Thursday, December 13, 2007
Back to Normal...for now...
For those of you who don’t read other Italian blogs then you may be surprised to learn that all the truck drivers in Italy were on strike from Monday thru Wednesday. It was a madhouse, at least from what I saw on TV, because here in Brindisi very little actually happened. On TV I saw store shelves empty of fruits, vegetables, and other perishable goods but here in Brindisi I went shopping last night at Mino’s then the local veggie place and I didn’t notice a thing out of place. Maybe they were a little low on castagne nuts and Mino didn’t have any mozzarella di bufula (he did have regular mozzarella) but then he never has it on Wednesdays. He’s closed on Thursday so it doesn’t make sense to stock up, as he wouldn’t want it to sit around for a day. It’s nice being so close to the food and goods you buy because even without trucks we get by. It’s funny because Rosalba’s husband was leaving the veggie place as I came in. He was smiling ear to ear as he was going to deliver food to the big supermarket outside of town. I’m sure he screwed them on price AND quality because there isn’t a lot of love between the big supermarkets and the mom and pop grocery store.
One part of the strike that we were not immune to was the gas shortage. There were huge lines for people filling up their cars but that was just the panic buying that surrounds any sciopero (if you don’t know that means “strike” then you haven’t be reading an Italian blog for very long!). Tuesday night I was driving my boss to the airport and there were already these lines surrounding gas stations. I’m thinking I’m sure the gas stations have a few days of gas stocked up. Of course I was wrong because almost all were out of gas last night and today. But still this doesn’t affect me because I go for weeks on tank of gas. I walked to work today because there is hardly a cloud in the sky and on the way home I want to harass Lucia at the cafe because today is the saint’s day for Santa Lucia. If we had a Lucia at work then we would have cornetti but nooo. Maybe on the way home I’ll get a free coffee from her. That may be asking a bit too much.
Still this strike was pretty amazing as strikes go. I’m just lucky in that there isn’t much that I need and there wasn’t any place I needed to go. The trucks were trying to make life hell for as many people as they could. Not only did they not deliver goods but they also blocked the highways. So what was the deal? They were upset about high gas prices and abusive (illegal) trucks. There is nothing that can be done about high gas prices and I see the police pulling over trucks all the time checking their "paperwork". So I really don't know what they are crying about. The government promised to work on some new law that will limit out of country trucks from going more than 120 km into Italy and they will spend more money on roads. Big riggin deal. All this chaos for nothing really. A friend at work says that this strike was also politically inspired as the political right is trying to get the left out of power. If the country is “out of control” then the political right can call for a new government, which they have been doing ever since the day Prodi was sworn in. This political bickering is amazing. It's just getting going in the US and the election is just under a year away.