|Thursday morning market in Camucia|
We've been in Italy for more than two weeks now and the Italian way of doing things is starting to feel a little more comfortable to us. We left the big city of Rome behind and are now house sitting in the small town of Camucia. Life is at a different pace here and we've had to make some adjustments. For instance, we must remember that the shops close about noon on Saturday and all day on Sunday. We can walk through town on Sunday afternoon and rarely encounter anyone. Even during the week advance planning is necessary as most businesses are closed from about 1:00 - 4:00 every afternoon for the common Mediterranean lunch break. It seems simple enough, but invariably we'll be out and about and want to make a quick stop somewhere to pick up something but the timing just isn't right.
We've all heard about driving in Italy - and it is absolutely true, be careful! Understanding the rules is a challenge. For example, where and under what circumstances it is okay to park seems like it should be straight forward. A posted sign with a red circle and a red slash through it is supposed to mean no parking. Well, maybe. We're not sure because everyone parks everywhere. But we just know if we park there we'll get a ticket! Speed limits are only obeyed if the police are present and tail gating is a common way of driving (that's not so unlike California!). Also, pedestrian cross walks are fun...it's like you have to make eye contact, stare down the driver, and step off the curb or else they will just keep coming.
Another difference for us is doing laundry. Most homes here have washing machines but owning a dryer is quite rare. Laundry is done on sunny days and hung out to dry. (We wonder what you do during a rainy spell?) We're fortunate that our house here has a dryer but we know our future accommodations in Italy will not. Let's hope for sunshine!
Guys take note, shopping seems to be pretty much done by the woman of the house. The routine, as we've come to understand it, is that the men go shopping with their wives at the weekly market downtown, but that's where the shopping part ends for the guys. The women do the shopping and the men gather together at the front of the market and talk, have a cigarette, and talk some more. Shopping is a major social event in Camucia as we suspect it is in other small towns across Italy. Italians are friendly people and seem to know everyone else they encounter. We think most of Thursday morning is devoted to this outing. It makes us wish we spoke Italian.
Speaking of speaking Italian, we have yet to get the buon giorno (good morning) and buono sera (good evening) thing down. It seems that no one uses good afternoon, they just jump from the morning greeting to the evening greeting at some point in the afternoon only known to themselves. Whatever we say, it never seems to be correct for the moment. We guess it's like the shrug...you have to be born here to understand and appreciate all its nuances. Fortunately, saying "ciao" is simple and always appropriate. We think...