Certain roles are defined as male in Italy. One I have mentioned before is getting the water from la fontana and another is taking the rubbish to il bidone della spazzatura which is a rubbish /garbage bin.
Every Italian male has a wheel-barrow and you toss the rubbish sack and the bottles plus anything else that is lying around looking lost and head up to the bidone . All metals you place by the side of it and the any old iron guy takes it away. Anything useful that might still have an ongoing life you place in a prominent position nearby and that disappears as if by magic within 20 mins, But the sacks, especially those that contain the things it clearly says must never be put in the bidone ( this is Italy), you toss inside and hope the next guy covers up your indiscretions with his own.’ Not me gov it was him’ or the Italian equivalent
In this 38C heat stuff inside the house sitting in a trash can goes off fast and last night we were late heading out and so I left it in the kitchen. This morning there was an awful smell or puzza, which I think is a far more descriptive Italian word for it. Even the kitchen ants were keeping their distance ( we have very picky Italian ants in our house) and seemed to look longingly at me for it’s removal so they could get on with breakfast once I had deposited my breakfast left overs in the new bag.
We were off to just south of Taranto on the coast last night for dinner at Pino’s house which I had hoped could include a visit to the Sagra ( see previous posts) di Orecchiette in Grottaglie which we had to drive through on the way. Our tardiness didn’t allow it going down and as we drove back through at midnight thirty it seemed to be winding down so I will have to leave it and a post on it ( thank god I hear you say) for yet another year.
I won’t bore you will yet another description of the meal of meats cooked on an outside open fire but if you ever needed convincing of the difference in temperature between we up here in Martina Franca at 1,300 feet and sea level near Taranto here is Pino’s banana tree
They get a crop every year from it and it flourishes as not only is there heat but an endless supply of water that almost bubbles up when you stick a stake in the ground. Up here you can only put such a plant outside in the summer and it never bears fruit.
Indeed his garden down there is almost tropical in look
Mind you to keep the grass that colour you need almost a river running through it.
It is though a real contrast when we are only talking 20 miles away from our place. Still they had 5 air conditioning units going full blast last night and I guess an electricity meter capable of hovering on it’s own power. We on the other hand just had a few disgruntled ants wondering when we would get home to deal with the puzza.
Whilst close as the crow flies Pulsano is still a fair old drive especially in August with the beach traffic coming towards you on single track roads and eager to get home to shower and eat. The drive back is equally difficult as most unemployed youth of which unfortunately there is a great deal down here delight in sleeping on the beach so head Pulsano way from about 11 p.m. onwards after Mum has cooked their meal . The good thing is Pino makes his own excruciatingly bad wine both of the red and white variety. The family add all kinds of things to it at table to try to improve the taste seemingly without him ever noticing. Coke, orange juice and lemonade went into their own glasses whilst he happily imbibed his wine straight and warm from the cupboard behind him. I could happily be abstemious knowing I was missing nothing.
The little conversation I was able to follow ( dialect and Italian mix was on offer) was concerning the new help in Pino’s shop. The recession has had an effect on all walks of life and he has for the first time taken a non Italian illegal to do the heavy lifting and restocking. The lad is an African muslim and certainly a person none of the other workers there had come across ever before.
Ramadan ended yesterday and the feast of Eid al Fitr is today the 8th when the sunrise to sunset fast all muslims have been on for Ramadan well and truly comes to an end with almost the whole day spent eating. However none of the Italians around the table had come across this until their African arrived and from the 9th of July refused all food and water throughout the day. To an Italian this is of course a complete anathema especially to a Southern one. Not to eat at lunchtime is almost a sin to them. It is the meal of the day and the house and life revolves around it. As the guy that works closest with him slowly ( thank goodness) explained the details there were shocked looks and exclamations of total disbelief. Then at the idea of no water passing his lips and indeed nothing not even a cigarette being allowed to touch his lips there was almost genuflecting going on . There were certainly no converts at our table last night !