Well, as promised, I am giving a valiant effort to communicate with you from the land of wine, mandolins and basil (and other things like cement shoes and shooting someone while they are eating a plate of pasta at restaurant). I spent the day in Napoli with my cousins and my lady, taking in the jungle-like marketplaces and experiencing that most pure of pleasures: a pizza at its very birthplace–the culture-infused streets of Naples.
Since time is always of the essence when one travels, let me choose a particular anecdote. There I was, in a clothing shop when I noticed a curious sign. it was clearly an indication of price, but it was also clearly an upside-down four. It looked like a lower case 'h'. What's a guy to do, but to ask for clarification?
I summoned the sales clerk and asked him in Italian if that particular rack was 4 euros.
HIM: (translated for your convenience) "Yeah, those a four euros as marked."
ME: "But the four's upside down…"
HIM (Eyeing the sign more carefully): "It is?"
ME: "Yes, it looks like an 'h'"
HIM: "But it seems right. Yeah, there's nothing wrong with it. To be an 'h' you'd need another line up here.
ME: "That's if you want an upper-case 'h'. As it stand, this is a lower-case one."
At this point I realized that either the gentleman was severely dyslexic, and I was simply cruelly drawing attention to this shortcoming, or I was not in the know about a new trend that was sweeping Italy. I mean, numerals are worldwide…you can't just up and change them to suit your personal style…
We also went to see Herculaneum, Pompei's smaller and better-preserved cousin at the foot of the Vesuvius volcano. Gorgeous. Great-looking bath-houses, still-coloured frescoes, and delightful ancient toilet system that facilitated my urination during one particular time of need when no one was watching and my girlfriend stood lookout for guards or Americans in bermuda shorts.
I totally have to go now…