Wednesday, June 27, 2007


So a VIP arrived this weekend. No it's not my sister and Kent. They arrive tonight. It was a beautiful yacht called “Let It Be”. I thought, “This must belong to Sir Paul McCartney or some family member of the Beatles. Maybe a big star is in town!” Nope, I was wrong. A quick search of the Internet and here is a link to the website where you can rent this incredible boat. Yes, anyone can hire this yacht for jaunt around the Med and it will only cost you 85,000 to 92,000 euro a WEEK! Gasp! Check out the website as you can see the interior photos and the other little boats that come with it (inside it, how cool)! I wonder how much everything else costs. Is the gas and crew included? Heeeyy, it can sleep 10 guests so if you split the cost 10 ways… NO…. that’s still way too high for even a “once in a lifetime” type thing. I’m saving for the two-minute ride into space.
Holy crap, something just hit me. I just thought about how much the people are spending while the boat is just sitting here in Brindisi. Go to Venice or Palermo. What the hell are they doing here?

Monday, June 25, 2007

A New Frontier for this Blog!

Now I’m able to take this blog where it’s never been before! I don’t think any blog of Puglia has even attempted to show what I can do now. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy more of Puglia than you ever thought was possible!
Friday night I played around with my new package until I was sure it was ready for the beach on Saturday. So what is it? It’s a waterproof case for my digital camera. I sealed up my old Canon digital elph and went out snorkeling around Penna Grossa on Saturday and Sunday. It’s one of those things that I already feel like it was worth the price after the first “test”. I took a total of 140 photos in two days and naturally most of them are crap as fish don’t tend to hold still for the photo but here are few I did get.
These fish are the most common around the rocks. I can't believe how many eyes I got in this photo. Most of the time they would turn tail and swim away when I was trying to get their picture.
These fish are almost always in schools and I called them the "yellow lined fish". I believe they only grow to be a about foot long. These are babies only a few inches long and when they're adults then you can see the obvious yellow lines down their sides that inspired the name.
Sea Urchins are easy to photo and this one is next to a strange orange blob. I believe it's a sponge. These rocks are no coral reef but they do have algae, sponges, and fish that have some good colors!
Some fish like this blenny just sit there and don't think that you can see them.

What the heck kinda fish is this. This new device now has everyone saying "Get a picture of me underwater!"

One last fish photo. This Green Wrasse was very hard to get. They just move too fast for a digital camera.

I have a few other photos that I like but I guess I can save them for another day. I also tried the video option and I REALLY need to concentrate on getting the camera steady next time.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

SDA Experience

I've got it! This picture is sign directing you to the SDA office once you're already INSIDE the marble cutting factory. The SDA delivery guy came to my work around 3:00 PM Friday but as luck would have it he had already tried to deliver it morning and then left it at the "deposito" while he did the afternoon deliveries. So after work yesterday I went straight to the marble place and picked it up. It was frickin' easy this time because there is no substitute for experience (and the driver guy knew I was coming). So the good news is I got my package quicker than I expected! The bad news is I still can't tell you what it is. Maybe tomorrow but more likely I post what it is with a picture or two on Monday.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Soo Closeee!

My fellow expats will recognize this photo. It's the ticket left in my apartment mailbox saying that my package was there! But I wasn’t! How I could be so stupid and not be home at 2:20 in the afternoon to receive my package. So it's in Brindisi, now the hard part. I have to get it from SDA. You know how Fedex shows their commercials where the Fedex guy goes through the jungle or climbs Mt Everest to deliver a package. Well not in Italy. In Italy, Fedex turns over delivering packages to SDA and you get to climb Mt. Everest.
I was raking my brain last night trying to remember how I got the last package from them. The easiest time was when they delivered it to me at work because they recognized my name. The toughest time was when I went to one of their offices to get it myself. The office was cleverly disguised as a marble cutting plant. I kid you not. Their office was inside a gated area where they cut marble down into countertop-sized pieces. I drove back and forth in front of it twice with complete confusion. Finally I stopped and asked at the car dealership next door. “Where the hell is this place?” They were a little unsure themselves but they yelled over the fence to someone. The gate opened and I went in and got my package.
I called this morning to try to set up the delivery at work thing but the lady said to call back later. I didn’t like that but I know SDA delivers here at work in the afternoon so I’ll wait. I’m going out to the security guards to get them to call me if the guy shows up. There’s only one guy so he’ll have the package if he comes to my work today.
Work is slow right now. It’s supposed to get up near 40C today (that’s around 100F for you Americans). I can understand if the guys in the shop aren’t moving too fast.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Piece of History

How would like to own a piece of the history (well it could be)? Because part of “Jeff in Puglia” has just been put on the market. I hope I doing the right thing. I have decided sell my house in Indianapolis. I haven’t had renters in it for a while and I’m just sick and tired of worrying about it (mortgage, taxes, insurance, and etc....). Also I’m not sure the house is right for me even if I do move back to Indy.
So it’s been cleaned up and starting yesterday the house is officially being listed by Remax. I can’t believe the attachment I have with this house. I only lived in it for two years (For the record, I lived in Indy for 8 years!!). But those two years in that house were the craziest two years, by far. Emily and Neil, you two know what I mean!!!!
Check out the photos on this link. I couldn’t get the “virtual tour” to work for me.
Other photos of the house

Also just to let you know my package was in Milan this morning so it's getting close.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

VIPs in town, not yet...

AAAGGGHH. They’re screwin’ with me! I ordered something from on Thursday and they sent me a tracking number for the shipment just to torment me. I immediately went to the Fedex website at least a dozen times checking on it’s progress. I know I didn’t pay for overnight shipping but they’re just winding me up at this point. Here’s the story so far… They picked up the package in Brooklyn, New York at 8:12 PM on Friday, June 15th. It arrived at the Fedex office in Newark at 8:51 PM. This is the part that gets me. It didn’t leave the Fedex office until 12:04 AM today. What the hell were they doing with my package all weekend…and Monday?!! Anyway, when it arrives I’ll let you know. Until then I’ll keep Fedex in my shortcuts and the tracking number on my desktop. Yes, I can be very impatient at times.
The picture today is of the VIP parking for yachts in Brindisi. They put down the green asphalt and then lined the “parking area” off with potted plants for the first time last year or maybe it was the year before. This area is then THE parking space for the big wigs with their super yachts. A vigilanza car will be nearby 24/7 when one of those obscenely rich people are in town.
The summer will bring all kinds of boats into town, not just super rich. Everything from the English in little sailboats (on a cheap holiday) to Sultans with mega-yachts from the Middle East. Last year there was this one huge yacht that I noticed because it had this goofy flag on it and I couldn’t understand what country it was from. Then I saw the flag again in the news when the same boat was in Naples a few days later. They were doing a story about English royalty and they said the boat belonged to the English royal family (the flag was a symbol that the boat is part of the royal fleet). I have no idea if any of them were on it when it was here but maybe the queen had gelato at the Bar Betty. Well if she didn't, she should have! This photo below is of some yachts a few years ago.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Banner

Did you notice the new banner? It has a sort of professional quality to it. Meglio cambiare, no? Sorry inside joke!!! Thanks for the help Shelley at Really Rome You can tell from her blog and site that she’s a professional at this sort of thing.
This photo is the sunset from the beach Saturday night. I would have stayed later but it’s at this time that mosquitoes come out in force.
This weekend I spent most of my waking hours at Penna Grossa or Torre Gauceto. I should explain in case I confuse all of you. I use both names but I should just use one or the other. Torre Gauceto is the large national park in which the beach, Penna Grossa, is located. So Penna Grossa is the just the physical beach and everything else is Torre Guaceto. This is important because there is good and bad news in the park this year. The good news is someone of dubious intentions is no longer collecting the money you pay to park to go to Penna Grossa. You park in a big level dirt parking lot and “someone” collected 1 euro from you when you leave. That’s 1 euro per car, which is bargain, but it was be collected “in nero”. No taxes and no benefit to the park, which really bothered me. This year the park has taken over duties of collecting for parking that makes me feel much better about paying. It’s a good thing I feel better about it because the park raised the rate from 1 euro to 2.50 per car! And they moved the parking lot area to a place that’s about 0.5 km from the sea. They have in turn a bus that takes you from the parking lot to the beach but it’s sooooo slow and dirty (I have yet to ride in it as I see it as a waste). I walk to the beach faster than that stupid bus because it sits and waits until it’s close to full before leaving. I see a lot of benefits for this new parking scheme and I hope I’m right about these reasons.
1. Less people at “my beach” because it’s more expensive.
2. Less people because it’s more of pain to get to. The bus is slow like I said and I also don’t think it’s going to be reliable over the summer.
3. The people that do come will tend to carpool to pay less, which is good for everyone.
4. The park will have money to complete their projects. They already have put up a great fence that keeps people off the sand dunes and a boardwalk area so disabled people can reach the beach area. There are a couple of strange buildings they should demolish, as they are only used by graffiti artists at this point.
Other news is Sunday the sign below was on my building. They post these signs around towns in Italy. It seems Antonio Bonatesta in my building died this weekend. I don’t think I ever met this person. I don’t know my neighbors very well. They all seem to be very old couples that keep to them selves. I know I keep different hours than them so I try not to make much noise. These signs are put up all over town when someone dies and in some cases people put them up on anniversaries of the death of someone. It may seem strange to us Americans but Italians are much more about family and that includes in death. Signs like this remind all of us to think about our own family, which reminds me I haven’t called my Nonna in a while to see how she’s doing. Ciao

Father's Day to me

Well this is a belated Father’s Day post. In my defense it’s not Father’s Day in Italy. For us nothing says father and son like goin’ fishin’. I picked a photo from that day back in May when had our latest trip. Time on the lake is something special for us and I always look forward to the next time. Of course our trips are few and far between these days but anyway... So many crazy memories... We started out renting a 14 foot aluminum boat at Miami Whitewater and now he's got a beautiful Skeeter Bass boat. Happy Father’s Day! Have the boat ready for the next time I'm in town.

Paw trying out my binoculars!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Havin' a heat wave!

Well Mother Nature has turned up the heat this week and just in time (well maybe we sweated and whined through a few days) the air conditioning came on at work. Meanwhile at home I haven't turned on the AC YET but I think tonight I may give in.
The heat means you don't feel like cooking so the picture is what I did the other night instead. It's all the ingredients for a piadina. Piada (flour tortilla), cheese, and prosciutto crudo (di Parma-of course). You just spread on some cheese and lay on the crudo and then toast slightly. I guess really I could go out for something like this, because they are made at several little stands by the sea.
Only Friday to go then... The beaches aren't usually crowded in June but I imagine this weekend they will be.
Look! Mara sat still and allowed me to photograph her! I thought I would share it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Corpus Domini

I stayed home from the beach on Sunday so I could see the procession of Corpus Domini here in Brindisi. Here is a short description from the Brindisi website:
"This unique and religious ceremony takes place during the celebration of Corpus Domini, when the Bishop, riding an adorned white horse, parades the Blessed Sacrament (host) through the main streets of the City. This is in remembrance of an ancient tradition which originated in the year 1254."
For more information go to Brindisi web and check out the traditions. I was excited to see it because in years past I always missed it for some odd reason. Now I can finally say I've seen it. I was a little disappointed. They had some problems with the horse. First it wasn't white. Isn't that part of the tradition? And second, it DID NOT want to be apart of the parade so the bishop ended up walking most of the way. So there was no horse for most of the procession. I guess it's the blessing that matters and that has been done, so everything is ok. Also I can sleep better knowing that NOW I have seen every tradition that there is in Brindisi.

This is a photo when the bishop is getting ready to bless the sea and the city. Notice he's on foot now.

One of the many banners of the faithful that followed the bishop through the streets of Brindisi.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Man Bag Photos

All very good reasons left on my post yesterday. It is incredibly convenient and yes I will be careful to leave it behind on vacations to places like Australia, Detroit,...
Here are some photos of my man bag. I never thought I'd say that!
The second one is me at the "Gym Dinner" last night with it. I had a rather dumb look on my face so I cut that part out. That's one of the beauties of running your own blog.
As a bonus I'll throw in this photo I took today. School is out, at least it seems that way from the invasion of kids at the bars last night. This photo below is one I took a school very close to my place. The bougainvillea is in full bloom and there is even an old FIAT 500 out front. Thanks to the man bag I had my camera along!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

More Italian!

So I brook down and did it, finally. Something I never, ever thought I would do but I could see coming for some months now. My old fashioned midwestern values gave in to the influence of Italy, again.
What did I do last night?
I admit it.
I bought a “European Carry All” to quote Seinfeld.
That’s right. I bought a man purse. I have many reasons for doing this and it doesn’t make me gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
OK, here are my rationalizations for the purse, I mean bag:
1. I have two cell phones to carry and I’m thinking about getting a third.
2. The pants I buy in Italy seem to be tighter and things don’t fit in the pockets very well.
3. It’s summer and I don’t have a jacket with pockets to carry stuff.
4. I would like to have my digital camera with me more often.
5. When I can fit my phones in my pockets it doesn’t look good. Is that a Nokia in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
6. Many men have them here so I won’t be laughed at or beat up over this. Besides, I’ve been going to the gym so I could probably beat up anybody that makes fun of me. “C’รจ cazzo mi sta wuardi?” (What the hell are you looking at? in Brindisino)
7. I can now carry my sunglasses case and stop beating up the most expensive pair of sunglasses that I’ve ever owned. Although, that’s not saying much if you know my past.
8. It may actually help me stay more organized. Wait, I guess it could lead to more disorder. I can hear myself saying; “I know that was in my bag yesterday!”
9. I will feel more Italian as no American man would carry a bag.
10. ….

Maybe I’ll put up a photo of it sometime when I’m more comfortable with it. Feel free to add to my list of why it’s ok for me to carry a bag!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Real Estate

I think I’ve mentioned that one of things I really love about living here is that I get to see how Brindisi changes. I don’t think I noticed new things in Indianapolis like I do here (again maybe I’m becoming too Italian as I see what’s going at all the stores as being “my business”). I like to watch new stores open up. Who knows what it will be!! Then sometimes it actually hurts when they close because you lose friends. The pet store where I used to buy everything for Nello and Mara closed without warning and I ran into the lady that worked in it and she said that her brother owned the store and he just wanted something further outside of town that was cheaper to run. It was shame as she was very friendly and quick with help. When Mara arrived at my place she sent me directly to the Pharmacy to get “Milkazoo” or something like that. It’s powdered milk made for cats and dogs still nursing but without a mother. She kept pictures of many pets around town in her store and knew all of them by name.
Then there are the other stores I don’t miss, like when a store opened next the gym. I knew it couldn’t last. This new store had the brilliant idea to sell cell phones (we really needed ANOTHER cell phone store) and…wait until you hear this…perfumes! What a combination. That was a store destined to close and it didn’t make 6 months.
And it’s not just stores that have changed over time. Piazza Vittoria in town was completely redone and made off limits to cars. Almost every church in town has been, or is currently, covered in scaffolding during the time I’ve been here. Some one-way streets have changed direction 3 times now! I never cease to be surprised. Right now there are 71 houses, although some are not real “houses”, that are being bulldozed just North of town because they were built without zoning approval and too close to the sea. The owners built illegally on purpose and then planned to fight in court until they are allowed to leave their house in place. It didn't work this time. The current mayor is always talking of a new “water front” project. The whole area from the Bar Betty to the Vertigo could become a piazza with no cars. That would be great but we would loose a lot of parking that’s needed in the summer. Well, not for me because I walk down there. I wonder how this mayor will get it done and what compromises will be made. I'm staying tuned!
Closer to me there are two big pieces of property that could be interesting developments in the months to come. Across the street and next to the old wall is an abandoned building that is now up for sale. I see my neighbor two floors down, the one with the yapping dog, wrote about it in the newspaper. He expressed my sentiments too. It would be sooo nice to knock it down, which would expose more of the old walls that used to surround Brindisi and maybe make a nice little piazza there. We’ll see.
The other property is just on the other side of that old wall from my apartment. It too has been abandoned the whole time I’ve been here. Recently they had the steel shutters open and I saw into it for the first time. It turns out the building itself is not very deep because there is an internal courtyard completely hidden from the street. I was immediately thinking “that is so cool” and it’s been abandoned for who knows how long. I asked Mino at “il Salu..mino” what is being done with the building and he said no one is sure but the rumor is that a “Fabbrica di birra” is going in. What? A brewery? Surely he means a bar, as it would have to be a true “micro-brew” to fit in that place. Also I can’t imagine a brewery inside the centro storico. Anyway there’s always something to watch or listen for in news (be it official or through the grapevine).

Monday, June 04, 2007

Some photos to ponder

Not much going on this weekend so I'll put up some photos that I took with the new camera.

This is Lucia's dog at the Caffe Continental. Ahh, Isn't he cute.

Ok this photo isn't so cute. Cosimo at the Farmer's market was selling snails. I think this is pretty good considering the lens I have isn't a real macro lens. That's one of the toys that comes later.

Ok back to cute photos. I liked the lighting on this photo. Nello seems to like being photographed so naturally Mara runs away.

This is just an interesting scene carved above the door of one of the older churches in town.

Last but not least. I think I have too many polo shirts with horizontal stripes!!! Basta!! I spent some doing spring cleaning in the closest.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Maybe I'm tooo Italian....

Son of a bi***h! Can I say that here? I’m just a little pissed off. It seems today I got the news that I had a little "run in" with the law. I received a multa (ticket) in the mail! You see they have cameras all around Italy that will catch you breaking the law and this time one of them got me (yes, again! This isn’t the first time!). It seems that going through a red light is not allowed, contrary to what I’ve seen. Wait! Let me explain before you get all judgmental. The ticket says that I went through a red light at 3:09 PM on a Sunday. Come on! On Sunday afternoon there is NO ONE around! Who waits at a light at a time like that? Evidently, I will in the future. So learn from my mistakes, kids.
The picture in this blog is from that faithful day. Yep, that’s right it was way back in October when my parents were here. Can you believe that? I went through a red light with my mom and dad in the car. I cannot for the life of me remember doing this. I had to use Google to find the town where I got the ticket and it was one that we travelled through that day. I can't believe they even have a light. The light and camera are probably the best investment that town has ever made because now I have to pay 152.60 euros. Son of a bi***h! And yes it takes 8 months for the ticket to find me because it’s a lease car.