Today I want to share with you all the things I’ve been collecting in my head and camera that show a different way of doing things. I may have mentioned some of these things in earlier posts.
The day I arrived in Bologna, I saw the way they announce births there. I haven’t seen it in any other city. Perhaps there is a section in the newspaper too. I didn’t check, but I liked it. My friend, Rachel, said the apartment across from her has had their ribbon up now for quite some time.
Walking around Venice, I have seen some notices posted announcing deaths. Again, perhaps there is an obituary section in the newspaper, but this is a way of announcing in the neighborhood. I saw an office and a word that looked something like “funeral” and I went closer. This is what it was:
Here is a closeup:
The questions that entered my mind were 1) When did they take those pictures? 2) Is there a cross on each notice? 3) What about Jews and Muslims who die here, what do they have on their notices?
And if you are a student who lives in Bologna and want to advertise, this is a popular method. Especially for sharing or renting rooms.
The day I arrived in Venice, when I was being shown the flat, I asked where the refrigerator was when we were in the kitchen.
This next thing I have seen in each of the three places I’ve stayed so far. The dish drying rack is above the sink. Sometimes inside a cupboard, and sometimes not. In Bologna, it was where dishes were stored.
I noticed a strange looking toaster the first day.
It’s not a pop-up toaster. You lift out the two bread-holders, squeeze them open, insert the bread, put them in the toaster, and set the timer to the amount of time you want. When the buzzer sounds, you lift the holders, squeeze, and the toast falls out.
I couldn’t find the outlet so I asked Elisa who said it was to the right side of the stove. I looked in vain on the right side of the burners and oven. Several days later I realized she meant the stove that creates hot water. It is the only outlet in the kitchen. Here is a picture:
I asked Elisa the first day about garbage collection. I had to get out my pad of paper to take notes. Garbage is picked up in plastic bags, but not special garbage bags, every day except Sunday. You must put the bags outside the front door between 7 and 8 am. You can’t leave them there overnight because of rats. Paper is left outside in bags on Tuesdays and Fridays and glass and plastic bottles on Wednesday and Saturday. Yesterday I was on the terrace and I heard an unfamiliar noise. I looked down and saw the paper collection taking place:
A neighbor on one of the lower floors had a window shutter open in the picture above.
Everything that comes into houses and shops in Venice arrives by boat and is carried to its destination. Here is a common sight.
Lots of muscular men, young and old, working like this on the streets and in boats. There is a construction site near my flat that I can see from the terrace. The staging area seems to be a traveling boat. Also, you can see in the picture that the construction site is covered in a white plastic kind of material. This is my friend Dave’s favorite material to use at Burning Man to keep the sun off his RV and to give shade. So the plastic here performs the function of hiding the “unsightly” mess of building and to protect the workers from sun. In this picture, the building is not so high. In Piazza San Marco, the same material is hung on one of the huge buildings.
Speaking of muscular men, young and old, I see gondoliers every day in “my” canal. I kept hearing a certain shouting sound the first week and vaguely wondered what it was. Then I read somewhere that when they come to a blind turn they shout something that sounds like “oy-eeee,” to warn boats that might be coming. Now I use that sound to trigger me to jump up from the terrace to have a look. People often look up and wave. They are so pleased to be IN the gondola and I am so pleased to be SEEING the gondola from my terrace.
Here is picture of this mutual recognition, but taken near La Fenice:
One thing I never wondered about until I came face to face with it was how and where all the boats get fuel. NOT the gondolas. That’s obvious! Here is what I found right near my flat.
And the prices. I think I remember in an earlier post working out the dollar equivalents.
Now here are a few signs and sights I thought were interesting.
It seems that there is a problem with people eating in places where they are not wanted. I think the problem is that there are not enough chairs or places where people can sit who are not eating in restaurants. Whenever you see a chair and approach it, you see that it is connected to a nearby restaurant. Here is one of my favorite signs:
If you were going to abbreviate “Centrale” as in “Bologna Centrale Train Station,” how would you spell it? Here is what I found:
When I used to sell my bustiers at crafts fairs (http://www.sparkleplentycreations.com), it was always a problem if the sale lasted more than one day. We spent a lot of time trying to close up the tent. Here is a quick and dirty solution that seems to work at an antique fair I saw at closing time:
One day I saw this in the window of a shop and had to take a picture to send my friend Susan, who lives in Huntington Beach.
I was having lunch one day last week next to a canal (it seems to be my favorite place to eat) when I heard a loud thump. I looked over and saw a woman who had landed on the pavement from a motor boat. She was later joined by a guy. They parked the boat pretty far away from the pavement. I waited to see how they would get back on the boat, but was in conversation and missed it! I only knew they were leaving by the thump. Here they are making their getaway.
I was at the Zattere late one afternoon having a gelato when I saw a hulking huge cruise ship slowly making its way along the water. I was invited to sit down at a table with two American women who were also entranced with the scene. People on the shore were waving to them, but they were quite still. Thousands of them. Watching us like we were in a zoo. It was quite chilling.
And here’s the last thing, I promise. Two different gondoliers taking a break.
At the end of “my” canal, two gondolas were parked, and one guy seemed to be tagged as the one who stayed behind to guard the boats.
Look quickly at the two gondolas. Aren’t you reminded of a large pair of shoes?
With that, I’m saying goodbye for now.