To borrow a phrase from my newly-discovered and consequently current favorite author, Bill Bryson: about my last name being Sandiego? It isn’t really. I just made that up.
But perhaps you were wondering why I left that last post to simmer over a low flame for the last 10 days? The truth is, I was voluntarily stranded on an island. Three, to be exact. As you may know, in Italy the tradition of the “summer vacation” doesn’t end when you get out of school. No, please rest assured, vacations are alive and well in Italy, and woe unto he who tries to change that. In fact, if you’re really ready to cringe, Italy clocks in at highest average number of vacation days per year. (One guess who was last on the list?)
My Italian vacation, while postponed this year when Ale embarked on his sudden “today I’m a movie producer, tomorrow who knows” adventure, nonetheless did finally happen, and if you’ll indulge me for a non-Roman post or two, I have a few things I’d like to show you.
First though, a little trivia to get you warmed up. In the place I went:
1) Many people wear their wedding bands on their right hand.
2) The national wine is the flavor equivalent of pine cleaner.
3) The national liqueur tastes like liquid black licorice.
4) I can speak about 10 words of the local language.
Still not sure? Let’s bring in the visual aids!
For the third year running, Ale and I have returned to what we pretty much consider paradise on Earth. This, our favorite island in the Dodecanese in Greece, is called Patmos. Shh! Keep it a secret. And if you want to get a true feel for summer island life on Patmos, I highly recommend Tom Stone’s The Summer of My Greek Taverna. A true story about his exausting summer running a beach taverna, with some excellent and easy recipes from his kitchen as well (even I made them with success, which is really saying something!)
Now, can I diverge on a tangent for one moment? While we usually spend most of our time putt-putting around on a scooter (Patmos being one of the only places where we feel safe enough to do so), this year on our last day we decided to rent a dune buggy. Basically an adult version of the Big Wheel, or perhaps more accurately, a glorified riding lawn mower. All fine and good, and it was fun for driving on some of the steep back road paths to hidden beaches. Yet, I couldn’t help noticing this among the many warning labels pasted menacingly to the front panel:
Now imagine with me, if you will, our young hero of 5, hey, why not make it 4 at this point, years old. Keys in hand, he confidently climbs aboard his lawn—ahem—All Terrain Vehicle, when a casual glance to the dash brings the above warning label to his eyes. “Well, I'll be!" thinks our 48-month old. "That label is talking directly to me! And had I only known that before…I certainly have no intention whatsoever of increasing my chances of serious injury or death on this beautiful morning.” And with that, he decides to walk to work.
People! Stop the insanity!
And, last but not least, do you see the blue light flashing? Attention Kmart Swappers! (Should this reference either offend or amuse you, I kindly direct you to Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent, wherein you will find, in my opinion, the most chillingly accurate description of a Kmart shopper ever put on paper). Good news: our humble swap group has nearly reached the 200 mark. Not bad for a baby blog, eh?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go catch up on all of your blogs. And there’s also the matter of this pesky zero on my keyboard—keeps sticking.
Update: Folks, I must be off in my own little world of subtlety. I was just kiddin' about 200, and the zero key sticking. Hardee har har, get it? My corny sense of humor. If you can even call it that. But we are almost at 20 and after all, it's quality not quantity!!