.

Its the siesta hour, and nothing is working (neither shops, cafes or my debit card) and I stumble upon a tiny panicceria and buy the most delicious arancino and pizza for nothing at all, and feast under the incredible midday sun.

Here I am back in Palermo, and I really like it here, the chaos, the dust, the all. Theres a certain Palermo personality who is in love with me, begging me to stay, declaring his love with words and letters, but its always the way, never who you want. Tomorrow, Milano, and meeting my dear Ruth. The adventure sans map continues.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Arrived in Palermo yesterday afternoon, and you know youre back in the big city. Its huge, traffic is crazy, the streets are dusty and Ive already had a coffee with the Mafia. But more on that with more time.

Today I spent the day in Cefalu, a gorgeous old town 45 minutes east of Palermo with a stunning beach. It was one of those blissful moments that lasted all day, swimming in the refreshing cool sea, the water crystal clear and blue, baking on the scorching sand, surrounded by hundreds of beautiful Italians and their cherub children. Lunch of carpaccio of all different kinds of fish, more cold beer, and then a big fat gelato, before another dip in the ocean. Bliss.