Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hot hot summer (10)

Mio marito is away with his skipper friend for a few days on the boat he is taking from Naples to Sardegna. Mio marito and their friends make up the crew. A boys-only holidays. The Peter Pan boat, I christened it, with all these approaching 40 men not wanting to be tied down to jobs and partners. Mio marito will have a good moan, a good laugh, and hopefully come back nice and relaxed. The girlfriend of one of the other friends came in to the locale last night, complaining about his going off and leaving her, and how she would need a girls holiday in Tunisia after this. I noticed that people spoke more to me last night since my husband wasn’t there. It will be interesting to see how these few days go without him.

Il barman managed to annoy everyone last night. Since the two waitresses were busy sorting out a table of 16, I took other orders and asked il barman to take up a few glasses of champagne and wine to various tables, since if he rang his bell at the bar, none of us would be free to come down. I got a dirty look and reluctant compliance. The coffee machine ran out of water and when the waitresses asked him to make coffees for their tables, he stayed in position outside on the wall where he was flirting with the waitress for the bar next door, telling them to add more water. Even though neither of them knew how it was done. The coffee machine is part of his job… A friend told me later she had waited for 15 minutes for her mojito because he had been outside flirting. The waitress from next door came in with her usual little round of shots of vodka, the little game for the summer; where’s your husband, she cooed, cos I’ve brought him a shot. Il barman probably drank it instead. They counted to three and slammed them back. And he left without emptying the bin behind the bar. So this is how he intends to be in the absence of mio marito. My friend did laugh at how he preens himself in front of the mirror opposite though, à la James Dean.

My customers tell me there are less tourists this year because the sewage treatment plant has broken down so the sewage is spilling into the sea openly and no one wants to swim there. The plant needed a new system since the one they had was so old they needed to put in a whole new system; but the company involved in supplying the new one was connected to the mafia and is now under investigation. The same with the bike path and palm trees along the seafront … mafia involved in that so there is now an investigation into them. Their money will come from dubious means. Also the rubbish problem – the company who run it had to give money to the mafia and so had none left to pay the workers so the workers went on strike and the company doubled the price of rubbish taxes. The locals refused to pay (since the rubbish is only collected sporadically) and the workers didn’t get their money and the rubbish tips piled higher and higher … can you imagine the rubbish smouldering away under the Sicilian summer sun? The terrible smell from the skips across the road from us hhas invaded our bar a couple of times this summer already. I want to ring the sindaco (mayor) and get some action on recycling and rubbish collection, it is SO uncivilised here. These customers reckoned the biggest problem was Berlusconi being a fool, a kind of jester figure. The main problem, they said, is that the Italian wants to be seen as a sbruffone, a joker, this is the public image they aspire to and so they admire Berlsconi, he messes up but they relate to his jestings. He made a whole publicity campaign out of the terrible earthquake in Aquila promising to put up the homeless in his house. Which one? The villa on Sardegna with the orgies? He also said he would pay the mortgages of the houses that toppled. But it turns out he will pay this year but next year they will have to pay again … not fair.

A friendly table of five got chatting and asked me how come I was here and what I had done before. It turned out one of the girls was a pianist too and had studied languages and did some translating and teaching. So we had a great chat before the end of the night. Hope to see more of her. Feel like there are some friends to be made. Also an uncle of one of our friends showed up with his lady of the moment, a great traveller herself. ‘Don’t stay here’ she said, ‘international people can never stay here long.’ ‘You’re learning your job,’ said the uncle, smiling, when I asked them, ‘Tutto a posto?’ (everything OK?)


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