Back in “il bel paese” (the beautiful country)

Back in “il bel paese” (the beautiful country)

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

After the usual long, trying, transatlantic trip scrunched into a seat made for a legless midget (but aided by a sleeping pil)l I spent four less than delightful hours in the Heathrow airport. At least I had plenty of time to change planes. On the flight back I have one hour between planes and the airport seems like the size of some cities. But why worry about the future. When I landed I was greeted by Paolo. The room that I’d arranged wasn’t available until Sunday but I stayed with Paolo for two nights. The first was at his little apartment in Bologna just outside the walls. It was just at the end of summer and was still hot in Bologna, probably above 90 degrees during the day so at night the windows needed to be open and there was a lot of street noise. I didn’t sleep well.

The next day I bought a SIM for my iPhone. It couldn’t have been simpler. After the SIM card was inserted into the phone the guy at the Vodafone store was telling me that I’d have to wait for 2 hours for it to take effect. While we were just finishing things up I showed him the Vodafone symbol on the phone which indicated it was already active. He was a bit astonished and said with enthusiasm “Vodafone e’ il migliore!” Vodafone is the best!

Paolo needed to work that morning so he drove me on his scooter (as distinct from a motorino) to the center of the city. An aside here. What we call a scooter comes in two flavors. The familiar vespa type they call a “motorino”. There’s a larger more powerful and luxurious one that they call a “scooter”. Paolo has the latter and it’s something of a death defying experience to ride with him. Anyway I walked around the city center and did some window shopping. I was really looking for a moka – a stove top expresso maker. I buy one on almost each trip to Italy. I use it while I’m here and then add it to my collection at home. I went to the Bialetti store where I bought last year’s moka but didn’t find anything that inspired me so I’ll keep looking. So I just walked around and window shopped until Paolo was ready to go. Then we went back to his place and traded in the scooter for his little VW SUV and headed to his house in the country near Imola – not too far from Bologna. The agenda was for a little “festa”, a party. I was “stanco morto” (dead tired) so I managed to take a nap. When I woke up it was almost 7:00 when the party was scheduled to start. I heard some music. At first I thought it was coming from the house that is next door and separated by little more than a tall hedge. The music sounded live. A woman was a rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun”. It was a pretty good. After I went downstairs I found that it was indeed live music and that some of the guests were the band. In all there were about 8 or 9 couples in addition to me, Paolo and Cinzia (his partner). All of the men and one of the women (the singer in fact) were amateur pilot friends of Paolo’s. So everyone else ate and drank while the band, consisting of lead electric guitar, electric bass, harmonica player and singer entertained. Cinzia had declared war on the “zanzare”, mosquitos, with chemical weapons prior to the party as well as burning some little coil thingies that give off smoke that heavily discourages those evil little insects. They abound throughout Italy and it was a relief that nobody became dinner for them. The instrumentalists were all quite good and it was a truly fine evening.

Isn’t it nice to have friends in another country?



2 Responses to “Back in “il bel paese” (the beautiful country)”

  1. Antonio Says:

    Dante, Canto XXXIII, Inferno: “il bel paese la’ dove ‘l si sona”

  2. Joe Says:

    Dante e’ un po’ difficile per me. Ma ho visto che forse e’ solo un “l” in “bel”


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