Sie sind auf Seite 1von 7

Sorrento, Italy, a town that I've visited friends in over the past ten years.

Im sitting in the small but frantic square of Sorrento near Naples in Italy. I've sat here many times over the past decade, and the only difference now is that people ride their scooters with one hand, while, like the caliche guy, the other is busy with a cell phone. Cyclists do this too. The food in Bar Ercolano has obviously gone downhill as fast as the magma from Vesuvio that devastated its namesake (Herculaneum in Inglese) the other, perhaps, lesser-known Pompeii and an historic city nowhere near, but far more delectable to take in than the food Im eating. My Panini reminds me of when my father threw a plate of eggs against the wall because my sister served rubber up as a substitution long before, and just like her head for her effort, the term Omega Three had been cracked, erupted as he did at the slightest thing and no yolk about it. The caliche guy sits on the other side of the cart. The horse looks down at the ground. Bored. Yesterday was more interesting; at least it had a bride to carry, and feathers had adorned its wellfurnished mane, or was that the bride? Wearing their helmets, fashionable, but in bad taste in my opinion; looking like German helmets a la WWI, I cant help but think that this stunning race all look like Mr. Bean in them. They all dress the same too; jeans pulled far too tight up their arses yet failing to show anything at all of their manhood. Call yourself a stallion; the toes of the camel have you beat; theyre everywhere at least, European women seemingly unaware of the divide. And tourists take their lives in their hands as they expect traffic to stop at the many zebra crossings that are actually nothing more than a suggestion. Not like in their countries. The caliche guy now stands with his hands on his hips trying to look sexy again, his package a bit too obvious, the hump of the camel, perhaps? Hes humming now, looking around him nonchalantly, being kind of cool with slick backed blonde brown hair that shows signs of balding soon. Perhaps, as if by a sense of duty, its just what he does; making sure that everyone can see, or maybe he senses that Im writing about him, for certainly he seems to be playing up to something. Maybe hes as observant as I can be and despite my sneaky ability to be discreet. But then I see his target as he eyes up an exotic looking girl in a white floppy hat crossing right in front of him. She doesnt notice, or at least pretends not to, even though her trajectory seemed most deliberately planned, and neither does the overdressed slick-chic who just sauntered by him shaking her long

luxuriously curled hair; her belief; everyone in the square looking at her; thinking surely that she must be a movie star. Shes not, for she flaunts the suggestion of it far too blatantly, too desperately. To the side of me is the little apartment next to the Tabacchi. It is there that I first came to visit Vanessa here in this village, a tiny place, basic, where you couldnt make a cup of tea and toast bread at the same time, but it retains precious memories nonetheless. Things are very different now; what with the large, more modern place up the road on the Corso Italia with stunning views. Ive vacated this morning to give the cleaner some space, have come for breakfast, for both Vanessa and Gianluca have to work, and I need to occupy myself. Time enough for staying indoors at home. Strangely though, I do feel at home here in Sorrento, have sat in Bar Ercolano many times on my own, as well as with others, even the locals recognise me. The sounds are familiar too; the constant buzz of scooters, the trucks en-route to all the hotels, delivering flowers and wine and some such things. The various English accents of the tourists as well the dying serenity of the palm trees infected by some kind of beetle - a problem endemic all along the Amalfi Coast - swaying, doing their jobs till the bitter end; only allowing the sun to occasionally remind me that I am tanning beautifully for a change, and not the kind I get when sitting on a beach, no, rather that attractive colour that comes with aimless meandering without making any effort at all save for slapping on some cream in the morning to stop the lobster effect taking over, much as a mother does to her child in the summer. One thinks nothing of having a birra grande immediately after breakfast, not when youre on holiday, and who cares if youre alone; its not like I drink alone at home, in fact I rarely drink at all there. Certainly alcohol is more palatable than breakfast bought only because its not quite acceptable even on holiday to forego that and just have the beer - plus it washes down what otherwise might not have gone down with a cup of coffee an Americano, which I always forget is not actually their version of a Starbucks. No, I have standards, plus, Id not long since given a disapproving look to an Englishman sitting with a pint in front of him when I first arrived. But then, that was 10am, its 11 now and therefore far more acceptable. The North African guy Ive seen around for years has the most unusual body shape, in fact hes a bloody behemoth; sitting not quite magnificently surrounded by wooden giraffes and camels one of which I was very shocked to see in Vanessas posh apartment, who knew? But it looks good there nonetheless. Perhaps I should be more open to wooden carvings sold by street traders too, God knows Ive dismissed enough of them around the world. But I wonder if Behemoth sells many of these things, as he bothers the tourists relaxing in the various patios that are always packed with people who are more polite than me; smiling as they wave him away or at least while indulging his repertoire. Hes dressed in what I can only describe as a moo-moo, multicoloured, mainly light blue with yellow, red and white patterns that go off on tangents of their own. Its the same one that I saw him

wearing yesterday, and so I think it must be stinking, but then, if the truth were known, that mightve only been because he is jet black and icky sticky looking, his body moisture positively pouring from his epidermis, his Negroid hair glistening as sweat oozes out of his scalp and down his face, again, reminding me of Vesuvius. Vanessa told me that the guy has the biggest dick that anyone has ever heard of. I have no idea how she knows that, and she couldnt tell me either. I wondered though, if that was just urban myth, for certainly his moo-moo gave no suggestion as to his other woodenwares at all. But then there were a lot of drunken sluts around the village; word reaches every ear in a community of that size apparently it matters. The people milling around are typical. Obvious. Elderly couples all looking the same, their passports, if lost, could belong to any one of them. Occasionally I see a tour group playing follow the leader with a sheepdog. I used to be a sheepdog, and I smile. Soon theyd be shepherded back to their mobile pen that would take in the stunning Amalfi Coastline, treacherous from a coach window. I smirk, for I can hear their screams now as the coach leers precariously over the cliffs and down onto the water, the driver getting his kicks, but a well practised trick to earn better tips for safely negotiating them for what was surely an impossible route. But a beautiful journey, one that would live up to the promise of visions of well-appointed islands and yesteryears, millennium even; not just The Talented Mr Ripley setting, Capri and Ischia, floating side by side, steeped in history, and not just Roman, but of the Greeks before them. And the rocks rising from the ocean would elicit gasps for the profound beauty that theyd offer while the stunning bay of Naples, a piece of paradise that it is said the devil snatched as contraband when he was banished from heaven, but only to drop along the way; unable to fit it down into the mouth of Vesuvio as he created his divergent realm. Dangerous now though apparently, Naples, seedy, even, according to my friends, crime infested. Huh, where the hell isnt these days? But stunning from a distance nonetheless, certainly, old Lucifer had good taste - as well as having completed his mission on Earth. Somehow, I feel connected to Vesuvio; have written many things about the volcano, about Pompeii, love to go every time I am in the area; the history of the place ever intriguing, even as a child. Now through the patio doors of my bedroom, it looms in with all its commanding beauty, the first thing I see in the morning and the last at night, for I never close the blinds. I cannot see the single plume of smoke that it constantly

emits, a reminder that Vesuvio is lord and master, is in control, a warning to the locals that they should not worship false gods as the ancients had done. No, they must only worship caliche guy, who crossed the road and made it obvious that its not only woman that he tries to entice with his suave charm, swaggering while looking directly and nonchalantly into my face. Suggestively? He might be about 50-yrs-old now that I see him close up, but he does look good with it, I have to admit; knows how to carry it. It reminds me of why Im here; there is nowhere that I would rather reach that age than in my beloved Italy, no one that I would rather spend it with than Vanessa. She was in London with me for my 30th, so were Bananarama, Mexico for my 40th with some crazy lesbians we met up with from Toronto and with whom we had a blast on the night someone mistook me for Kurt Russell, an Englishman, to boot. That was a first; Ive had Sting, Bono, Colin Farrell, Orlando Bloom, but Kurt Russell? Must have been the frizz in my hair. But more than just that now; a blessing to have come at this time, Vanessas mother, Harelda, just having passed unexpectedly, but not before finding out that she was going to be a grandmother. Dear Harelda, she was here during one of my own trips we both stayed in that tiny little apartment actually, had a lot of fun exploring this place. It was Christmas then and she was a hoot as usual. I can still see her pretending to need a walking frame and forgetting it, running to the loo after a few drinks at a New Years do when she positively ran across the lobby of the hotel where we were having dinner with Gianlucas, apparently, Mafia, but certainly, well to do, family. It was like having dinner with the Sopranos though, and coming from Hull in Northern England, Harelda was as equally unpretentious as the mafia was genuinely glamorous, drooling her food and speaking in a broad dialect perhaps not even understood by other British let alone them, embarrassing Vanessa. But they were gracious, enjoyed her as I did. Yes, that was a lovely Christmas, and to be in catholic Italy with its staunch traditions, the classily decorated, freezing square with the musicians apparently not feeling the cold at all, was almost fairytale-esque, for Id never been to Italy outside of summer - 'cept those one or two times in ski resorts, that one in Milan and years later, Turin, but still.... Its very different today than it was; more modern, noisy; even the beating drum coming from the jet-black guy somehow out of place now, annoying, the constant chatter of tourists in their many languages and the waiters who know how to work the cultures for the best tips; charming in all of them. The dragging of chairs on the cobbles not mattering to anyone else but me making me wonder about just when I became so intolerant. It might be different next time though, and I hope so, despite an element of its European charm being sacrificed, perhaps; the mayor talking about pedestrianising the centre of Sorrento; one too many tourists having been injured by the traffic that seems to just go around in circles like in that movie The Truman Show, no left and no right in the road, apparently, nowhere to go, not really. Certainly the rustic narrow streets, that I refer to, for whatever reason as the Lanes, but which Vanessa refers to as the Drains, but constricted streets anyway, looking as if someone had pulled their laces too tight, can be deathly; lined with touristy shops

where the owners could shake hands or slap each other without leaving their respective establishments. But a place people are drawn to, cluttered, not expecting traffic as they peruse small shops filled with comparatively tasteful indigenous wares and where they can sample limoncello, the local liqueur. Not a good idea, perhaps, the meandering tourist already in danger, let alone being half cut on top of having beer for breakfast. For me, the lanes are a great place, for there is one store where I can get the only leather sandals that I have ever really loved, and this time, perhaps, Ill be taking home two pairs; the last worn to death far too soon during the last hot summer in Vancouver. But one cant get by the doddery fools that visit here in May, let alone escape the locals vying to use the winding, twisting roads as a racecourse, frantic Mr Beans everywhere. One better have medical insurance. Caliche guy looks as blinkered as his horse now, sitting where the old man was, his face in his chin, increasingly his fathers son. I rather suspect his business does better after lunch when the Brits have found the prospect of the experience of having everyone gawp at them in a horse drawn carriage less embarrassing with the high of the sun and the effects of the limoncello. Or perhaps hes bored because the caliche has largely been replaced by what Vanessa calls a wally-trolly a contraption that looks like an open-sided train but actually a carriage of the kind that arrives you in Disneyworld. Perhaps its because of the Sorrento Fun Bus, or the other Big Red Bus thats roofless, both of which have also appeared since my last visit, vehicles offering round trips to all of the sites around the small town that caliche guy might not be able to reach with his old horse; the cliffs side into which the town was built offering up scenery infinitely more rustic; small cobbled roads lined by olive trees and bushes of almonds, meant only for young stallions.

Indeed the area is famous for its limoncello, but this is something I can now buy, unfortunately, in Vancouver, which takes the fun out of taking some home with me these days. But they grow hybrids of oranges and lemons here and the tasting experience obligates one to buy anyway alongside the fridge magnet and couple of wooden spoons with ceramic handles thatll come off in the dishwasher something that they dont have here in general; still doing dishes the old fashioned way. But perhaps thatll change soon too? Certainly, Vanessa has one now. Smoking bans are already in effect, have been for a while, just like everywhere else. But in Italy... geez, even the midwives here have a fag dangling from their mouths during delivery. Yes Sorrento seems to be catching up in every respect; they even have wifi... as unreliable as it can be. I can take the annoyance of the racket going on; integral as it is, but the fairly attractive French couple now sitting next to me with the very, I am reluctant to add, ugly and extremely badly behaved baby, brings my breakfast beer story to a halt as it hits me with a rubber ball for the third time. I practice my well-versed European arrogance and throw them a look that tells them they need to reprimand the child and not laugh at his antics. Yes, a look that tells them the brat is an annoyance to everyone else but them, but they seem oblivious as they laugh in that French manner that can't really be translated to writing, you know the one, where it sounds like a pig above its station, haughty. I imagine they stink like people say the French do, and I smirk at the ridiculousness of that and the heights that my anger can reach privately within my otherwise enlightened and love everybody in the universe self. But it is not the ugly babys fault... and I'm sure hell grow into those features. Tomorrow we will drive to Florence. It will be serene, Tuscany. Quiet, with square buildings and rolling vineyards (to which Ive contributed a great deal of my money) everywhere around to drink in. And next week, Rome again, for I threw two coins in the Trevi Fountain last I was there and high time to cash one of them in. And so Im reminded as to why I came out early, apart from swapping the noise of the cleaners vacuum for the hustle of the village, I had to go shopping; see if they had my size in the nice shorts that I saw yesterday in the shop that I always find something to wear in, a place that might actually be too cheap for me if it were to be in Vancouver. They didnt, but I bought a pair anyway; theyll fit after a few more meals and a suitable belt, Im sure, for what I want, I always get. By contrast, I buy a plain top

that might be too small for my stomach since Ive arrived here cos they don't have a larger one, but its okay, itll fit when I get back home, and anyway, I also bought a plain light coloured vest yesterday thatll hide the cheese and ham induced midriff; thatll stop me from looking like one of the tourists, plus its important to not look patterned in a city like Florence, Im sure. The child is becoming increasingly belligerent, and I want to pick it up the way its parents should be doing, shake the fucking living hell out of it. Or perhaps thats just the effect of having beer for breakfast kicking in; the way my father used to get; the healthy flush of my skin not from the sun after all. The end

Copyright 2011 - S P Mount. Awesome Inc. template.