16 July 2009

"Anybody want a peanut?"

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream, I am a traveller of both time and space, to be where I have been. . .

We arrived in Naples on Saturday afternoon, and were promptly greeted by our host Umberto and cloudy skies (ominous? you decide). I have no idea how we packed everything into his tiny car, but we did, and fit all five of us in as well (in case I haven't mentioned it, I'm here with the three female tutors from my last camp- our boys went home last weekend). If the car ride itself weren't enough to thoroughly terrify us all, the things we saw on the way there certainly were.
Long story short, Naples is a massive ghetto. And our tiny guest house/villa/Snow White's cottage is located in the ghetto of this ghetto. I've been fortunate enough to have spent virtually my entire life in really safe neighborhoods, so I don't have much to compare our area of Naples to, but if I had to compare it to something familiar to me, I might say west KC. I mean, on our bus home we drive through a humongous water treatment facility and some stockyards (that's your West Bottoms right there) we have to drive over a sketch bridge (12th Street, anyone?), and the nicest way to describe the neighborhoods is 'vibrant.'
Don't get me wrong- I love the West Side. That's why I would have to say that Naples is far worse than it. I mean, the city is almost constantly in a state of garbage crisis due to Mafia control (I'm not sure quite how that works out but I'm pretty sure it's because of the Mafia), it's overrun with pigeons and street vendors selling counterfeit goods, and there's more graffiti than you can shake a stick at. On the bus ride home yesterday I noticed that some of the businesses have not only brick walls set up to deter thieves, and not only barbed wire at the top of said walls, but shards of glass stuck into daubs of concrete at the base of the barbed wire as well. That's old school.
There is one shining star in this black hole of a neighborhood, however, and that is the pizza place next to our bus stop. The proprietor, Vittorio, is an amico of Umberto, and he gives us a discount on our pizza. . . plus it is very good, so it's actually super worth it. Josephine and Kelsey have each been eating a box each night and leaving the boxes up above our cabinets. Now they wonder why the villa is infested with flies.
Sunday we wandered. Monday we took the train up to Herculaneum (awesome!) and Sorrento. Tuesday we travelled four hours to Amalfi (I found so much sea glass that I pretty much decided that I need to incorporate it into my senior exhibit. Wednesday we saw Pompeii (soooo hot) and Sorrento again. Today we took the overpriced ferry out to Capri. Basically, my upper body is super tan/burnt- for me, at least. Tomorrow we're going to take it easy, and I'll probably lay out to get a little more tan on my stomach. It has been ridiculously hot each and every day, though, and probably will be tomorrow as well. Seriously, multiple Neapolitans have remarked on how much I glisten in the heat. I wish I knew how to say in Italian, "I can't help it, I'm Swedish."
I'll keep you updated. Pics asap so you can know I'm alive.
Much love!
PS: I hear gunshots right now.


Jen said...

Amalfi coast is my favorite place!! :)

Uncle Dave said...

Good pizza and beautiful sunsets can overcome just about any living conditions! Keep your head down, though. (Bullets hurt)