Monday, January 30, 2006

Grande Circo, Grande Spettacolare!!

The theme for the weekend was the circus. The Darix Circus had its final weekend in town. I knew this from all the posters all over town and Saturday morning I woke up to the sound of a guy talking through a loudspeaker about the circus. Now this has been happening for the last 10 days so it was no big deal but this morning I happened to look out because he seemed to be louder and slower. I saw the same “circus tractor” going by at 2 mph (much to the joy of the Italian drivers) and it was towing a trailer with a camel in it. That ranks right up there with things I never thought I would see here (one of other things was a American professional wrestler riding a scooter the wrong way up my street, but that’s a whole other story). There have been concerns with this circus. They set up next to the soccer stadium, which is also next to the airport. Not the best place to keep animals and tent that’s pretty high. They also have a giraffe, which I know for a fact is an animal that is scared easily. I don’t like the circus. Zoos can at least build a cage that makes sense for the animals. The circus cannot possibly pretend to be a healthy environment.
The other part of the circus theme was when I turned on the TV and saw a strange program. It was a parade going on live up north in San Remo. It caught my attention because all the floats were made of flowers. Sound familiar! They also all had a circus theme. Not sure the history behind this but it was funny because the weather looked awful. It was just cold enough to rain instead of snow and there was a nice wind to try to pull the umbrella from your hand. Why would you have a circus parade at this time of year? I thought it may have something to do with Carnival season but I don’t think so. Then again, kids are starting to dress up in costumes and throw confetti at each other. The crowd was very light and even the commentators looked to be wishing they were somewhere else. Even in Brindisi you would problems getting a crowd for a parade now but then again it was nice enough to take a coffee outside on Sunday afternoon in Otranto.Anyway that’s some random notes from the weekend.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Castello Svevo in Otranto

A slightly different view of Otranto. I walked all the way over to the "Newer Port" area today and took this shot on the way back. The old center of the city is to the right and the castle s to the left. Posted by Picasa

Now We Eat!!

Nello showed an interest in the completed dish. Probably the anchovies. Outta my seat, cat!!!! Posted by Picasa

Now we're Cookin' !

The ingredients for Orecchiette con Rape (Turnip greens). It's a local classic and was good but a little salty. Emily, it's like the receipe for Orriechette with Broccoli in the book but they add a little anchovy to it. So the sauce is oil, garlic, anchovy, and hot pepper. Below is the turnip greens starting to cook. To the left is the hand made orecchiette made a the bakery that morning.Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Bridge!!!

What an ugly day! Today and the next couple of days look to be the worst of the winter season here so far. Today it’s rainy, windy, and cold (by southern Italy standards). It’s hard to believe that Saturday I went for my first bike ride of 2006. The weather was pretty good and didn’t have anything to do in the middle of the afternoon. That’s a great time to ride because there are almost no cars out between 2:00 and 5:00 PM. Sunday is even better. I rode out to a rocky area of seacoast. I didn’t see anything special but it just felt good to get out.The news this weekend really annoyed me when I saw people protesting the bridge they are going to make from the toe of Italy to Sicily. It’s going to a beautiful bridge with the longest suspension span in the world. What upset me is who I saw protesting. I saw the WWF and other environmental groups. I consider myself an environmentalist and I can’t believe this bridge is bad for the environment. First the bridge has to be more efficient then all the dirty old ferries that run back and forth (they estimate cars will save an hour of time). Also now there will be a rail link all over Sicily and Italy (today it takes an average of 2 hours for someone to get from one train on one side to a train on the other). It won’t disturb a pristine habitant or historic areas. First, Messina had an earthquake and then it was bombed heavily in WWII. I’m sorry but there isn’t much historic or pristine left. I’ve driven to Sicily twice and the traffic where you catch the ferries in Messina is horrible. This bridge will take you over all this and straight on to the highway. I see no down side for the environment and I think the seaside for Messina could be reclaimed and made something nicer because you eliminate tons of ferries loading and loading. So I feel that someone else is using the environmental groups. Misleading them in some way. It’s like any type of progress or change is seen as bad in this country. Of course the bridge will end up being closed all the time because they’ll block it for everything, like maybe Messina gets a bad call in a soccer match, but they do that to the ferries already. Well you can check it out yourself Don’t worry they have an area in English

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

High over the Cold Tundra

This is just a curious shot I took when flying over Greenland (or maybe Canada) on the way back to Italy. Posted by Picasa

Falo` (Bonfire)

This is one of the many bonfires at Castellana last Wednesday. They were celebrating the day in 1691 when "the Plague" left the town in a miracle. Back then the people were burning furniture, now they burn Olive trees. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 16, 2006

Technology Update

I feel so proud. AT&T and the other phone companies are so tricky but I out did them, this time. I’m sure they will win in the end. I bought a Nokia 6010 to use in the States, but the problem was that Cingular bought AT&T Wireless… And get this… Cingular no longer supports the AT&T Wireless phones. Now everyone told me this made my phone, that was less than a year old, worthless because the phone was made to work only with the AT&T network. So all the employees in the stores said, “Sorry, Would like to buy another phone?” Good thing I’m not cussing anymore.
Well last night I found online, for free, a little program that gave me a code that unlocked my phone. Now the phone is no longer useless. It now accepts SIM cards from any company (the SIM card is what IS your phone number). The little code to unlock the phone is unknown because the phone companies don’t want you to change providers at the end of your contract. If they tell you that your phone only works with them then you won’t go out and buy another phone to get a slightly better deal… A nice trick. Don't be fooled. You can change providers at any time. Is is really that hard to let people know your new number? How many people need your new cell number?
From the website AT&T was particularly devious in that they changed their network codes from time to time and gave one model phone a different code from all the rest, which probably cost more that it was worth. My Italian phone has never had this limitation because there are too many networks and small markets to make it worth trying to control. People pay more for the phone they want but they can use it on the network they want. Although, some companies are trying to make things here like the States…

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

First of 2006

Well it’s a New Year and things have changed a little. I’m still out of it a little from my flight over. Something bad always happens somewhere between flying back and forth and this time it was the usual. Alitalia lost my luggage. Oh, I’m sure they will find it but this happens so fricken’ often that I’ve really lost track. If you haven’t noticed I’m trying to cut back cursing. The plane was also very crowded from NY to Rome. When is the flight not crowded?
I picked up a newspaper on the plane and I find a lot has happened lately. The biggest thing to me was that on Sunday there was an earthquake in Greece. It was 6.6 and centered under water between Greece and Crete. There wasn’t a tsunami but I hear that people in Lecce could just barely feel it. Also the bird flu is popping up all over Turkey. Given how often ferries run from Brindisi to Turkey I feel it won’t take long before it gets here. I still haven’t heard anybody mention if this disease affects pigeons. I shouldn’t come in contact with chickens or farm animals so I feel safe but if pigeons can carry it…
I also managed to see the first quarter of the Bengals’ game before getting on the plane. The Bengals were winning 10-0 when I last saw it but it seems the injury Palmer did come back to haunt them in the end.
Being back in the US for 3 weeks was pretty good. I didn’t do that much and I stayed with the parents a lot so I didn’t get burned out from going to restaurants all the time. I enjoyed it so much I could move back in with them. Then I wouldn’t need a job!! Oh the possibilities….I’m getting a little anti-Christmas. Everyone I know is older now (funny how that is) so it’s hard to buy Christmas presents for these people. The older people get the less they need from other people (I’ll get it myself, dang nab it!). Also being older there is less excitement about what you’re going to receive. I must say that I really like everything I got but somehow it’s not the same. Like mom and I still remember the time I was really excited when I got a stapler for Christmas. I also still have the globe that I got another year. Now someone can get you something really nice that you really like but you just won’t remember it like you do when you get your first stapler.