06 November 2009

Shangai Restaurant, Polermo Italy

Piazza San Marco, Polermo Tree

Polermo Market

Polermo Father and Son

Palermo Narrow Street

St. Johns of the Hermits, Polermo, Italy

Polermo, Sicily

Polermo, Sicily fit the Italian image that I have always seen in the movies.  Narrow streets, a beautiful sea, people talking in the streets and the best food one can imagine.  Compared to the Northern part of Italy, the people are friendly and even smile!  They are patient with your attempt at Italian and listen as though they understand you, even though they may not.  After landing at the airport, it was easy to take a bus into the center.  Along the way, I was informed at the exact place where the famous judge "Giovanni Falcone" was killed by the Mafia, who was fighting against Mafia crime...which by the way is everywhere in Italy and that is not a joke.
     While I was walking down the Polermo streets, I would imagine corruption going on everywhere.  I noticed how the local women would wear their purses under their coats.  I can imagine that I lived there for a while, I would feel the undercurrent of tension that exists for the locals.
     Rumors are:  that every shop, has to pay some money to the Mafia, for "protection" to keep the shop open, not get burned to the ground, and the owner alive.  Compared to Florence, the laws do not seem to be inforced.  I roamed the streets for five days, and only saw three policemen walking together.  I stopped and asked them for directions, and they were very nice.  Otherwise, I did not even see a police car, not a one.  Yet, you do not see any violence or strangeness going on in the city.
     People park their cars where they want to, on the sidewalk for example or in the road.  Motorcycles drive down the sidewalks when the traffic is bad, which seemed like all day long.  They are not very organized and there are many cars.  In fact more cars than motorcycles, unlike Florence.
     The prices were about 1/2 of what they are in Florence.  I could buy a nice sweet and a coffee for 2 Euros.  I purchased a to die for fresh grilled fish dinner for about 20 us dollars, including wine, water, and a side dish.  My hotel room was only 30 Euros, a private room with its own bath, tv and a terrace including breakfast.  Not bad!
      My first hotel was near the bus and train station, and it is not a really desired area.  It never is in Italy.  However, one block from my hotel, was a more "desired" area, clean, quiet and with nice shops.  Along the street near the station, I saw tons of Chinese Stores selling clothes and furniture.  I needed a winter coat and went inside to see what they had.  The woman said that they only sell in large quantities.  My mind went whirling to the story of Gamorrah, the Italian Mafia in Naples (Napoli).  "Oh, this is where the smuggled goods come to", I thought.  I imagined tons of items inside of the shipping boxes getting unloaded with cranes, and moved to another boat for Sicily.  Only a block away from the wholesale shops, were the nicer shops, selling exactly what the wholesale shops were selling but at about four times the amount.
     I found a store, that had good prices for decent products.  I purchased a long winter coat, with a hood and the nice "fur" along the sides for 40 Euros!  When I came back to Florence, the same coat was 180 Euros.  Wow.  The same coat.

17 October 2009

Ferrari Logo and Florence Sky

Model pose and fashion in Florence


Looking inside, a place rare to stand

Ferrari's, nice red ones

A few weeks ago, the main "fashion" shopping street was closed to traffic so people could walk around and view the new fall collection's in the shops.  At the same time, one could meander through the Ferrari collections parked in the middle of the street.  Do the upscale fashions go hand in hand with Ferrari's? I heard comments from the local Italians who are having a difficult time putting food on the table, and paying their bills, say that the exhibition was like a kick in the face, or spit in the eye.  The economy is horrible everywhere, yet at the same time, they make a big extravaganza of things that no one can afford.  Sure, wouldn't everybody want to buy a $700,000 red Ferrari Enzo?  Wouldn't most women like the opportunity to buy a 2,000 Euro blouse?  However, most of us who walked down this street, cannot even consider of buying such luxuries.  We can only dream of such things.

I have to admit, the cars were beautiful, and I mean beautiful.  To listen to the Ferrari engine roar made me think of the best sexual experience...Actually, I could see myself sitting on the front leather seat with my hair blowing through the wind and a really hot guy sitting right next to me.  He was giving me the look of love with a big smile on his face.  When I finished strolling through dreamland, I woke up and decided that I needed to play the lottery more often.  I wonder how many of the other people were dreaming like I was.

Just about everyone was taking photographs with their cell phones, or small digital camera's.  I saw some professional looking folks bouncing around in the attempt to get that perfect shot.  I took some images myself, just look at them, are they not good?

While glancing around, I had to take a shot of the "model" looking girl standing in front of one of the shops, just look at her stance, is she a professional?  I took a shot of a sweet looking foreign young man with a glint in his eyes.  He was standing proudly by a Ferrari looking as though he just made it to heaven.

I also noticed many "single" women wondering around all dressed in fancy clothes.  A person told me that they are hoping to find some rich man.  I think to myself as a response, "Can money really buy happiness, how can a women be with a person just for money and live with herself?"  I know that I sound a bit naive, and I know that people really do live that way, I just cannot imagine it for myself.  It seems to be a plastic world of unreality.

I know that if I won the lottery, I would not buy a Ferrari, I would pay off my children's and my student loans, pay cash for a nice home...or two.  I am torn between two places, Florence and the states, if I were lucky enough  I would buy two.  Then, I would invest some and continue with my passion of photography projects.  Now that is a dream!

Books:  Ferrari:  "A complete guide to all models" by, Leonardo Lcerbl
Lottery:  "Lottery Master Guide" by, Gail Howard
Student Loan:  "The Student Loan Scam: The Most Oppressive Debt in the U.S. History - and How We Can Fight Back" by, Alan Michael Collinge
Student Loan: "Zero Debt for College Grads: From Student Loans to Financial Freedom" by, Lynnette Khalfani
Student Loan: "How to Wipe Out Your Student Loans and Be Debt Free Fast:  Everything You need to Know Explained Simply" by, Michele Burgh