- According to Blue the in-flight magazine for Aegean Airlines 2008 has been declared the year of the Feta by the Greek Government! Greek cheese manufactures have been up in arms over the imitation feta coming out of Denmark, Holland and Germany the past few years. It’s a billion dollar industry worldwide so the financial stakes are high and Greek producers are worried about cheap imitations that pass themselves off as the real thing. Feta marketing is going into full swing in Greece and throughout Europe. The new EU safeguards on Feta labelling – wouldn’t you have loved to hear that resolution, no doubt defining percentage of water, salt and curd content, read onto the order paper – guarantee that within Europe only Greek Feta can bear the proud name. Look for the πραγματική ελληνική φέτα on the label.
- Yes we have recycling here in Rome and many of us collect our plastic, paper and other recyclables to put in the handy bins on the streets. The problem appears to be that the city forgets to collect them.
- I now feel that I have finally arrived in Rome. I have become a regular customer at a barber shop at the bottom of Via Nazionale. I first went there because it was close to the language school and open. There are two barbers – Walter, an older bespectacled gentleman with a trim goatee and an air of ownership, Mimo, a younger more casual gentleman with a permanent tan and an artful comb over – and Luisa, an extremely attractive full-figured lady, who does the manicures, scalp massages and general reception and clean-up.
I was made to feel welcome, despite a struggle with language, from the first time I walked in off the street. Mimo is my barber - Walter only deals with former Prime Minister Prodi, President Napolitano and the older long-time clients. But that’s fine because Mimo does an exceptional job with my fastly thinning hair. Luisa makes sure the nails are trimmed and glossy and gives the most relaxing scalp message immaginable. All the little formalities are observed – we shake hands on arrival and departures, health of my colleague (Laurent, who also goes there now) is always enquired after and the proper greetings and wishes for any approaching festival are exchanged. And we even have our little jokes about my bad Italian and Luisa’s emerging English.
The day before we left for Athens I noticed that is was “almost time to buy a violin” as my mother use to say. As we were going to opening night at the opera with Parsi on the Friday I felt a haircut was in order. I dropped into the barber shop to see if they could take me after school at 4:30 but Mimo was booked up from 2 until 6. Luisa did a bit of fiddling, some frowning, then told me to come back at 4:15 and sent me on my way with a cheery “a presto.” I arrived back at 4:15 and somehow someone had been pushed back, someone else had been pushed forward and I was cut, manicured and massaged.
When a man's barber does that for him, he knows he's arrived wherever he is.
- And a final sign from Athens. When Parsi took us to lunch in the newly redeveloped Gaz area we saw this sign on a building near the restaurant. Anyone want to guess what it is?
25 marzo - Annunciazione del Signore