Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sicilian Sweets

Last Sunday – Agosto 26 San Italo – we headed down to the Feltrinelli International Bookstore just near Piazza della Repubblica. There are two Feltrinelli shops – the regular, un-air-conditioned branch for hardy Italians who could stand the reportedly 43c heat and the International air-conditioned branch for wimpy foreigners. Being in the later class we did a quick run through of the former and a long visit to the later.

Amongst the treasures we picked up for a mere 135 Euros (books are expensive everywhere): Gambero Rosso’s 1000 page 2007 guide to Italian wines, their 2007 guide to family run osterie and trattorie for Italy, Beppe Severgnini’s La Bella Figura – a very funny take on Italy and Italians, Ancient Rome on Five Dinarii a Day, some maps and a few guide books so we can sound moderately intelligent when giving friends the guided tour. By the time we had finished the store was closing to give the staff a lunch break – 1330-1600 – and we were getting a bit peckish ourselves.

Fortunately just around the corner in an (un-air-conditioned but trendy) arcade is Dagnino, a Sicilian purveyor of foods, wines, sweets and pastries. Two prosciutto-cheese toast, two glasses of real ice tea and two granitas (one almond-one lemon) later we felt up to seeing what goodies where on offer inside.
Marzipan fruit
Marzipan fruit
Marzipan fruit
Marzipan Fruit
Aside from these incredible marzipan fruits, there were Turkish Delight of every possible flavor, mascarpone-filled cannoli, pastries, 35 types of gelato, Almond wine, a goodly supply of very expensive Sicilian wines and various preserves – sweet and savory. It was hard to resist buying, what are reputedly the best, cannoli to take home but in that heat it would have had to be eaten on the spot. Just wait until the car arrives next month - Sicilian cannoli for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


To get into our complex – Villa Nomentana – you have to get past the Portero, have the key for the front gate, the key for the building and two keys for the main entrance to the apartment. Should you make it that far and decide to leave by the service entrance you are faced with this:
Overkill or what?
Is it me or does that just seem a bit like overkill? Or maybe there’s something about the neighbourhood we don’t know!

25 agosto – San Luigi di Franschi

The Tax Men Cometh

Tax evasion has become a major problem for a cash strapped Italian Government though there are people who claim it’s an honorable blood sport tradition that goes back to the Etruscans. A few weeks ago Prime Minister Prodi suggested that rather than issuing Ten Commandments for Driving and involving themselves in the legal debate over common-law/same-sex marriage, Big Ben and the Boys (aka The Church of Rome) would do better to preach a few sermons on not rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. He said that tax evasion is, after all, a form of theft and forbidden in that earlier set of Commandments. For his pains he was branded anti-clerical and told that the State should stay out of the affairs of the Church – though given their activities during the same-sex marriage debate apparently the reverse does not apply. His predecessor, Mr. Berlusconi – that great upholder of all of the Commandments, except it appears that one about Adultery – accused him of attempting to introduce communist ideas into the doctrine of Holy Mother Church. My father always told me it was Christ who did that but….

Tax collection and evasion has led to the creation of an incredibly large bureaucracy including a branch of the military: the Guardia di Finanza. These official looking gentlemen in their tight gray trousers, gray shirts with gold braid and smart caps are involved in customs, duty collection, and tax evasion big and small. And it often seems they go after the small with more dedication than the big. When you make a purchase in any establishment – whither it be a cappuccino or a new Lamborghini – you must be issued a receipt and when requested must present it to a member of the Guardia who may just happen to be lurking outside. If you don’t have a receipt both you and the shop owner are subject to an immediate and sizable fine.

As I was heading to the Embassy to check my e-mails yesterday – need I repeat still no Internet at home – I came across a small scene, the sort that makes life here interesting, between the G di F and a very attractive lady of a certain age. The two officers, like nuns they always come in pairs and they seem to do this stud cop-dud cop thing, are obviously challenging her on a purchase. She, well-tanned, dark-eyed, and of voluptuous figure, is wildly contesting the accusation being leveled at her. Stud Cop is just standing back surveying the scene and scenery while Dud Cop is sourly reading her the riot act. Broad gestures, much drama, rapid dialogue – Stud Guardia nods sympathetically and Dud Cop scowls. At that point I continued on my way, but I have a feeling Stud Cop’s Christian charity and love of God’s creatures would prevail and the miscreant would get of with a warning from Dud Cop. Not sure if that constitutes mixing Church and State?

23 agosto – Santa Rose di Lima

Friday, August 24, 2007


Betty Jean's Hibiscus
Betty Jean's Hibiscus 2Our friend Betty Jean donated plants from her terrrace when she was moving. I've never had much luck with hibiscus but this one seems healthy and is now on its second set of blooms in a week.

23 agosto – Santa Rose di Lima

The Mouths of Babes

We had dinner on Sunday night with old friends of Laurent's: Gülay, Julien and Elizabeth. He met Gülay and Julien when he was posted to Jordan. Over the years they have kept in contact from their various postings through the world. Laurent attended their wedding in Istanbul, visited them in London, they’ve visited him with their daughter Elizabeth in Beijing. They were returning from holiday in Tuscany and stopped off to say hello, meet me for the first time and show Elizabeth a bit of Rome.
Laurent and Will??
At dinner Elizabeth – who is six years old – amused herself by drawing pictures of those present. When I thanked her for not showing my gray hair she stated the obvious: That’s because I don’t have a gray pencil!

22 agosto – Santa Maria Regina

Getting To (Re)Know You

Laurent with a LioneLynette was asking if Laurent (I thought I'd include a picture of my Lione with a Lione at Villa Borghese) and I were on our honeymoon here in Rome and as romantic as it would be to say yes, I’m afraid the answer is no.

There has just been too much going on over the past few weeks. We’ve been dealing with the following, in no particular order:
  • A new dwelling – a very nice apartment in a lovely area but with its problems (more about that in another post.
  • A new neighborhood – where do you find what?
  • A new currency – those Euro coins are confusing as is any monetary system when you’re not use to it and we really have to stop thinking that 1 Euro = 1 CAD.
  • New Kitchen appliances – as silly as it sounds European washers, dryers etc are very different from their North American counterparts. You have to remember to dump the water out of the dryer when a cycle has finished or it will overflow. It takes 2 hours and 30 minutes to dry a small load and it’s often better to hang things out on the balcony to dry in the sun.
  • Laurent is trying to adapt to a new work environment – office set-up, colleagues, system, type of cases etc. That has put a great deal of stress on him and he is handling it well but ultimately we are here because of his work.
  • A very complex but efficient, public transportation system. We don’t have the car yet – and honestly the thought of driving in Rome has me a bit scared but we’ll leave that for another time. So far we’ve been able to get most places quickly – but then it is Ferragosto.
  • Ferragosto! (see almost every previous posting)
  • Language – see below
  • Only part of our belongings are here – Laurent’s air shipment arrived from Beijing but the two sea shipments (including most of my clothes) won’t be here until some time in late September. However we seem to be able to survive on what we have. I do a bit more laundry than normal but still have a clean shirt every day so I suppose I really don’t need a two-week supply of Land’s End Polo Shirts. And we’ve had people over for dinner twice since we arrived so it is possible to cook without that set of graduated French White casseroles!
  • A minor thing but a very different television system – did you know that out of 898 possible channels 1/3 are in Arabic, at least 150 are sex related – including 15 in Arabic! And I must do a post about Italian TV at some point – it’s hilarious.
  • We are trying to get to know each other and live with each other after three years apart.
And it’s that last point that probably is the most demanding – all the rest is inconsequential. There have been no great spats – well okay one… alright two – just that we are both use to living on our own and having things our own way. After all, despite what Laurent says, I’m the one who knows the correct direction to insert the toilet paper roll! And toothpaste tubes where given lids for a purpose.

But Odd Couple comedy routines aside it’s the adapting to each other’s rhythm that is creating the greatest challenge. Knowing when a silence simply means there’s nothing to say and when it means there’s a problem. I’ve lost count of the number of times either one of us has said: Everything okay? And got the reply: Yeah, Why? But fortunately those episodes are becoming fewer and fewer as the days go by. We are still able to finish each others sentences and often requests only have to be half-voiced to be met. A few more weeks and we should be into the same routine as any old married couple.

As for a honeymoon, well we have two long weekends coming up – Labour Day in September and Canadian Thanksgiving in October – and maybe a weekend at an inn in Tuscany may not be a bad idea. We are heading to Parma for the Verdi Festival at the end of October. We’re planning to stay at an Inn run by the great – now retired – tenor Carlo Bergonzi and his son. Word has it that it is comfortable and has an extremely good restaurant. So we can mix music, food and a chance to see the countryside around Parma.

22 agosto – Santa Maria Regina

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Parolo Inglese? Non! Que fachi?

There are many countries where language is not a problem for Laurent or I – the U.S., England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, France. Sure there may be the occasional problem understanding quaint local accents and idioms and often the natives have trouble understanding our mid-Atlantic or Québécois accents – though in the case of the later its mostly done to let you know that you are from a former colony (lost to Britain back in 1763) and therefore your French is inferior to the nasal, English-laced, honking of the average Parisian. But we can get by.

Here in Rome it has become obvious that getting by just won’t do, learning Italian is a must. In the major tourist areas English may be the lingua franca but here in Nomentana it’s Italian. Not that anyone is obnoxious about it – we’re in Italy not France – just that the average person here doesn’t speak English. I do have some vocabulary based on years of listening to opera but the chances of having to scream Ohime and faint into the arms of a fat tenor or husky barihunk (Ohime!) are extremely remote. Laurent has Spanish and there are enough similarities that he can get by for basics. But we are going to be here for four years and frankly Sunday night when we had to explain to the maid upstairs that water from her flower pots was cascading onto our balcony and soaking our guests, basic wasn’t enough.

So starting next Monday (27 agosto – Santa Monica) I will be spending four hours a day, five days a week in a classroom – Laurent will be taking a more intensive course in late September. At the moment we are five in the class – two young girls from Africa, a French chap, an Iranian woman and I. The school, Ciao Italia, has a good reputation and has come recommended by several friends and colleagues. We’ll see how good they are – if they can teach this old dog some new linguistic tricks they are good!

21 agosto – San Pio X Papa

Parlo del Piu del Meno

  • Saturday morning we were strolling down Via dell’Obelisco discovering the wonders of Villa Borghese when a young couple approached us and asked, in English, the way to the Borghese Palace. Thinking they wanted the Galleria Borghese we gave them directions. Misunderstanding the next question Laurent assured them that indeed this was the same Borghese family who had been the movers, shakers, Popes, Princes and Politicos of Roman history. “Yeah, kewl” said the young man “but is that the place where they filmed The Bachelor?”*
    Sic Transit Gloria!
  • Our friend Stephen was in an Italian hospital waiting for surgery. His Surgeon explained the procedure to him then asked him to sign the waiver prior to going under anesthetic. The good Doctor explained that he had two versions: the hospital’s version in Italian and an English version he had downloaded from an Australian website. He urged Stephen to sign the Italian one because he thought the Australian one “really too dramatic!”

    “Why they even talk about death,” he said with some astonishment! Stephen figured why tempt fate and signed the Italian one.

Treacherous Cobblestones
  • Many of the streets in the centre of the city are still paved with cobblestone which looks romantic but is hell on suspension systems – of the automotive variety and those supported by high- heeled shoes. In wet weather those smooth black stones become slick, slippery and treacherous for anyone to walk on and bloody dangerous for moto drivers. In the more heavily traveled areas they are being removed – by machines that peel them off the surface in a matter of minutes – and replaced by asphalt. As cobblestone is becoming impossible to find these days the old cobblestones are being recycled in the more historic, pedestrian areas of the city. When new cobblestone is needed it is being brought in from…… China!

*And before anybody jumps to conclusions they were, I blush to admit, Canadians.

19 agosto – San Italo

Le Limoncini

Friday night has become our regular night out for dinner. Not that we are unusual in that – dining out to celebrate the end of the work week is the normal way most everyone in Rome starts the weekend. There are a few favorite restoranti/trattori from previous trips that we planned to revisit. But last Friday (San Giocinto), with the Ferragosto closings, we choose a local restoranti that advertised that they were open during the whole month of August.

Le Limoncini is just a block away from the apartment, has pleasant sidewalk tables shielded from the street by lattice work and hedges, an interesting menu, and, for Rome, reasonable prices. The owner – large with an equally large moustache – mans the kitchen and his son – affable and as cute as a button – looks after the service. The waiters are professionals not never-been singers/actors/models/dancers between jobs and take their craft seriously.

We wandered over around 1945 – a bit early for the normal Roman to dine so we had a choice of tables. The obligatory bread and olives were set on the table – don’t think for a minute they’re a gift from the management, they show up on the bill at the end of the evening as a “cover.” We ordered a bottle of mineral water and began the serious business of deciphering the menu (Italian only in our neighbourhood.) We managed to put together a decent enough meal and ordered a really good Sardinian white to go with it.

Antipasto: Salmon in lemon and olive oil
Primi: Scampi Risotto
Secondi: Lemon Scaloppini
Dolce: Lemon Sorbet

Antipasto: Fried Zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella and anchovy
Primi: Gnocchi in gorgonzola and radicchio sauce
Secondi: Veal Milanese smothered in tomato and rocket lettuce
Dolce: Panna Cotta with strawberries

Espresso and amaro

The gnocchi were amongst the lightest I’ve ever tasted and Laurent wants me to try the Risotto the next time.* I hadn’t eaten stuffed zucchini flower since we lived in Mexico in 1987 and they were as delicious as I remember. All in all a fine meal – though next time I think I’ll do either a Primi or a Secondi not both.

The food was good but as the evening progressed people-watching became half the fun. The restaurant filled up with couples – young and old, male-female and male-male, – family groups, a single male diner and several ladies out with friends – including at least one sister with her Sister from the Ursuline Convent down the street. At one point a black sedan pulled up and out stepped a sinister-looking, tattooed, all-in-black Guido with a shaved head and a full-figured female companion on either well-muscled arm. They strode into the restaurant and reappeared several minutes later having done nothing more nefarious than pick up their take-out pizzas. Around 2200 a young couple strolled up with a baby in one of those carriages that puts a Smart Car to shame. They were greeted with great joy by a table of friends and family. The bambina was passed from person to person, smothered in kisses and hugs, proudly held by a gentleman we took to be grandpa, squealed her approval at being the centre of attention then promptly fell asleep as the adults went about the serious business of ordering food. When we left at 2300 the place was still full and a young couple slid quickly into our vacated table.

*We went back with some friends who are visiting from the UK on Sunday night and were greeted like regulars. A few very tasty antipasti were suggested, Elizabeth, the 6 year old, was treated as the equal to any of the other diners and Laurent was right, the Risotto was wonderful. I have a feeling its going to become a bit of a Friday night haunt.

18 agosto – Sant’Elena

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Reese Report – Rome II

Reese in the Park
Well Reese has laid claim to the small garden at the back of our complex – he has decided that any other dog coming within 10 feet of “his” fountain has to be challenged. For a little dog he does have a big bark but the minute it looks like the other dog is going to break the 10 foot rule he backs off. As most Romans love their dogs only slightly less than they love their children – and in some cases slightly more – there are plenty of dogs to react to his bold challenge. The Shetland downstairs cowers; the Dalmatian from across the road goes into a frenzy of barking wanting desperately to put this little piece of fluff in his place and the Weimaraner with the sad eyes looks even sadder and just keeps chewing on her rubber bone.
Pee! Who me?
We’re still having problems with the accidents in the house – and we’re not sure if it’s just the break in routine, an infection or the effect of advancing age.We find that we’re taking him out at almost 4 hour intervals. And as to the accidents, well as Laurent says: Its only water.

15 agosto – Azzensione Maria Virgine

And This Would Be….. Cont’d

Well some people, who remain nameless, go to IKEA more often than I do. This little contraption is indeed a combination Toilet Paper- Toilet Brush holder and, I might add, is totally impractical as either. Emptying the brush holder – ‘cause lets admit it occasionally you’re going to get water in there – is total impossible. And if the toilet paper feature – and when did I ever think I would right that phrase? – is used with too much force the top comes off; with too little it tears off at the dispenser and you have to take the top off to get at the paper!

As all the Embassy apartments come equipped with these ingenious devices they have become, along with where to find the best gelato, a hot topic of conversation amongst the new arrivals. One colleague’s solution has been to put the toilet paper roll on top and buy an ordinary toilet brush. Seems the most practical solution.

And Tater, exactly how would you use this as a sex toy? We found that you can put it.... never mind!

16 agosto – Saint Rocco

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


We still don’t have Internet at home and with Ferragosto (see below) in full swing it may be another two to three weeks before that happens.

That means that I can only post if I go to a “hot spot” or one of the very expensive Internet cafes. Since the apartment has to be cleaned, clothes washed and ironed, Reese attended to, shopping done and meals prepared (oh my God I should have entered Italy as a member of Laurent’s household staff!) I often just don’t have the time so postings may be erratic for the next little while.

As I’ll probably be putting up several posts written on different days all at once I’ll identify the day it was written; and because its Italy, because its Rome and because Big Ben, Father George and the Boys live just the other side of the river, I’ll include the Saint’s Day – and god knows there’s a Saint, sometimes two, for every day.

Sadly the lack of Internet means that I haven’t been able to keep up with my favourite blogs and I miss them. Once Fastweb comes through I’ll have a lot to catch upon.

15 agosto – San Alfredo


We’ve arrived in Rome at “the best of times ...the worst of times”: Ferragosto.

At least a third of the population have already left on their annual vacation and by the 15th the only people left in town will be tourists, us expats and the odd Roman whose work demands that they stick around while their friends bask in the sun at country retreats and resorts.

Nomentana devoid of cars!

Only in August - Via Nomentana almost empty!

The best of times? The normal snarl of traffic is absent, parking spots are easy to find, the buses are empty and the stores (the few remaining open) are almost deserted.

Most of the shops barred

Our local shopping drag - barred and lock for August

The worst of times? Almost everything is closed – the local fruit, vegetable and flower stalls are barred, store front grills are locked and signs indicate that, as an example, the local gelatoria (sob!) will not be serving double chocolate and black pepper ice cream again until 27 agosto. And except when budding Grand Prix drivers use them as practice courses those empty streets give the new arrival a false sense of tranquility. But soothsayer-like, more experienced hands have warned us: beware the 1st of September.

We’ve also been warned to stock up supplies for the coming week – everything will be closed August 15th – the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the real start of Ferragosto. And just so this miraculous event can be celebrated in an appropriate fashion most things will be closed the 14th and chances are, to allow for recovery from the wonder of it all the 16th too.

13 agosto – S. Ippolito

Parlo del Piu e del Meno*

  • I’m in the check- out line at Standa (our local supermarket) and a Gorgeous Cashier – so beautiful she even looked stunning in her dowdy Standa uniform – opens up to accommodate the line (they do that here!) She calls me over and as I approach two boxes of Pampers come flying over my head and land on the belt in front of me. A respectable Roman Matron, Mouse-Spouse in tow, pushes her way in front of me; Matron chimes “Scuzi” and proceeds to pay for her purchase. I glare; several people behind mutter; Matron concludes her transaction, strides off; Mouse-Spouse grabs the Pampers and dutifully follows. Gorgeous Cashier shrugs her lovely shoulders, says “Scuzi” and smiles. What could I do? I smiled backed! Hey, I’m gay not dead!

  • At an Overseas University Recruitment Fair in Calabria, my friend Betty Jean is explaining the benefits of studying abroad to a very attentive nineteen-year old boy. When she finishes her spiel, he thinks for a minute, and then says – in total disbelief that anyone would think he should do such a thing: But that means I would have to leave my mother!

  • Our address is Via Asmara 9B; unfortunately the Tunisian Embassy is 9Bis and cab drivers often confuse the two. Our driver the other night was most offended that he had waited for a full minute before realizing his mistake and proceeded to chastise us for the poor numbering system on our street. Since he’s paid from the time he leaves the taxi stand I’m not sure what his problem was, other than he was getting additional fare for going nowhere.

*Speaking of this and that

12 agosto – San Ercolano

Opera at the Baths - II

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we headed to the Terme di Caracalla (CE 215) to see Turandot on our first Friday night in Rome (August 3rd – Santa Lidia) The Teatro dell’Opera has been presenting a summer season there since 1937 – with a break in the eighties when it was discovered that Radames’ charging horses were weakening the already fragile foundations of the remains of the calidarium. Now rather than on the ruins, performances take place on a vast temporary stage and auditorium in front of them.
Setting up for Turandot
Given that several thousand of us had headed out the Appian Way on a warm summer evening, things seemed well organized – the performance started on time, concessions and WC facilities were plentiful, staff beautifully dressed, smiling and helpful and the taxi system at the end of the evening efficient and speedy. And this is Rome???

The people-watching was incredible. Even at their most flamboyant – above-the-knee red bugle-beaded number, killer stilettos, peacock blue silk wrap, enough gold on display to pay the national debt and Farrah Fawcett premature-blond locks – Roman woman are stylish. And the Roman men have a certain indolent charm that Laurent insists comes from their mothers constantly assuring them they are the most handsome boys in the world. And though cell phones (telefino) were much in evidence during the intermissions not one sounded during the performance itself.

And the performance? An interesting production concept – an itinerant theatre troupe present Turandot in a village square in 1926 and involve the locals in the performance. At its best it worked beautifully – I’ve never been more poignantly aware of the point at which death stilled Puccini’s pen. At its worst? Is there anything less funny than European clowns or more embarrassing than faux-Martha Graham choreography?

With the exception of the Turandot (Giovanna Casolla) and the Emperor (Fernando Cordeiro Opa) none of the singers were of international standard. La Casolla has the big steely sound needed for In questa Reggia but managed the tender passages as well and made the melting of the Ice Princess believable. I can see why she is the Turandot of choice in Italy these days. Frankly I wish the Liu (Mina Tasca-Yamazaki) had died after her breathy Signor Ascolta in Act 1 and spared us her pinched Act 3 aria though when curtain calls came around she seemed rather pleased with herself. Antonello Palombi (and the large gentleman sitting next to me) sang a lovely Nessun Dorma, but for the rest he was content with loud, louder and, occasionally, loudest. The chorus made the big moments what they should be and Alain Lombard led a nicely-judged and at times almost jazzy-sounding performance. I’m not sure if it was the subtle amplification that brought out details I have never heard before but at one point I swore Benny Goodman was on clarinet.

Not a great evening at the Opera; but then how often does that happen? But it was definitely a damn good evening out our first week in Rome.

11 agosto – Santa Chiara

Thursday, August 09, 2007

And This Would Be A.....?

We have three of these in our apartment. A bold design stroke by an enterprising mind. Any guesses as to what it is?

Right click to find out
9 Agosto - ss. Fermo e Rustico

Food! Glorious Food!

We’ve eaten extremely well the past two weeks – at friends’, in Restaurants and at home.

I've been heading out with my little net bag food shopping every day - and no contrary to popular belief I do not wear a black kerchief and rolled down stockings! Being Ferragosto most of the small shops and stands are closed - in fact most of the city is closed down - but we do have a local supermarket which has a good selection of everything including wines.

Here’s some of the fixin’s for last night’s dinner:

Tuesday's dinner
Artichokes Romano
Grilled Eggplant
Sun-dried Tomatoes

Grilled Garlic and parsley Hamburgers patties
Radicchio, Fennel and Cucumber Salad

Peaches and Grapes

All washed down with a nice little red wine from Friuli and a bottle of mineral water. And that’s a fairly standard evening meal at our place. And both of us have lost a bit of weight – go figure.

9 Agosto - ss. Fermo e Rustico

The Reese Report - Rome Edition

As previously reported Reesie arrived safe and sound, if with his ever so elegant nose a bit out of joint. He was – and occasionally still is - not happy with the state of his world.

The process of bring him into Italy was a complicated one, we had to:

  • Have a microchip implanted.
  • Have his rabies vaccination up-dated.
  • Have our Vet complete – in block letters, blue ink only, no erasures or overwrites – an EU entry form.
  • Have that form validated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (?) Vet, who did not like the way it was completed by our Vet and made us get another one.
  • Have a Vet in Montreal do a final health check 24 hours before our departure.
And entry into Italy? Well the three customs officials were in the midst of a very serious conversation so they just waved us through! Ya gotta love EU bureaucracy and the Italian response to it!

Reese amongst the laundry But it’s been a hard two weeks for him – moving from place to place, boxes all over the place, strange people, strange smells and a complete change of routine. And suddenly at 14 he has to be re-trained to apartment living. Unusually for him there have been accidents and his embarrassment has been visible. But no matter where he goes, Reese is always resourceful at finding someplace to burrow – even if it’s just a pile of dirty laundry.

9 Agosto - ss. Fermo e Rustico

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Sorry that I've been delayed with updates but we still don't have Internet at home - Italian bureaucracy is a wonder to behold! Example: We arrive with 7 bags, 1 kennel, 2 computers and a displeased dog - the baggage carts at the airport cost 1 Euro; Laurent has 1 Euro but we need another cart. The change machine is broken - and has been for three years I am told - and the Exchange counters are not authorized to give change for Euro bills only to exchange foreign currency! Welcome to Rome!

As to the displeased dog - Reese is still not a very happy puppy. Four homes in 1 week, boxes all over, strange people plus the journey in an elevator down three floors to pee do not make for happiness warm puppy or not. But like the rest of us I'm sure he'll adjust.

Aside from a few problems we have had a good week - the opera Friday night, dinner with our old friend Robert and a great group of people on Saturday, a Sunday afternoon spent at Villa Ada, Sunday dinner with our friend Betty Jean and Stephen and an extremely helpful group of people at the Embassy. And its Rome.

Will try and get a more detailed update going later in the week - have lots to show and tell. Take care all.