Monday, March 1, 2010

The daily grind and the temptations of sin

Last night we went out and were out late at dinner with the lovely Noelene and Ian McBride, who own this and another apartment, they having arrived the other day at the other apartment.

Ian said to me that someone in Australia had asked him, regarding coming to this place "What can we do there" and Ian had pointed the inquirer to this blog.

So we first have to ask any such reader if you have any special informational requests - please use the comments box below. And please do so swiftly, we are out of here Friday (sob).

Anyway, we decided that in our socially fatigued state we would follow the custom of many here and have breakfast at the Bar Roma.

This first picture gives you a sense of the level of our overall exertions. In this story, we go first to the ATM (Bancomat), then to the Bar Roma, then to the Farmacia.

This first photo is taken after our really long walk. I have turned at the Bancomat and pointed the iPhone at the other end of the piazza. You can see the church on the left, the Bar Roma opposite. In the middle is a huge gate, of the outer wall of the Rione Rocca, the core 'suburb' of the village, in which the castle is located. Behind the outer gate you see a bell tower, which is in fact on the (you can't see it) inner wall gate. I sit now to write this looking directly at that bell tower from inside the Rione Rocca. So at this point, arriving at the Bancomat, we may have covered somewhere near 100 metres.

Now there are two things we want to tell you about this lovely Bancomat. We have used it several times, and almost as many times, when it comes to the 'how much do you want' page, it has offered different amounts. Today in the mid-range numbers, it is offering 160, 250 and 320. The other day, the middle number of that was 210, the number below 90. The time before, the middle number was 180, the number before that... who cares... the fun thing is to deal with a machine that keeps you on your toes!

Now the other wondrous thing. You know how, in Australia at least, the ATM wants to spit 50s or nothing - sometimes you ask for $21o hoping this will yield three 50s and three 20s and it spits you out and tells you not to be stupid? Well look at this. Helen, in a rush of last days, has drawn from our cash passport Euros 320. Does the machine give us 6 x 50 + 1 x 20? NO, ola, it gives us.... how balanced: 4 x 50, 4 x 20, 4 x 10. And how civilised.

Now, flush with cash, we proceed to the Bar Roma, maybe 40 metres away back up that piazza, on the right.

We are immediately asked what we would like and pointed to a table.

Now, the last time we were pointed to a table, we were near the Trevi Fountain in Rome and we needed badly to sit down and were so tired in fact that we had entirely forgotten Rule 1 of bars in Rome: DO NOT SIT DOWN. The result in Rome was sit down price for two cappuccini and one small mineral water from an aggressive waiter and a bill for E13.40, say $A20.30 today.

But here we were, back in the real world, in the Bar Roma of Soriano nel Cimino. We ordered two cappuccini and two pastries which I failed to photograph and which we may never metabolise. Two coffees, two big pastries, E 3.40 = say $A 5.15.

Here are some glimpses of the display from the iPhone.

... and here you can see the church across the piazza...

The parocchio arrives, the local priest. Into such a den of temptations, right after eight o'clock mass.

Helen notes that the elderly (my age and beyond, I suppose) women at the next table, who have been customarily frosty at the sight of her red curls, suddenly fall into what I would describe as a melting simperation of modest but very obvious seeking-of-attention and sucking-for-grace. And hey, look, you have to admit, as parocchi go, he's pretty gorgeous.

Here are some photos of some of the temptations in the display counter confronting the priest. It is Monday, yesterday through the day, families visiting family (we guess) came from the piazza past our window, carrying great wrapped trays of this stuff. The local consumers are all strong-legged, seemingly long-lived, determined people, who must have a wondrous sugar intake, balanced by amazing necessary daily exercise (remember we are 230 steps from our car, such a short horizontal distance away), buckets of olive oil and food mostly very local and fresh ("Don't have those potatoes from Naples, these from Viterbo are better.)

Anyway, look at this stuff and dribble...

After that, we needed to take a 20 metre hike across the road.

Next to the church is the Farmacia, a very professional joint without the blather of sales crap one gets in an Australian pharmacy these days.

I got a pack of five wondrous 12 hour plasters of Flector, a Voltaren-like anti-inflmmatory patch for my Crappy Knee. Recommended highly by Ian, the vet.

Then I saw on the shelf and bought something I had not seen or used since 1968, Enterogermina, 20 little flasks each with 200,000,000 spore di Bacillus clausii poliantibiotico resistente. Wonderful stuff for rebalancing gut flora. So I got that for my long-standing Crappy Gut; the previous time used was after food poisoning at a very expensive Rome restaurant at a 1968 dinner in honour of Malcolm Fraser, leading a cultural delegation! Such an historical start point to chronic gut issues!

I also, not having slept much for some time, saw on the shelf a box of 60 Melatonina, (Melatonin) 5ml capsules, not available in Australia, to see if it restores my sleep rhythm - may also be good on the plane.

And then we went home. And it has been raining since. We will go out in the afternoon, after taking our siesta early.

If I can begin to sort out Crappy Knee, Crappy Gut and Crappy Sleep, get a good coffee plus pastries AND have a nice interaction with a friendly Bancomat which is full of surprises, we have surely travelled far - in less than 200 metres.

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