Sunday, May 18, 2008

catching up, part due

girl's night out: the conclusion
we arrive at the grand opening of the bar, wasabi. i'm feeling shy, but laura works the room since she knows just about everybody. her sister and cousin are behind the bar. her charming dad shows up. old friends are there.

javi and i took a series of photos of ourselves, and this was the least blurry.

this was supposed to be a sexy photo, but gaby seems to have found some quicksand.

a scene from an old italian movie

same movie, different woman

gaby gets drunk on coca-cola.

i'm laughing because i don't realize that a bird is pecking at my hair.

on the way home, javi works the camera.

and so does gaby.

lake como
i can't believe it's been a week since i visited lake como with gaby. it only took about an hour on the train.

this is the moment i spotted a grown man proudly wearing some sort of pseudo american-indian t-shirt, complete with fringe hanging from each sleeve and across the bottom and a little bead attached to each and every strand of fringe. why??? (it's a shame gaby couldn't have zoomed in a little closer here.)

at one of the train stations

"let's look at a map and see where we are...oh, wait...ah, yes, i can tell you that we're not in the united states." just another reminder that americans are beloved around the world.

even though it was overcast and drizzling, we were lucky enough to spot the mythical Giant Floating Head of Lake Como.

gaby, big and small.

how could i not buy this gum?

we took the funicular up the mountain. i just loved this father and son team.

some of the giant cogs they used to use to move the funicular.

we found a church at the top.

even this relatively small, neighborhood church is pretty fancy.

this is painted directly onto the wall. the heavy marble frame is propped there in front of it.

hanging out in heaven looks a lot like hanging out in a local cafe, only with clouds. and more religion.

back outside, we were happy to see that the rain was clearing up.

this was my hobby for the first three weeks in milan: sneezing. i've never really had a problem with allergies, but there has been so much pollen in the air here that it's not unusual for me to be going through my day just fine, then suddenly have to stop everything and sneeze ten times in a row. and then i just continue with my day.

above lake como, as we were walking out to a lookout point.

a grotto on the way.

the fountain in it

a little friend hiding in terror in a stone wall.

gaby shows some cheesecake.

i'm pretty sure that this is the way to my house.

and i'm pretty sure that the terrace at the top that overlooks the lake is where i sip coffee with friends and family.

or maybe this is the way to my house. i tried a few gates, but none of them were unlocked. very unfriendly.

these are definitely flowers growing on my stone wall.

this is not my house. too many curlicues for me.

a trashcan just for doggie "deiezioni".

the line waiting for the funicular back down the mountain.

deerdog takes a ride.

with the lake in the distance, it's a pretty, but steep, ride down.

we rode at the front and had a clearer view of the fact that no one was driving this thing.

looking over the town of como.

this is when the braking system broke and we went hurtling thru a dark tunnel.
i guess it doesn't really look like we're hurtling.

even the dogs in como are well-dressed.

these are paddle boats that we did not paddle in.

a cool church

this is one of the few photos i took inside the cool church (quietly, without flash, at the very back of what was a huge church) before i was stopped by an official-looking church person because a mass was going on.

back out in the fresh air of como. many people ride bikes here.

sometimes i think, "i am so in italy."

one of the fancy shops where they sell men's shirts. shelves and shelves of men's shirts.

scientologists are everywhere.

i was trying to get a better shot of them, when one of the scientologists looked over at me, so i pretended i was taking a photo of something else. this is the spire i was suddenly very interested in.

ultimately, i was approached, and the fact that i didn't speak or understand italian didn't seem to be an obstacle to him. and today, i am a proud member of the church of scientology.

i kid!

newly installed door.

the fitting
the mock-ups for our costumes were done, so we went for a fitting. i was in a bad mood when we did this. i think i was feeling fat.

we will not be wearing sneakers when we do the show.

the costumes will be mostly in reds, except for the aprons and javi's jedi robe.

like this.

dinner for two
one free evening, ej and i decided to go out to dinner. i had previously seen a neighborhood trattoria that was packed with happy diners and looked very inviting, so we went there. this night, it was not packed with happy diners. when we walked in, it felt as if we'd entered the twilight zone. there was no music, no talking. the only people there were the family that runs it and they watched us as if we were strangers in the wild west who had just walked into the town saloon. we were hungry and decided to take our chances there.

it was quickly established that no one there spoke english and that our italian was virtually non-existent. our waitress was about my age with tight jeans and dyed blonde hair. she looked tired. her 9 year old son was sitting quietly at one of the tables. an old man sat at the other end of his table, not eating, just silently staring off into space. i never saw him leave, but he was gone by the time we left. there was also an old woman in an apron who didn't sit with them. i thought, "i bet she's going to cook our meal and it's going to taste really good." she didn't. she read a newspaper at a separate table while we ate.

the menu was a mystery. very little of it was recognizable to us. we pointed at items and took our chances. actually, i knew that ej was ordering chicken cacciatore, but i chose mine because it had "milanesa" in it.

while we waited for our food, we had a chance to check out the decor. mostly photos of an old man with a long, white beard who ended up being our chef. the whole place looked like an homage to him, right down to the poster-sized photograph of him in younger days, carefully placed over the gigantic fireplace.

their little dog begged the boy for food.

we relaxed and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere; quiet except for the chef sneezing in the kitchen. see how relaxed i look? i must've just heard the sneeze.

when the food arrived, it was clear that ej made the better choice. mine was tasty, but it was a huge plate of a thin piece of pork, breaded and fried. his chicken (actually hen), was amazing.

we ended up going back the next night. there were actually other diners then. the gnocchi with pesto was okay, but i'd definitely go back for some meat.

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