Sunday, July 31, 2011

Too Slow in the Slow Country

Italy is famous for being the country that invented Slow Food.
Foreigners consider it a wonderful destination because life seems to slow down while you visit or live here. (I can attest to this, especially when living here during the summer. Almost everything slows down or comes to a standstill in the cities.)
I enjoy this to some degree, depending on where I am (beach) and what I need to get done (not anything important like getting official certification of any kind).
But right now, I am talking about the slow one being me.
I can barely walk.
I sprained my ankle two weeks ago while dancing to Cindy Lauper on the banks of Venice's Giudecca during the famed Redentore celebration. Everything was grand until my left foot came down hard on an uneven surface: where the grassy plot met the sidewalk. Bang. Rip. My achilles tendon has been killing me ever since.
I am getting frustrated after hobbling along for 15 days.
I have had to give up attending an outdoor concert among other fun activities.
I have a hard time walking my dog.
Driving can be painful. At least I have a moped and don't need to be using my feet for any clutch action on it!
Life has become INCREDIBLY slow.
I am even slow for Italian standards.

For now, the swelling has gone down. The bruised areas are healing. I am getting physical therapy. I am waiting. I am trying to enjoy summer with my feet up. But honestly, at this point, I'd rather have them down and ready to scale mountains or at least take a leisurely stroll with my pooch.

(Monte Rosa, please give me good weather at the end of August when I can finally climb your summits! I regret having to postpone my original trekking dates which were dedicated to you next week.)

I guess I'll have another glass of chilled white wine while I soak my ankle in the essence of lavender flowers, one of the many herbal therapies I am currently using to bring my tendon back to an active life.

Salute! Cheers/To my health!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Welcome from Big Brother in Italy

Growing up and travelling in the states, I always liked the giant welcome signs that greeted you as you came into a new town or state. They were the extention of the handwave that Americans automatically give each. "Hi," "Howdy," "Hello," as they walk down a street and see someone else, whether a friend or a stranger.

Meanwhile Italy just has black print on sober white signs that indicate simply that you've crossed a limit. Now entering Padova. Now driving into Noventa Padovana.

Or Pazzano (Calabria) at 410 meters above sea level.

Then the Italians put a red slash over the same sign as you leave the town or city. No "Goodbye's" for anybody. You're just leaving.

When you thought that cool signage was bad enough, then you start looking around at other signs.

You're being taped everywhere!
Welcome, you're on candid camera!
Try to do something, Dude, and Big Brother will get ya'!

That's the message we get.

For as much as Italians should be a warm people, this message is chilling.

Photo credit: Florida sign: Robert English
Pazzano sign: Flickr account: marcuscalabresus

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kenny Random #5

Kenny Random on via Risorgimento near Piazza dell'Insurrezione.

Butterflies are not only trendy in Italian fashion this summer season, but they also play an important part in Kenny's new round of tags.

Butterfly Farfalla

= fire (Aztecs)

= love (Chinese)

= soul (Greek)

= stroke (swimming)

= nervous (in your stomach)

= rebirth (mankind)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What You Can Learn from a Box of Pasta

I just love this box of pasta.

Although I realize the special military division of the Italian army called the Alpini are quite noteworthy in the country for their services and in the city of Bassano del Grappa because they are part of its identity, I didn't think I would find these components all on a box of pasta.

I found it in my local supermarket.

The pasta is the bigoli variety, which is basically spaghetti with a hole through the core so they look like little tubes when you eat them.

The bridge illustrated on the box depicts the most famous landmark of Bassano del Grappa, Ponte degli Alpini. "Bassan," as they say in dialect here, is a city north of Padua which was most significant during WWII. See my post for more about the town, which is always worth a visit.

The hat signifies the Alpini uniform. Alpini veterans are a proud bunch and they often have huge reunions around northern Italy, and often in Bassano itself. They form the oldest army troops specialized in mountain fighting in the world, founded in 1876. They are considered an elite group and Italy readily sends them to fight when only small groups depart on missions from the bel paese. They are currently involved in Afghanistan. Read here for more about them.

So now you see how this box of pasta is a cultural, historical and culinary lesson in yellow, black, red and white on cardboard.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Padova Pride Village

Padua has a strong gay population and their summer extravaganza has been growing every year since I got here 7 years ago. Padova Pride Village packs a month of entertainment, food, dance and stands into the city's fairgrounds. This year, they started with a bang: Boy George in concert. I didn't go but I heard that he put on a fine show.

The Village will be running until July 28th. Doors open at 8 p.m. everyday except Monday. Get ready for more singers, Italian comedians, international DJ's and more to enjoy at the Fiera di Padova.

The organizers, Arcigay *Tralaltro*, even provide "Welcome" packages for out-of-towners including extra hotel services, discounts off entrance tickets and local restaurants.

Join the fun!
( I'm sure you'll have fun even if you're "straight"!)


Fiera di Padova, Entrance E, via Carlo Goldoni - Padova
8 p.m. opening, no Mondays

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jewelry Inspired by Caffè Pedrocchi

Padua's most famous café, Caffè Pedrocchi, now has an exhibition running of original jewelry inspired by the coffee shop and space itself. Artist have taken motifs from the walls and windows of the café and themes of coffee consumption to make their pieces.

Visit the first floor showroom and marvel at the pieces. Curated by Francesca Canapa. Organized by Associazione Contemporanea Gioiellodentro. Show runs through July 20th.

"L'arte del Caffè Pedrocchi nel Gioiello Contemporaneo"
(The Art of Caffè Pedrocchi in Contemporary Jewelry)

Exhibition link, scroll down page for English.

Davide Penso, Incontro, glass bracelet with gold filigree

Angelo Verga, Gothicoffee: Don't Throw the Culture, silver ring, resin, coffee grounds