Date: Sun, 08 May 2005
From: Lee Lady
Subject: Perugia on a Saturday Night
Perugia is a small medieval mountain town, about midway between Rome and Florence on the train. It's known for making wonderful chocolates, but there's also a fairly large university here (20,000 students, I think I heard someone say) and a University for Foreigners.
When I got here yesterday, Saturday, the streets were so packed I thought there most be some sort of festival going on. Well, in fact, later in the evening there was a rock and roll show. Or at least it was definitely a show; whether it was rock and roll or not I couldn't be sure. Why was it that the words that instantly came to mind were, "The Village People"? I'm not even that familiar with the Village People.
Anyway, they were playing on a stage set up in front of the cathedral. Not the usual bar band, for sure. About ten people, I think, in matching fancy costumes (think: drum major) and elaborate lighting. Definitely a show.
This was not an annual festival, although there is a small film festival going on here right now. But the rock show apparently goes on every Saturday night.
It was a good thing I got to my restaurant fairly early: about 8:30. Because it started filling up reasonably fast. With all the customers speaking Italian.
I was seated at a table where I had a very good view of three women in their twenties. All speaking Italian, but only two of them seemed like that was the language they had grown up in. For the third, the one I had the best view of, it was definitely something she was pretty good at, but had learned only recently. Even though I couldn't hear her, one can tell. She had to think about each word she was using, instead of speaking a whole sentence at a time. And even though she was speaking Italian with her mouth, with her hands and her facial expression she was speaking English. And not just English, but New York English.
Oh, that was so nice. I used to want so much to have a New York girl to call my own. Well, one more dream that never came true.
My hotel is a very small one, the sort I prefer. The manager, who speaks with a very strange accent or speech defect (he does speak English, although not very well) gave me a room on the ground floor, which is a mixed blessing. I get the noise of all the conversations held in the lobby.
But ground floor or not, there are plenty of steps to climb, just to get to the hotel. This is a mountain town, and it exists exists on several levels. The point is that one goes into a building on the ground floor through a big arch and immediately begins descending fairly steeply below street level. On is in this steeply descending undergound passageway, almost like an alley inside the building. But when one comes out, one finds that one is again at street level, but it^s about three or four stories down from the previous street level, on a different street (as it would have to be, of course!)
Tomorrow, on to Firenze (Florence).
Love & kisses to all,