Friday, December 12, 2014

Street renaming - I object Your honourables!

Via del Duomo Antico no more

A trumpet tune brought me to my balcony this morning. This scene greeted me: a little gathering of Milazzo notables (male) including the mayor and his driver, a few lawyer types, and one distinguished-looking lady, most of them around the 60s mark. A priest, all dressed up in festive gowns officiated at the ceremony, reading from a book that definitely was not the Bible.

I strained to hear what they were saying but cars hooting at the photographers capturing the scene (from the middle of a dangerous intersection) impaired my hearing.

A sect? I thought to myself. Ever since I lived in Arezzo and discovered Propaganda Due head Licio Gelli was one of my neighbours, I've been on the lookout for masonic activities; apparently Italy is full of them (and you thought Dan Brown made it all up? Ha!)

But no, they were simply renaming the street Via Colonello del Bosco - some random Bourbon guy whose army the Garibaldini defeated in Milazzo in July 1960, thus ending the reign of the Bourbons in Sicily.

It would have been nice to know that Pachamama's address has changed, especially since the council also decided to change the street numbers a few months back causing much confusion (I woke up one day to a number 20 stuck on my pillar).

For me, the road will always be Via del Duomo Antico, which, apart from sounding so beautiful, is much more fitting. After all, this road in the historic quarter leads to the Old Cathedral in the Castle Fort.

You can read here what Francesco Atanasio says so well on the subject (basically that Colonello del Bosco was a loser and Milazzo's real hero is Luigi Rizzo who won WW1 for the Italians. Milazzo has a few dodgy street names and competent people need to be employed in offices of such cultural import).


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oh no ... sirocco again

Oh no ... it's sirocco again... 

Sirocco, if you haven’t experienced it, is like spending an entire day on the London Underground. You feel irritable, headachy, sweaty and dirty, have a stuffy nose and dusty clothes.

I was at the fruttivendolo this morning, popping veg from the outdoor stalls into my bag. "I hate sirocco," the grocer said. "And you're Sicilian!" I said. "In Ireland we don't get this wind. It drives me CRAZY." He said, "It's bad news for my vegetables. I can't leave them untended outside because they get covered in black, dusty sand." He stopped, as I hesitated, my hand hovering over some luscious green beans. 

That's it: sirocco gets EVERYWHERE. You can't hang your washing outside, unless you want dusty dried clothes. I left a window open by mistake last time and found my piano - my most prized possession - with little piles of sooty sand in the corners. And you need to be careful how you clean it off because sirocco dust scratches. 

Soon, it will rain, and we'll all be driving sand-smeared cars and wondering whether it is safe to clean the sand-streaked windows at home. Because the other thing about sirocco is that it lasts for days. Bringing with it the chemical stink from the refinery across Milazzo bay. Insidious, deadly, foul.