Sunday, July 30, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
The picture above illustrates what I did today, except not in my wedding dress, and not on a divan. Five hours without power today. This is a recurring theme up in this joint. I guess I could have gone into town but most likely they were without power as well. Unlike power losses in the U.S./Canada, our power outages are due neither to energy crises scheduling nor storms.
Tonight is J's last class as well as the due date for his final paper. It will be nice to have evenings together from now on.
Tomorrow I will be spending the morning at the gym where I hope to catch some sort of class like beginner yoga or step. Everyone raves about yoga but in my experience it doesn't seem to suit me well. I know everyone says they're not flexible at first and then after a few classes they have some huge sort of buddhist revelation and are able to bend their legs behind their heads and such. But I'm telling you, I'm really not flexible. It's genetic....my family is freakishly awkward and stiff. Anyway, the only time I've tried it is at home with a video so maybe if I actually take a class I might be able to walk away with a better opinion and not a splitting headache.
Now that I have high-speed internet and some time, I've discovered a tasty treat, that being "You tube." I no longer have to worry about losing touch with pop culture due to my lack of MTV/Muchmusic access. Thanks to You Tube I was able to figure out what our favourite Italian song is actually called. (It's "Stop! Dimentica", btw.... it means, "Stop! Forget it" and not, "You are demented," as originally thought.) I also found the fantastic video for Sergio Mendes and the Black Eyed Peas' "Mas Que Nada." My obsession with music from Brazil is only getting worse. Why, oh why, is there not a US Navy base in, oh, I don't know, say, Rio de Janeiro?
This weekend I will do multiple picture days. I bet y'all can't wait. Now that we have a digital camera, I'm building quite the arsenal of excellent and interesting pictures. No really.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Friday night we went to a dinner party hosted by our friend Ewelin. The occasion? A visit from her parents and brother from Poland. No matter where I go, I meet Polish people. Our history goes back to my days in day care where all the other kids could speak polish and would do so for most of the day, leaving me to feel somehow inadequate. As a result, I took a "beginner" polish class in my second year of university. The first couple of classes gave me hope until the prof. realized everyone in the class but me was fluent. The rest of the year was a blur. Sure, I passed, but only because I knew the difference between a direct and indirect object..... not because I actually learned the language. It seems that after noticing that these students were born in Krakow and the like, the dean made them all take an entrance test to make sure they didn't actually know the language (their knowlege would obviously nullify the "beginner" designation.) Naturally, a fact about which they all later bragged, they failed this exam on purpose so they could take the class and get easy credit.
Anyway, the party's guests included 9 Polish people, 1 Italian and J and I. 3 of the poles could speak italian and 2 could speak decent english. The end result? A table full of half sentences and mixed languages. Because I know a handful of words in both italian and polish, if i was asked a question that I actually understood, my answers were a stunted and poor mixture of both. For instance: Non mowim Italiano.
J commented that he kept expecting subtitles to pop up. That would have been very helpful. Where are those opera projectors when you need them?
All of the stress of a multi-lingual dinner culminated in J's later statement, "better safe than never." Thanks Ricky. (TPB.)
Sunday we went to Siracusa to the "Teatro Greco." I'm sure it doesn't take a degree in linguistics to figure out what that means. It was pretty cool. Siracusa is a beautiful region of Sicily, my favourite so far. Lush, green, humid and full of great beaches.
See above for pictures from this "crazy" weekend.
Monday, July 24, 2006
As you can see, and as promised, the Italian air show was this weekend. This first picture is of me next to the aforementioned Sky Pig. To the left of the picture you'll notice some dudes in flight suits under the other wing. Ya, there were a whole lot of flight suits on display that day. I guess that's okay....IF YOU'RE A PILOT! Most of them weren't.... a lot of them were flight crew. Like the guy that makes sure the doors are latched before take-off.
Before I get into further frustrating detail, here is a picture taken from the road in front of our house. This is Mount Etna.... spewing lava. Yup, we could even hear it rumbling. Good times. She seems to have calmed down for the moment which is good for the ol' blood pressure.
She was a rumblin' real bad Friday morning so much so the noise snuck into my dream and I woke up in a sweat thinking we were being told to evacuate. Once I figured out that this was not the case, I went back to sleep only to wake up AGAIN to an even bigger rumbling this time to what could only have been a harrier hovering directly over my house. No seriously, I've never heard a plane so loud in a residential area before.
Speaking of a harrier, it was the only highlight of the airshow. It was really cool.
The tube covered in red is the device that is pointed down during the hover maneuver, shown above. And that's the end of my technical explanation.
Okay, now for the rest of the show. We arrived at about noon. Nothing was going on. We wandered around the planes on display for a while, baked in the sun and tried to catch a glimpse of which planes would be going up. Well, it seems that the Italians are really into propeller planes. Yup, we saw a whole lot of props, lemme tell you. And it's not like it was constant activity in the air..... displays of propeller might were few and far between. Finally at 3:30 there was the harrier and its hovering fanciness.... a touch and go.... and then a cotton candy landing. Nice. There were about 11 F-16 looking jets sitting out on the runway but by 4:45 J and I had had enough of the sun and propeller acrobatics so we rolled out. I can't wait to get back to the states and see an actual air show with actual jets. Even the glimpse I caught of a distant air show in Saskatchewan of all the rural and random places, was better than this.
Oh ya, and then there was the whole panini fiasco. First of all, they were cooking pork and chicken out in the open baking sun. Buddy boy cook had no shirt on and the woman making the sandwiches.... no gloves. Mmmmmmm, yum. Anyway, despite these blatant health code violations, J and I were hungry. But an expeditious delivery of these sandwiches to our bellies? Not to be ,friends. It seems that many a stinky, sweaty Italian man was also hungry so there were many people in the "line." More like a mob of people pushing and shoving, yammering at the sandwich girl. Being a polite Canadian, I find it difficult to push my way through crowds, but I'm starting to learn that if you want to get anywhere in this country, you have to put all of those crazy notions aside.
So that was my Saturday. Friday and Sunday were fun-filled, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.
I almost forgot, in order to practice my french, I asked a french pilot to have his picture taken with me. That was fun. The plane the french flight suits were gathered under looked like a P-3 but the only way to tell it was french from a distance was by the giant french flag they had hung from the wing. Later, the flag was gone. Probably stolen.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Above is a picture of some pretty cool cats at the afore-mentioned navy housing party I went to this past weekend. J wasn't able to drink because the housing project has a zero tolerance policy toward drinking and driving. When leaving the gate everyone is subject to a breathalizer. (sp?) Even though I knew he wouldn't blow over, my heart was racing nonetheless as he blew into a tube that looks like it was put together by an uncoordinated toddler. It started beeping, this really made my heart race, and then it beeped again when it was done reading. Oh no! It malfunctioned and he's gonna get busted, I thought to myself. Luckily I was just being paranoid as usual. He blew clean all four times he had to do it that night.
I, on the other hand, did not have such restrictions. I discovered a tasty new drink called, "Pink Panty." Don't let the cute title fool you, it's actual quite lethal and dangerous. It makes people say and do things they wouldn't otherwise do, and by they, I mean me. After downing only half of one of those bad boys, or should I say, girls, I informed a Lieutenant that as a self-proclaimed Lieutenant Commander, I outrank him and he owes me a salute. Luckily this dude was an incredibly good sport. Lucky for me. Lucky.
Below, B and J prancing down "Triq Il-Merkanti."
Okay, the picture I posted earlier of "Where's Waldo" is of my first bachelorette party I mentioned over a month ago. I finally got the pictures emailed to me. Below is another picture from that crazy night of me and my good friend Sims. Drinking straight from the bottle that night was not only allowed, but strongly encouraged.
I had the "pleasure?" of seeing a P-3 take off the other day. Our friend Louie has the perfect name for those lumbering beasts: sky pigs. I still can't believe those things can fly. And you should have seen the amount of gas being burned! If the world ever runs out of oil, I blame P-3 squadrons.
We were without power for 3 hours last night. This is a routine occurrence in these here parts. Maybe if y'all got around to using normal plug-ins this wouldn't happen.
What, ignorant? Me?
Monday, July 17, 2006
I'm Back..... For Real
Yes ladies and gentlemen, we finally have internet at home. Phew! And not only is it internet, it's NOT crappity dial-up so I can upload pictures till my heart's content. Yahoo. Oh ya, I taught myself how to compress files so that saves time as well. I tend to get very irritable with every passing moment seated uncomfortably in front of a computer.
Today's update is probably going to be a collage of random information due to my month-long absence. So here we go!
Let's see.... driving in Italy will kick things off. In short, it's crazy. Narrow roads and lanes that don't mean anything. Caught in a traffic jam on the autostrade coming back from Taormina a couple of weeks ago, we had not only motorbikes, but actual cars passing us impatiently on the right shoulder.
We drove to Palermo on July 4 to drop off my friends at the airport and I noticed that there weren't any signs telling us how many more kilometres to towns and cities. I found this a bit annoying because I have spent my life on road trips reading every km count and multiplying them by 0.6 to figure out how many more hours/minutes until our arrival providing we were travelling at a speed of 100 km/hr. What can I say, I like numbers. So the absence of these signs made me feel like I was travelling in a timeless vortex and that we would never arrive..... anywhere.
Italians do have, however, helpful signs such as the one in this picture that not only tell you where you are going, but also, where you are NOT going, clearly marked by a GIANT RED LINE through the name of the region. Just in case you thought you were heading towards Catania, YOU ARE NOT! TURN AROUND..... DONKEY!
J and I listen to an Italian top 40 radio station in the hopes that hearing the Italian will help us learn the language. We have Italian friends that could help us, but it's hard to nail Italians down to making definite plans. Anyway, for the most part, the songs on this station are really good. I especially like that new Black Eyed Peas' samba tune....if anyone knows the name, please let me know. I have yet to pick out the announcement of the song amongst the barrage of foreign Italian words coming out of the speaker at 1 billion miles a minute. We also like a song that we think is called, "Sta dementico....per...che." We think it means, "you are demented.....be-cause."
The only complaint I have is that I hear that new collabo song by Bono and some chick, I think it's Mary J. Blige, doing a HORRIBLE version of "One." Bono......dude..... what were you thinking. If I hear that song one more time, I'm gonna blow like Mount Etna, which, by the way, was spewing lava the other night. We could see it from our balcony.
Jamiroquai is on the afore-mentioned station right now. They played in Palermo a few days before I was there and I'm very choked that I didn't know beforehand. I HAVE to see them while I'm in Europe because they never play Canada, and rarely play the States.
Oh pooh, looks like Jon Stewart isn't on today. Usually it's on 3 times a day on AFN, giving me many a chance to catch it. Lately he has been HILARIOUS, yo..... especially about the "Tae-Po Dong" (sp?). Not that he's not normally funny. I love him.
Upcoming topics: Party at Navy Housing
Italian Air Show, July 22
The P-3: Sky Pig? Discuss.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Seeing as how we are going with our IT friend to buy a modem and will probably have our home internet up and running tonight, I thought I'd give you all a break from pictures of myself cause as soon as I have unlimited access, the more than 100 wedding photos are most likely going to be all up in this piece. You know you want it.
Anyway, this is a picture of a Lido (paid beach), Fontane Bianche, near Siracusa. It is by far the nicest and cleanest beach I've ever been to. White sand, warm mediterranean water. Paradise.
I'm a little tired today. I got a ride with J to the base this morning. B isn't so good with early mornings. I then waited for a shuttle for 35 minutes to take me on the 1/2 hour trek to the other base. Went to the hospital to get my PPD read, and then took my screening papers to the appropriate office. Had to wait around for about an hour because of some mix-up (some paper got lost and a record didn't get created.... such is life) and then finally got the medical thing wrapped up and signed off on. Phew.
I think I will grab a coffee, read my book and then drag my sorry behind to the gym. I may even lounge by the pool afterwards. Ah, la vita e bella.
Today is the first day this week there is not a cloud in the sky. We (and by we, I mean I) have had thunderstorms all week. No seriously, just above my house. The storm cells seem to circle around the volcano, never quite leaving the area, and saving their loudest and most formidable lightning for just when I think they have left and am no longer scared. Yes, that's right folks, I'm a little frightened by thunder and lightening..... go ahead and add it to the list.
Johnny, get back to E-ton already so I can call you!
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
After the wedding ceremony, we walked down the market street in Valletta, "Triq Il-Merkanti." Our wonderfully talented friend Mike ran down the street ahead of us, sweating bullets, and snapped beautiful shots. So innovative and beautiful that he inspired a Japanese man to follow in his footsteps with a video camera. Naturally I felt a bit self-conscious what with the stares from the crowd, but it was a great time nonetheless.
On the way back to the car, we happened to pass by the Canadian Consulate. Naturally I squealed and insisted that my picture be taken in front of it. There was a shirtless Maltese man across the narrow street in an open garage who was watching us with humored curiosity. As I was carrying on, he said, "are you Canadian?" "Yes!" "Let's go inside then!" Turns out this shirtless man is the janitor/caretaker/landlord? for the building. Who would have thought that on my wedding day I would be setting foot in a Canadian consulate.....on a Saturday..... when no one else was there. No other Canadian, that is. Of course the American wedding party and my American husband came in as well which is probably grounds for an international incident of some sort.
As for the picture in front of the building, that will have to wait, since this computer is being dumb and I can't post it.
We finally signed up for internet service but of course we don't have it yet. Apparently we will get an email when the service reaches our house which could be another 2-4 weeks. Yup, that's Europe for ya. If you can imagine the most illogical, slow and inconvenient way of doing something, that's pretty much how everything is done in Italy. I'm not complaining though, this is all teaching me to be more patient and less enraged. Probably good for my blood pressure.
Speaking of blood pressure..... I start the overseas medical screening today. Yahoo. I set the appointments up all by myself! Doesn't sound that impressive, but lemme tell you.....navigating the system is no easy task.... especially as a Canadian with no social security number. Yeesh.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Still no internet at home. Sorry folks. Here's a picture to tide you over. Just spent the weekend with my friend Sheldon and his girlfriend, Juliet. Toured the island a bit.
Happy belated Canada and Independence Day! On July 1st, I celebrated Freedom Fest on base and on July 4th, we navigated insane traffic in Palermo.
I have mysterious and swollen bites all over my body. Ouch, it burns. I'm gonna have to make like Cartman and bathe in calamine lotion tonight.
Hopefully our internet will be up and running in the next 10 days otherwise I may just go postal.