Thursday, January 8, 2015


I knew it.
I put a provocative title, and you pervs can’t resist.

I hate to disappoint you, but this isn’t that sort of blog.
Not this week, anyway.
But I will mention seduction and even aphrodisiacs shortly. So keep reading . . . . really.

I haven’t written a post in a while, and I felt a little guilty, knowing that a few friends back home count on it to have something to read while they drink their morning coffee. So, this post will be just some random, somewhat stream-of-consciousness impressions since the last post.

And it’s also helping me avoid going out in the bright sunlight after having had a little too much to drink and too little sleep last night in Milano.
[Friends who know me well are now saying, “Yeah, too much for her is about a teaspoon full of booze”. It’s true. I’m out of practice with carousing, and have never had a high tolerance for alcohol.]

So, since Sicily and my friend Paolo’s farm, I have been to Giugliano in Campania, Napoli for Capodanno (that’s new years’ eve), Rome (well, the train station and airport), Zurich Switzerland, Milan, Italy, and now Brescia.

From roof of Milan's Duomo at sunset.

Interior of duomo.

Statue in Milan's cathedral.

Castle at Lake Garda

Roman floor, Museo Santa Giulia, Brescia.

Crypt from old monastery remains, Museo Santa Giulia, Brescia.

Fresco, Museo Santa Giulia, Brescia.

Perhaps I’ll write separate posts about some of those places. For now, and what prompted the title of this post, is a memory of Giugliano. In a previous post I mentioned the visiting of relatives who speak dialect, and how it makes my head hurt. I sit, and try to look sweet, just observing them flailing their hands and getting loud.

But I escape to the bathroom, and am intrigued by some bottles on the shelf near the sink. Perfume bottles.
One says “Afrodisia” and the other says “Seduzione”.

I’m hooked. I have to get nosey and smell them [ok, I just read that over and I swear the pun was not at all intentional].
I expect to be swept away when I do, of course. I expect to hear choirs of angels, or maybe a sweet and dirty bass giving me that bow-chicca-bow-bow sound.
I expect to feel giddy and light-headed, my heart swelling, my brow sweating, a flame igniting in my eyes for the next person I see.

But it would appear that this country known for its embrace of “amore” in every form, has very . . . particular tastes.

“Afrodisia”, it turns out, smells like Ivory soap.  Which is pleasant enough, I suppose. But it’s never really revved my motor, if you know what I mean. I’m not exactly purring like a kitten from this experience. So I move on to the next bottle.

“Seduzione” smells like cigars, left in an ashtray for a week. I know Italians are big smokers. Is this an Italian thing? Is seduction relying on the nicotine addict’s Pavlovian craving response? If so, it’s a brilliant strategy. . . if you want to ensnare a smoker.
But I’m not a smoker. So, it basically made me gag, and now I understand why this bottle was still nearly full.

Yes, I know. This has nothing to do with Terroir. Although, if you can find a connection, I’d love to hear about it.
I’m just rambling. Did I mention I’m in a metropolitan center and had very little sleep? Deep thoughts just aren’t happening today.

So . . . as we drive back from visiting relatives—and when we drive anywhere with Diego, really—I am amazed and terrified.
I can’t figure out if this man I adore is the world’s greatest driver or the world’s worst driver. Perhaps he manages to be both, simultaneously.
Always I am white-knuckled, holding on to whatever I can hold on to. Always, in the car with him, I find religion—every religion. I pray to any manner of god who will listen, just to get me home in one piece and spare my life from him and all the other Neapolitan and Giuglianese drivers.

I know Italy is a country where laws can sometimes be rather arbitrarily applied or ignored. This clearly extends to driving, as well.

And yet, Diego lives. He is into his 70s now. His driving hasn’t killed him yet, nor anyone else that I’m aware of.  . . but then, I know he’s very handy with a shovel and spends a lot of time out in that garden of his . . . at night . . . in tears . . . so yeah, anyway. . . .

Oh, there’s the terroir connection.
Sometimes, especially in Italy, the land is where we hide our mistakes.
Should probably dig a hole for those perfume bottles, too.