Thursday, September 15, 2011

August at the restaurant

August was a good month for Pachamama. We have a nice returning clientele among the seafarers: captains of chartered yachts and caiques come up to us for the third summer running; Milazzese who have gone to live in the north of Italy or other parts of Europe come to dine. Many compliments this year, not one complaint. Wish I had been around to hear some of that! At last, our travaglio bears fruit. It is fun to see lots of people enjoying their cocktails to the sounds of the DJ you have hired, the river of suntanned bodies doing their summertime thing on the road outside, nights drift on until 4 or 5am when the mint from the last mojito is thrown away and couple straggle off into the nascent eastern dawn.

The polizia called once to deliver a hefty fine: it was 1.20am and the DJ was still playing. Indoors, it must be emphasized, since the four other locali in the neighbourhood had their live music on outdoors. But the police do not appear to differentiate between inside and out. Music must stop at midnight, and that’s that. We even risk having our music licence taken from us, they threaten, when mio marito points out that the music cannot be heard outside, so cannot be annoying the neighbours. The following week the music cut-off point is moved to 1am. Interesting. We appeal the fine, which amounts to something like three days’ work, at the weekend … But are simply told that we are fortunate our licence will not be removed since we were so prompt in the payment of the fine …

Now that the police have been doing the rounds of the neighbourhood doling out fines for cars parked in the borgo without the Residents’ Pass (all our staff get fined – they cannot get the Pass and there is little available parking anywhere near), and free parking in the centre has been stripped and parking meters set up all over town while traffic wardens swarm the streets – this freehanded fining can be understood: the Comune needs to make money, so what better way to do it than at the hands (pocket) of its citizens. Park and Ride? Multistorey carkparking? No such sensible solution. Nope. A fine is always a handier way out for the powers-that-be in Sicily.

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