Saturday, November 29, 2008

chiamo martello. daniel martello.

ciao regazzi,

i know, i know, you've been anxiously awaiting word from martello. well, maybe not so anxiously. maybe not at all, given the throroughly amusing musings of trofie wife, but it's about time the lesser half weighs in. all 70 kg. trofie wife has warned me against writing of my job, for fear of legal complications, so i will keep to the personal and philosophical rather than professional.

from my end, it's been quite an interesting experience, hurdling from the intense pace--academic, social and professional--of grad school in philly to married life in an italian village. shutters are drawn for three midday hours and then again in the evening, when the coffee and studio buzz only used to start brewing. trofie wife's transition from tirelessly helping the unfortunate to wide-eyed-helping herself to gelato (her fave flava: nocciola) has been equally stark. i wonder if there is an association between gelato tastes and personality types. is robyn hazlenutty? am i gianduia-y (choco/hazlenut mix)? was the large, unshaven guy in line the other day fiordilatte-y (lit. milk blossom)? feel free to post your comments.

anyways, we are comfortably settled in a charming apartment owned by an eccentric old lady i met on the bus, who has a profound habit of socially accosting anybody who will lend an ear. especially kind foreigners. especially those who take the same bus daily. she means well. she even stopped by the other day to give us a spare 2009 church calendar. happy santa catalina d'alessandria day everybody! doubtless you've already taken trofie wife's virtual tour of our abode.

trofie wife's blogging has been thoroughly detailed, but some additional thoughts, on venice:
who would've thought, the same town known for its fanciful canals, romantic gondolas, ornate palazzos and piazzas, was also the originator of the ghetto? the 'geto', or foundry, was an industrial area to which venice's jewish population was constricted by gates from dusk til dawn (during the day they were allowed out with color-coded identifying accessories, and to practice certain approved trades such as money-lending but sadly neither architecture nor i would guess non-profit management), from 1516 until napoleon's liberation in 1797. fortunately, we were there in 2008 (pics in trofie wife's blog).

our rapid-fire jaunt through the architecture biennale was quite interesting. highlights included a sleek, digitally-fabricated reinterpretation of a house, clearly more remarkable for its sculpted form (think whimsical design meets fiberglass racecar shell) than its sheltering qualities. also an interesting video installation takes the viewer seamlessly around the world via gondola to see both real and mock venetian canals while listening to an unseen gondolier's narrative on urbanism, tourism, culture clash and commerce. trofie wife got a bit lost gardening in a drag-and-drop interactive landscape of sculpted steel pipes, while i feasted on a radial city plan of rome presented in a pizza box with rivers of pesto amidst a tomato grid and cheesy edifices. at a second site we literally ran (iguacu falls style, for any southstreettosouthamerica blog readers) through a couple of the national pavilions, which was quite a shame, but we fortunately did catch the belgian pavilion, festive despite its austere warning signs (photos below).

from the belgian sorpresa to the milano centrale soppressa:

soppressa does not mean surprise, though it might as well. it means suspended. arriving in milano (not just a delectable pepperidge farm treat), we stood in the vast train shed (you could fit several 30th street, penn and union stations in there) looking up at the solari departure board (the wonderful, mechanical flip-flap schedule boards invented by the solari bros. of italy), amidst a crowd of would-be travellers. one column was filled with many 'treno soppresso' signs. this was not the expected 'ritardo' (late) or train type (IC for intercity, ES for eurostar, TGV for hi-speed, Reg. for regionale, etc.). our train was actually not listed at all, we thought perhaps a glitch of the flipping and flapping of the board, and we remained hopeful. instead this turned out to be our first major encounter with the maxim 'at least under mussolini the trains ran on time'. turns out there was a train strike, and we were out of the loop. transit strikes are regular enough that we now know to consult the online strike schedule before any trips. fortunately we were able to get on a 6am train back to genova after a quick stayover in milan.

back here in arenzano, stormy weather reappeared yesterday after a two-week strike of its own, with a night of violently shaking window shutters, and then actual hail and snow in the mini ecosystem around my cliffside office. this picture is from the last round of storms, depicting the seasonal after-work happy hour joint/lunchtime ice cream spot just below the office. the stairs, railings, and roof were whisked away into the angry mediterranean two weeks ago. also note the tenuous electrical wiring, encased and mounted along the embankment, was also pulled into the Bay of Genoa. this sparked rolling office blackouts--fortunately the computers are on generators, so we drafted in the dark a bit (sounds like a bruce springsteen song...)

on the agenda: to go to a bar and order 'un martini. scrollata, non mescolata'

ciao for now,
baci e gelato,
martello e trofie wife

1 comment:

Martello Minore (Leah) said...

My favorite gelato flavors are coffee and mint, so perhaps I'm energizing and refreshing!!!