Today felt like a real Italian day. First of all, I slept in. Then, after taking care of a few errands (stopping by Cinzia’s office — she works six days a week! — and buying my first pair of Italian shoes), Massimo and I went sailing, atop the famous “Corpodibacco”! (It’s not famous.) Needless to say, it was just awesome. (I will elaborate shortly, don’t you worry, captain Toby! You WILL be jealous.)
Before sailing, we drove to an agriturismo nearby. The lunch there was superb: wine made right in the backyard, prosciutto, and home-made pasta with bacon (kind of like carbonara!). When I had my first sip of Italian wine, Massimo said, “Welcome to Italy!”. I guess this is real… Here are some pictures from the agriturismo:
The agriturismo was called Casali ____. I can’t remember the last word, but the important part is Casali, which means something like restaurant. But that’s not the Italian word for restaurant!, you are thinking. True, padowan, because Casali is Venetian. It turns out that the various regions throughout Italy speak not merely dialects of Italian, but actually totally distinct languages. All the dialects trace their roots to Latin, as does Italian, but let me tell you, Venetian is a whole other kettle of pesce. Italian is the language taught in school. Italian is the official language of Italy (what a surprise). When I asked Massimo why Italians still speak regional dialects, despite the unification of Italy in the late 1800s, he said it was mostly a matter of pride. Speaking your dialect is your own way of sort of showing disdain for the whole idea of unification. As I studied in my glorious AP world class last year, the unification of Italy was very controversial, haphazard and almost random; there are tons of cultural and political differences between the regions of Italy (especially northerners and southerners, as anyone will tell you). As a committed dork, I must say it feels pretty cool to see the modern-day ramifications of historical past…
Now, on to the sailing adventure. I mean, basically, it was just lovely. I still feel sun-kissed because it was so nice out. A picture’s worth a thousand words, they say, so I will just let you guys imagine approximately 5,000 words for the next few minutes. Hasta pronto.
Massimo and I planned on swimming once we left the marina and entered the lagoon, and only one thing slightly deterred our plan: jellyfish. Translucent, pale white jellyfish with dark purple edges occasionally chugged along next to the Corpodibacco. I was utterly transfixed by them; never before have I been so close to those stunningly confusing and hypnotizing animals. Being the worry-wart that I am (thank you Mom), I didn’t swim too much, mostly because I feared entering a four-year coma, or something casual like that. (I’m thinking Kill Bill, Uma Thurman style.) That being said, I did indeed go in, and the water was PERFETTO. Unlike the Pacific ocean, the Adriatic Sea is not actually freezing! What a delight.
After returning to the dock, Massimo ran into some friends of his (who happen to be his doctor and his wife). Massimo and I completed all the rope tying (I learned some pretty cool knots, felt a lot like a boy scout — makin’ you proud, Dad?), and then went down the dock a bit to visit his friends. In true Italian style, they invited us into their (ridiculously spacious, well-furnished) boat for some drinks, cheese and crackers. They were so friendly, and told me all about their son’s current adventures in America. They kept saying he was ingrancanya. After much repetition, I realized the word they were saying over and over was not a word, but a name: Grand Canyon. Then some more friends came in and they all started talking in Venetian. I knew it was Venetian because instead of understanding little, I understood nothing. Score!
Finally, Massimo and I returned home to some paella (super Italian, right?), really good meat that looks a lot like prosciutto but isn’t, and faaaaaaaaaabulous dessert. What a life.