The Beach at Sperlonga

Michael is on his way back from Roma this afternoon….about now, he’d be in peak hour traffic out of Rome with all the other commuters who travel between the small towns around Roma and their work in Roma Centro.

The reason is that we were supposed to meet friends in Roma for the next few days and “show them the ropes”….but we were having such a nice time in Sperlonga that we invited them down here for the evening instead.   We wanted just one more night……so now we’re paying for a hotel room here in Sperlonga and another in Roma (couldn’t get our money back)….he, he, he….very economical – NOT.

I needed to work on my tan at the beach.    The days are often overcast, but its still really hot.

The ocean has no waves here, unless there is a storm.  Its great for swimming and not getting dumped by waves.  But you certainly couldn’t surf here or undertake any water activity other than lying on a lie-lo thing.

The yellow and green ombrelloni (umbrellas) are those owned by Franco’s family who own this part of the beach (a big chunk right in the middle of Sperlonga beach).

Which leads me to cabana-boy, who “looks” after the lettini (chairs) and ombrelloni of our hotel.

Probably the most useless cabana-beach-boy that you’ve ever seen.   Has only the front row of chairs set-up, so the place doesn’t look that inviting.  At breakfast this morning I watched as some hotel guests had a fight with one of the chairs to get it to sit up properly.   Where was cabana-beach-boy?   He was busy at the breakfast buffet.  Nice one.

When I’ve walked past him in the “tunnel” under the hotel to access the beach, I’ve passed from behind him and seen him busy, busy, busy, at a little table with his computer…on Facebook.

And, at the end of every day, he’s busy smooching his girlfriend, who by the way looks of an illegal age !!@!  Mmmmm…nice one.

With Michael gone today, I had to practice my crankiest voice to get rid of the hawkers.  I think I mentioned that the other day, I bought one – just one – bracelet, and then every hawker for 20 miles stalked me to buy one of their bracelets.

Early this morning when Michael and I were at the beach, another one approached me, seeing “sucker” written on my forehead.   I thought:  oh god, here we go.   I had to be really nasty to them for them to go away.   I had no choice:  it was either be nasty to them or have Michael and Franco tell me off for being fleeced by them.  Jezzus.

And they flog the most ridiculous things.  One guy today tried to upsell carved wood elephants to me.   Dude, I’m lying on the beach sun baking.  Do I look like I’m in the market for a wooden elephant???

Then the next guy comes past flogging clothes that look like a hippy at Byron Bay knocked together on the singer sewing machine one night.   For 3 Euro.  AS IF…

Then another one, makes his pitch to me about his jewellery.   He thought that telling me that they are the best made in Thailand would impress me to part with $30 Euros (about $50-60 AUD).  I started to laugh.   As if…

Then another one thought I was definitely in the market for a torch.  Yes, dude, its 27 degrees, bright and sunny, and I look like I need a torch.   Jezzus.

And lifesaving here is non-existent.   Oh, there’s an attempt to lead swimmers to believe that there is someone capable of saving their loved ones, but let me tell you its a joke.

Every second or third beach owner has a lifesaving “boat”.  Imagine an old 1970s laminate kitchen table turned upside down, floated, and a kitchen chair put on top of it and then the “lifesaver” or cabana-boy jumps on, stands up and tries to paddle to the person in distress.   I saw one guy “practicing” today – a one-man rescue simulation exercise.

At first, I thought:  what is that person standing on????   Then I realised what it was.   AS IF…..as if that is going to save anyone’s life.

Of course, if it was one of our hotel guests, they could kiss their family goodbye because cabana-boy would be too busy on Facebook or smooching with his chickey-babe.

Parking

Went for a walk this afternoon.  Had to.  If I eat another spoonful of italian food without at least taking a short walk I am seriously going to pop.

On my way back from the centro storico (old centre), I passed a car and it made be laugh.   I don’t think that I’ve mentioned this aspect of italian life to you yet:   parking is obviously at a premium here, and if someone wants to go into a shop, they just drive their car halfway up onto the pavement, put the emergency blinkers on, get out of the car and go shopping.  Of course, all the passing traffic has to then take turns stopping and letting each other pass.

Politics

Italians looooooove talking about politics.  Out of 200 free-to-air channels on TV, 198 are full of shows that talk about politics or make fun of politicians and especially Berlusconi and his bunga-bunga parties with 20 young girls.

Today, the front page of La Stampa, one of the national newspapers, described someone who gave in on a deal as having “ha calato le braghe” (dropped his pants).   There are lots of references here to peoples’ bottoms in italian politics.   Another similar expression used for someone who won’t budge on a deal is described as having “pantaloni di acciao” (pants of steel).

Another article in La Stampa was talking about how one in three young people in the south of italy are unemployed.  Imagine that.   So lots are leaving the south and heading north for work, but the problem them is that they are separated from their families and shortfalls in government services means that their ageing parents and grandparents have no one to look after them.   They don’t really have old people’s homes here in italy because families have historically looked after older relatives.    And those young people who stay in the south, then find “work” with that other notorious “family business” that uses a lot of guns, etc, etc…..if you get my drift.

L’Aquila

On our way back from Ascoli-Piceno to Sperlonga last week, we stopped to visit L’Aquila, the city that had the earthquake in 2009.

The main centre of the old city took the brunt of the earthquake.   The buildings are all held up by steel poles and ropes threaded through from one side of the buildings to the other side.  The shops are all closed and the army continues to guard some streets from side seers.

 

And apparently there was the usual rorting of government funding via taxes to pay for the reconstruction….

 

 

On the way home, we stopped around 3pm for a coffee at an Autogrill on the superstrada outside Rome.

We ordered expressos and the lady behind the counter gestured towards a sundae-bowl filled with a coffee coloured mixture.     Franco (who was driving) and Nunzia showed me what to do.  You take one or two spoonfuls of this caffe’ creme (caster sugar mixed with expresso) and mix it into your expresso.

The caffe creme is like an Australian slushie – but its not ice – its pure sugar with expresso coffee mixed through.

But this one had something extra – Grappa!!!@!

It was caffe creme con grappa….which you can buy a whole glasses full when you make a pitstop at the Autogrill on the autostrade, or just add spoonfuls to your coffee.  Its a sugar substitute.  Fantastic.

 

 

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