And I’m back for my monthly entry!
Sicily was a blast, I got to meet some really awesome people from all over (CA, Michigan, Penn, Canada, Amsterdam), and we got to hang out over the course of five weeks.
The first weekened was a working weekend, but that didn’t stop us from partying Friday night. We saw world reknowned Spin Long, an Italian band that plays American classic rock. Due to my granita (shaved flavored lemon ice) con vodka, which ended up being more like vodka con granita, I was wasted and somehow convinced to dance to “Sweet Home Alabama” – which, you have to admit, isn’t even a dancable song. It’s also 5 or 6 minutes long, which may not sound that long, but is a long ass time when you are one of two Americans dancing and all the Italians are staring at you. Aside from that mess, we hit up Casteldellamare on Sunday – Sicily’s ugliest beach (according to Lonely Planet) but a beach nonetheless, with sand and sun and far too many speedoes. Let’s move on to the first REAL weekend.
First weeked: We have a goodbye party for the American Academy of Rome students, where we proceed to get ourselves smashed on the roof on a Thursday night in time to be hungover on Friday. Good planning, team!! Then, Saturday shopping in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. Highlight: accidentally driving into a market, watching my driver trying to unwedge her Alfa Romeo from between a garbage dump, a Fiat, and some crates of fruit, then a random street person getting into the car and backing it out for her. Due to siesta, we ate a 3 hour lunch including pizza, french fries, gelato, coke, and subsequently each had a coronary. Sunday we went to Selinunte, which was very windy, but well known for its Greek colony. Highlight of that day was some random Italian guy doing push ups and kissing the sand when he touched the ground. Impressive. Now I want to have your babies. I wasn’t sure before, but the sand kissing really sealed the deal. Bravo.
Second weekend: Pig Party! We had to get an entire pig butchered to keep the bones for the reference collection, so we had a party celebrating a pig feast: sausage, ham, prociutto, and any other kind of product you could imagine. We all got finely wasted, some of us losing part of our shoe on the stairs, others vomiting into some thistles behind a shed. Saturday, we drove three hours to Piazza Armerina, in central Sicily. We saw the mosaics, including the first evidence in the world of bikinis in a depiction of a “Women’s Gym Room.” What woman would exercise in a bikini, I do not know. They were also holding some kind of fan or flowers; I doubt burning calories was their main objective. Casteldellamare again on Sunday, highlighted by some Italian guys quizzing us on where we were from (“America? America, California, si si”) then proceeding to mock us (“oh my god! oh my god!!”) with what I think was supposed to be a valley girl accent.
Third weekend: Lisa’s bachelorette party! We put fake roses in her hair and got her toasted at Salemi’s finest bars. Evidence of a good time: way too many embarassing stories revealed to the party’s nondrinking attendees, and also photos of Lisa kissing not one but two different cops (Carabinieri) in the second bar we visited. She claims to have no recollection. Saturday: Mazaro Del Vallo, a local Palermo but crappier. We could not find any food for about an hour: all the bars had one sandwich and one crossaint, but there were four of us so that didn’t really work. Finally we found a nice beachfront cafe, but no pizza (not til 8pm, apparently). So patate fritte (french fries) and insalate mista – mixed salad: lettuce, three tomato slices, and maybe a couple pieces of onion if you’re lucky. Don’t order insalate verde: green salad which is just lettuce. Blah. Scopello on Sunday, where Abby stepped on a fish hook, and then we were ousted from our beach side chairs by the rental company. Ouch. Then I had a really delicious seafood appetizer for lunch, including but not limited to what I think were squid tentacles. All sarcasm aside, they were really tasty, if not a bit weird looking.
Fourth weekend: FAVIGNANA, my reason for returning to Sicily. As there were no mopeds left to be rented (dammit!) so we rented bicycles instead, which turned out to be equally fun. After some wrong turns, we would up at Bue Marino: the most gorgeous cliffs and beach I have ever seen. We swam and shrugged our cares into the turquoise waters. It was all I wanted to do, and as a result I am very brown from direct sunlight for about 6 hours. Most fabulous time. Sunday, however, was maybe not as awesome. It was Saint’s Day, which meant EVERYTHING was closed. EVERYTHING. On top of which, the house was trying to exhaust its supplies, so there was no food to be had inside either. Breakfast: french toast. Dinner: fried bread. See a pattern? I ended up staying up late to wait for the cars who crossed the entire island to ask them what they had done that weekend. Stayed up late drinking, slightly hungover Monday morning. Awesome.
Monday night: totally awesome. My last night, but not that of everyone else. We went out to the bar to celebrate (a good friend of mine was leaving the next day as well) and, well, I got toasted. When I got back, someone had brought back this liquor from Mt Etna (a volcano) which was 140 proof and supposedly cinnamon flavored. It turned out to be cherry flavored and I implored the guy who gave it to me for the next 20 minutes why he wanted me to drink cough syrup, because it sure tasted like it. Fake cherry and burned on the way down. I was drunk all night, managed to lose my nose stud (dammit), and left promptly at 5 am. 23 hours later, I arrived at my house exhausted, watched some Olympics, and went to bed. Phew.
So that was Sicily in a nutshell. Of course there was more: these are the HIGHLIGHTS. Still interested? Hope so.
In conclusion, living in too close quarters with too many people for five weeks taught me a lot about patience, when to speak up and let it go, and where I fall on that spectrum.
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.