Thursday, September 15, 2011

La fiesta que tengo ....

Aha! At last the music we play is starting to have its fans. Italians are usually pretty conservative where music is concerned, so I have dedicated much time since we opened to compiling playlists of music - world, jAZZ, Gypsy, flamenco fusion, hiphop, triphop, African, folk, singer/songwriter along with Italian, Sicilian and American/British/Irish songs which might be more familiar to their ears. While I was away mio marito had one of the playlists on and the DJ was fascinated with Amparanoia's 'La Fiesta que tengo'. He copied it and played it during many nights throughout the summer, but also at his slot at the beach. Next year he wants to do a 'Pachamama on the Beach' for sundown ... I have longed for the hip strains of flamenco fusion that gracefully accompany the puesto del sol on the playas de Cadiz .... but little other than Deep House seems to get through here. So it is a cause for celebration that Amparanoia is leading the way to more openminded appreciation of interesting music. And not only that, but to have chosen a song which is about empowering women, and which is now becoming our themetune! .. not that the DJ was any the wiser ....

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.

Bichos in my bedroom ...

Been back a couple of weeks now. The heat still hasn’t let up. After the greeny fresh air of Ireland, the grit and dust and humidity is particularly hard to bear. The locals are feeling it too; people are starting to fray at the edges, tempers simmer, the elderly moan about whether or not to use the air conditioning, fa male, they conclude, and turn it off to lean listlessly in their doorways, hoping for a gust of wind to reach them.

It’s the perfect clime for bichos of all sorts, and Via Montecastro has seen its fair share lately. On our first night back I hear shuffling; the merest hint of a noise, like paper being crumpled quietly – and nearly step on the cockroach as I enter the bathroom. A 2am chase after the scarafaggio ensues. I manage to daze it with spray then almost finish it off with a good whack from a brrom – but it is still alive enough to slither into the dustpan. I keep the lid on it until I get outside and shake it over the side of the terrace. But is that still more shuffling I can hear when I go back to bed? Oh yes. As if that’s not bad enough, the following night I wake with one on my pillow – a mere 10cm from my sleeping bambino’s head. Its antennae quiver at me, its beady eyes ogle. It’s HUGE, and red brown, so I know it’ll be camouflaged once it hits the floor. It doesn’t move as I shift bambino into his cot; luckily he doesn’t wake up during the hunt. This time it is more difficult. Who wants to cover their pillow with cockroach spray, or bang it with a dust-ridden broom? Desperate times: I spray anyway and the loathsome creature scuttles away into some dark corner of the room. I get my glasses, turn on more lights, keeping one eye on bambino to see if he stirs. Tricky: you don’t want to get too close to the creature, but you do have to discover which dark recesses are hiding it. So I’m down on my hands and knees poking with the brush, spraying under chests of drawers. It flits from one hiding place to the next, immune to my deadly spray – I then have to open the window to avoid intoxicating myself and bambino. But I get it with the broom in the hallway. Gross. I sweep the squishy mess into the pan and out to the terrace with it quick as I can. How hard is to sleep after that? Any more friends in the dark?

My neighbour, always the optimist, tells us how she missed my walking the bambino up and down the street (merely a pleasant preliminary), before launching into the details of her recent encounters with rats. On our street. One came right across our rooftop and into her house, apparently. Another was discovered by a little boy, under her chair. Sounds like a joke; ‘Scusi, signora, there’s a rat under your chair!’ She wasn’t able to move, so mio suocero came to the rescue; one nifty clout with his foot finished it off.

Mosquitoes are in their element.

All in all, I’m just delighted to be back.