Monday, February 21, 2005

After three days in Beijing, my bio-clock is still on the blink.

Woke up this morning at a quarter past three and tried to force myself to return to sleep. After about an hour, still wide awake but confident that I could get something accomplished, I got out of bed and made some espresso. Angela, amazingly, was sleeping soundly while I plunked away at the computer, tottered at the window staring into the blackness outside, wandered back and forth from the bedroom to the kitchen, fumbled cigarettes or leafed through the book I was contemplating continuing in a coffee and nicotine induced, maladroit, biorhythmic nervousness. Usually, the first day back to work after a holiday always clamps an awkward guilty hold on me, and would normally add to my heightened discomfort, but I had gone to the office yesterday to catch up on a few things and thankfully shed those feelings early.

Had the first six poems of my alphabet project published in Tin Lustre Mobile while I was in Italy, which was a nice boost. I'm trying to spread the rest of these poems around in the coming months before releasing it as a collection. The product of about 18 months of attention, started when I was living in Japan.

That's about it for this therapy. I know you're dying for pictures, and I want to jazz up the content a little with some good old-fashioned eye-candy, but you will have to wait until next time...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Nothing extraordinary for Valentine's Day. I suppose it was appropriate that we went to the City Hall in Putignano to find out about the requirements for getting married. Not as easy as it looks, especially considering that I'm a foreigner, we want to get married in a Catholic Church and we live in China. We didn't hear what we wanted to hear and, after explaining the situation to Angela's parents, Vito went to church with us in the evening to strong-arm the priest, which achieved the desired results without injuring anyone. We have to return here next Carnevale and sign the necessary documents. I also have to go to the American Embassy in Rome and work out some permissions there. Cross your fingers...

Otherwise, we're headed home tomorrow. Actually, we're heading to Rome tomorrow, where we will spend another night. Our flight for Beijing, which has an eight-hour layover in Vienna, leaves the next morning at 10:30 AM. It's supposedly snowing in both places, according to internet weather sources, which sounds nice. Talk to you next time from Beijing...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Watched the Superbowl a couple days ago on video. A friend of Angela's had taped the game. The broadcast was Italian, but that didn't bother me, obviously. It was the only football game I watched this season. Not the most exciting game, but well worth it.

Carnevale ended yesterday with a final parade and a mock funeral procession, in which we participated. The weather was great, for once, although it was still cold. Angela, Christina and me had rented costumes, allowing us to enter the parade and roam about as we pleased. I was dressed as a Cardinal from the Catholic Church and Angela and Christina were dressed as Nuns. We looked great together and received many compliments as we moved about, blessing the onlookers with our beer and cigarettes.

At the end of the parade, we joined the funeral mourners, wailing the end of Carnevale, and following a fake roasted pig to Piazza Plebiscita, where the pig was to be burned with all the pomp and circumstance necessary for such an event. Afterwards, we returned to a bar in the center of town and danced for a few hours before returning home to sleep.

Friday, February 04, 2005

We're preparing to leave Bologna, now, and our train leaves in about one hour. Angela is taking a shower and I'm trying to bang this out before she finished.

We've had a great, memorable stay here, and our hosts, Giuseppe and Valeria, have been very accomodating. I've come to learn that Bologna is famous for it's porticoes, which are everywhere in this city, and really give it a unique appearance. We had a large farewell dinner yesterday, which lasted into the wee hours, with Valeria and Giuseppe, Luisa and Antonio (Angela's cousin and his wife), and Taty and Nathan (our friends from Monopoli who recently moved to Bologna).

Before dinner, as I mentioned we would do in the previous post, Angela and me had spent the day wandering around Venice, which is about two hours by train from Bologna. The weather was calm, clear and sunny, which made Venice seem spectacular. We wandered on foot through most of the city, taking many pictures. Also, as it is Carnevale here, there were many characters roaming about the city in fantastic and elaborate costumes, sporting their famous expressionless masks, giving Venice a mysterious feel. It would have been nice to stick around for the celebrations in the evening, but we had to return to Bologna. Next time...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Yesterday, we went to watch the parade in Putignano, which was marvelous, as well as unlike anything I had seen before. The floats were works of art, most of them made out of paper and other natural materials. Many of them depicted mythical creatures or famous Italian personages. Unfortunately, the rain ended the festivities prematurely, although we had already enjoyed a majority of the procession, which lumbered along the main street in downtown Putignano. Later in the evening, Angela's brother, Pino, and his wife, Roberta, drove us to the train station in Monopoli. We were on our way to catch a train to Bologna.

Right now, we're in Bologna, waiting for our hosts, Valeria and Giuseppe, to return home so we can eat a light dinner before hitting this sack. They were kind enough to let us stay in their apartment with them while we are visiting. Earlier tonight, we met our friends, Taty and Nathan, a couple we had met this Summer at a beach in Monopoli, for a drink, and planned to go to Venice with both of them later this week. We're staying in Bologna for the rest of the week, but have planned day-trips to Florence tomorrow and Venice on Thursday.

We took an overnight train here last night, without incident, and enjoyed a stroll through this beautiful city with Angela's friend, Valeria. She didn't have to do anything today and guided us around town. The downtown area of Bologna is filled with splendid shops along marlevous arch-covered walkways. One of the first things I noticed was that Bologna is also a very clean city.