What I’m Loving/Not Loving In Italy – The Final Countdown


  • No one will call social services if you smack your pre-teen son in the middle of the street for being disrespectful.  Don’t sass your mama, kid!
  • Fuck shacks.  Please excuse my Italian on that one.  As you drive down the autostrade Italia, (especially towards Bari,) keep your eyes peeled for working girls perched under their umbrellas, just looking to make an honest buck or two.  Someday, I’ll write a book about their lives.
She works hard for the money.
  • Medieval festivals.  Not usually my schtick, but if you’re going to do it, do it right in a real castle courtyard, with real minstrels, costumes, and real rabbit stew.
  • Anything different in the food realm.  This week alone, I discovered pizza Norvagese (yep, that sounds as funny to say as you’re imagining,) a pizza topped with smoked salmon and soft cheese.  Also discovered REAL burgers with fries at the town trattoria.  Too little, too late.
  • Blood orange juice is the OJ of choice.
  • I realized after the Irsinans (?) unleashed their children on a town-wide scavenger hunt one day, that Irsina offers a unique nostalgic element that we simply do not have the luxury of anymore: safety and trust in our neighbors.  Less crazy people.  People roaming the streets until all hours of the night, unafraid.  Sigh.

Not Loving-

  • Did I tell you that my town is without water?  Every. single. night.
  • Shower stalls that are a fifth the size of an airplane bathroom.  Try not to touch anything.
  • Italian toilets.  While we’re on the subject of bathrooms, let me just say- it’s unlikely that you won’t have to clean that bowl after most “long-term” bathroom visits.  Hail to the round bowl with a one, powerful flush option.
  • Flies.  Worse than North American flies and even bees, these things will swarm your face and your body, until you’re left screaming, “GET OFF ME FLIES!  I’M NOT DEAD YET,” as one archaeology student did, recently.
  • Eurotrash.  I realize how derogatory that sounds.  Still, at 9:30AM on a Saturday, I don’t really need to see people in their trashiest, flashiest, most sequined club wear.  Put on some sweat pants.  You look ridiculous.

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