This week’s been quiet – the weather’s not been up to much.
There have been a few beach trips – the first one was Marcelli last Sunday. That stretch of beach seems to go for miles between Numana and Porto Recanati. Because of its sheer size, I’d have thought it would be relatively empty and yet it was RAMMED with people. I don’t think there was a single Italian that wasn’t on that beach. There’s regimented colour coordinated grids of umbrellas that people pay for, interspersed with other grids for people that don’t want to pay but who’ve brought their own umbrellas, followed by another colour coordinated set and so on for miles and miles.
Anyway, this was the beach:
In contrast to that, this was Mezza Valle beach…
Mezza Valle is known around here as being particularly spectacular. However, you have to have a boat to get to it or be quite fit as it’s a steep 25 minute walk down to it, and more importantly a challenging trek back up!
For that reason, the beach is very quiet. I’ve been there twice this week. The first time was just before the biggest thunderstorm I’ve seen. The weather had been looking a bit ominous but we decided to risk it, had a quick 5 minute swim and then decided that we should probably head back up again before we got caught in the rain. And let me tell you, you should have SEEN it – it wasn’t even rain – I think you have to have “rain drops” for that – it was more like the sky was under water. And it had hail in it! The weather here is crazy. Thankfully we’d made it back to the car just in time. I feel a bit sorry for the poor guys on the beach behind us. The path would have been a river – they’d have had to have done their best salmon impression to get back up to the top. We’ve had quite a few other thunderstorms this week too. And with thunder like I’ve never heard before. It’s been sounding like the sky has been falling down (anyone else remember Chicken Licken?!).
Anyway, look at me talking about the weather (you can take the girl out of Britain but not Britain out of the girl it seems) – much, much more interesting were the nudists! Family members – you might want to look away now :-). Now, Mezza Valle is not a nudist beach but it’s suitably in the middle of nowhere and big enough to be able to find a discreet location far from anyone and strip off if the desire is there. The housemates and I found a quiet spot far from anyone but kept our togs on. However, within a few minutes, the single naked men on the beach seemed to be edging closer until one started a conversation. I’ve thought about it and come to the conclusion that most of my conversations with people are conducted at eye level. After this guy came over to introduce himself (shook our hands), he proceed to sort of stand amongst us for a bit resulting in an unusual eye / naked groin level conversation. To give him credit, he did apologise for having his bits out, but in a “what can you do eh?” sort of way (put pants on), and then proceeded to squat (oh my eyes…) between us and chat. However, to my surprise he seemed relatively normal and by the end of the afternoon I’d allocated him to the “Harmless Extrovert” nudist category. In contrast, the other “Filthy Flashing Pervert” nudist category was occupied by a couple of the other men who were patrolling our patch of beach and stopping at random points to face us in a Superman pose (standing Superman pose. The flying Superman pose would have been even weirder).
Anyway, suffice to say, it was an amusing trip and despite the Filthy Flashing Perverts outnumbering the Harmless Extroverts, there were still enough Normal People on the beach for us to not feel threatened. Having said that, I would not go back to that beach on my own. Though I suppose if anything was to happen, at least I’d know exactly where to aim my kick…
Here’s a photo of my housemate and me looking like an idiot with my snorkel:
I went to Fermo with the school this week. Fermo’s a hill top town a bit further south than Camerano (where I am). It’s nothing particularly special, though it does have a lovely playground and cathedral on the top of the hill. Further down there’s a large piazza with places to eat and a few shops. There’s an interesting reservoir thing going on under the piazza from Roman times. We had a tour down there with an incredibly fast speaking Italian guide. Something about holes, rain, dirt and water levels. We all forgot where the car was so we traipsed round for an additional hour trying to find it before giving up and going to a bar whilst Marco carried on the search (successfully eventually!).
After Fermo, we went to a Trattoria in Camerano where we had great food which was excellent value for money but resembled a school canteen. Still no menus. The conversations in Trattoria’s seem to go like this:
Waiter: Hi there. Do you want something to eat?
Punter: Yes, yes I think I do.
Waiter: Is food alright?
Punter: Yes, food sounds splendid.
Waiter: Right you are. I’ll bring some out.
I went to the cinema this week to see “Hangover Part 3” or rather “Una notte da leoni 3”. The literal translation would appear to be “a night from lions”. Though let me tell you something about the word “da” – it falls into an annoying set of words called “prepositions” like our “on”, “in” etc. but “da” is a particular gem which can mean a seemingly infinite number of things. The usual suspect is “from” but who knows?! Anyway, what a weird translation?! Apparently it means to have a great night out. They don’t seem to have the concept of “hangovers” here. There’s not even a word for it, so perhaps that’s why they’ve changed the title?! Anyway, pleased to report that I picked up the plot line relatively well.
What else? I went to Ancona yesterday with one of the housemates and there was a food festival going on which was a stroke of luck – we spent the morning eating free olives, cheeses and tasting all the oils. It reminded me of a much more tranquil version of Borough Market in London. I got invited out for a drink by one of the men at the stalls. The pick-up techniques of Italians thus far appear to be stereotypically Italian. He grabbed my hand, spun me around and exclaimed “che bello!” (how beautiful!). Outrageous! You can’t objectify women like that! I let him off because he obviously has fabulous taste (and I’d eaten half of his olive stock). But if a guy tried that in the UK, he’d get a thwack in the stomach with a handbag. If women did the handbag thwack here, I think most of the male population would be constantly doubled over. I don’t think feminism has reached Italy yet.
On Thursday I should be going to Croatia with the boat folk 🙂 I’ve been sailing before and slept on boats but I’ve always been in a harbour overnight and had a chance to have a proper wash. I’m worried for my hair. It goes all dreadlocky even after I’ve been for a 5 minute swim in the sea. I think after 3 days of not being able to wash it, I’ll have no other option than to shave it all off. I’ve made an appointment with the hairdresser next Tuesday for the occasion.
In other exciting news – I’ve had my first taste of chocolate in almost 2 months! I’m rationing. It’s lasted almost a week (as opposed to the usual 2 minutes). Thank you Lucy for sending 🙂
What’s a bit odd? Given this week’s thunderstorms, it seems apt to point out how sensible and trusting the Italian’s are when it comes to umbrellas. The English, when it’s been raining and when there’s shopping to be done, will close their umbrella and wander around the shops with it dripping everywhere on everything. But the Italians often have a sort of bucket thing going on by the door so that the punters can leave their umbrellas there and if there’s not, there’s a sort of short term adhoc umbrella amnesty outside the shop. I know it’s only umbrellas but I think it shows a sense of trust that’s probably missing in the UK. It’s nice! Next time I’m in the UK, I’m going to leave my umbrella at the shop door and see what happens (I predict I will forget to pick it back up again).
This week I’m bunking off school – I have plans to attack my Italian learning with renewed vigour (why is it talking so long?!?!?! I should be fluent by now!!!! GRRR!!!), sort out bureaucratic stuff, look at a car (specifically with a view to buying one I should add) and do some more painting / drawing (I’m so pleased I can vaguely draw – in the absence of being able to speak Italian properly, drawing people seems to be a reasonably decent bonding factor). I shall as ever, report back.
Have good weeks all 🙂
P.S. It’s been a while since Lizard Watch. Here’s a picture of a beaver instead. It was in Ancona by the beach. Beavers don’t live near beaches usually eh? I think it became exhausted trying to build a damn across the Adriatic. He did not look happy, poor thing.