Monday, December 28, 2009

Rain - divas - sunken ships with dangerous waste 13/09/09

13 September 2009

Torrential rain and thunder and lightning. That is how the autumn introduces itself in Sicily. It started suddenly last night and guests were on the terrazza. I was downstairs and didn’t even notice. I always seem to miss the drama! The cameriere and mio marito moved the chairs and tables and the cameriera dealt with getting people inside while I was on the till and dealing with people downstairs.

Il barman annoyed just about everybody last night. He has no social manners. All he is good for is simpering and kissing around the girls who come. He is probably trying to make us feel that he is indispensable because they come for him …. Mio marito says he always hears him telling people, no, fortunately this is not my real job, I work in the marina (he gets to wear a uniform). He loves saying that. When the torrential rain came down he was off in the bar next door with our glass of wine and the pasta cooked by the lady cook there who is now flirting with him … He doesn’t know a thing about wine, he had told me. But when I poured myself the glass of wine for the risotto, he said give me some too. So I did, a typical Italian measure. But far from a basic ‘thanks’, he immediately opened the fridge and filled up the glass. I should have said, ‘oh, excuse me, did I not give you enough?’ Mio marito made a few sharp comments later. ‘So where were you when it poured? Next door? Oh yeah, I forgot, he doesn’t have a terrazza so you wouldn’t have had to do anything there.’

I wonder with all the discounts do we actually make any money. I think I could be as rude as I like all during the table service but then give a discount and people would come back … that is how it is here. The 3 guys who came and sat at table 1 downstairs wanted panini so I explained the tapas were the wonderful alternative and they took them and were a bit concerned but I said you can ask for more if you particularly liked something. So later I saw them licking the plate of the salsa brava and joked that they liked it and asked about the tapas - they said erano pocchi, they were very small. I said of course, you were afraid to order them and asked for a portion for one person. You can get it for three people and pay three times the price, I thought. In fact we must do that, insist on two portions if they are 3 people. Of course it will seem little. Anyway they enjoyed calamari and couscous and then said ‘trataci bene’ (treat us well) for the conto. So I gave a little discount but that wasn’t enough, they wanted the amaro too (which we offer automatically to big tables or people who have had a large meal, or regulars – these guys didn’t tick any of those boxes and were just trying it on). Was there a Spanish amaro they enquired? I joked, but I gave you a sconto. They started to get angry almost! Looking at each other, ah she says she gave us the sconto. They didn’t get my humour. So I had to insist, please, what amaro would you like! They said they would come back if we treated them well. When could they see me again they asked. Il barman, as usual, pricked up his ears.

Today the rain is reminding me of home. The smell your clothes get, and the smell of earth outside. Fabulous. How I longed for this. Have put on jeans first time since May. And trainers.

A ship has been found under the sea off Calabria, with dangerous waste on board. It has come out that in the 90s and 80s the mafia made deals with the waste disposal companies to get money from them, so that instead of dealing with the waste they would sink the ships. All the dangerous carcigenous waste etc. How awful, it could explode and pollute the waters, the fish, and us. Who know how many ships there are. I said, we need to get out of here. This is a forgotten country. Dirty and a health hazard. Mio marito agreed, let’s get out of here, he says. It is awful for me to have come back to this rubbish. Nothing has changed in fact it seems worse, he says. It is third world here. It is so frustrating. A forgotten land. Abandoned, not connected to the outside world at all. You can only stay here if you are so ignorant you don’t care or just not interested. Italy was never a real democracy, said mio marito, it was just a shambles of a monarchy and then a republic that didn’t work well either and now it is a dictatorship in disguise. Berlusconi’s latest gaffe – his orgies at his villa in Sardegna with under age models and other European politicians. Pretty depressing.


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