Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Nov 23, 2007
|Hello from Palermo, Italy, on the beautiful island of Sicily.
Home to the Mafia (which is still alive and well in the city), canelloni, pizza, espresso machiatto and numerous other wonders.
Its also home to the worst drivers in Europe (a fact). I presume its also home to the largest number of pedestrian deaths in the free world.
It is, by far, the most dynamic city I have been to in Europe. Its noisy....non-stop. The car to motorbike/scooter ratio is about 3:1 so there is a lot of noise simply from the number of bikes. Getting back to the ship is like getting back to a silence....although the students can be loud and raucous at times too!!
Its a city that appears to be both crumbling yet surviving. Along the streets to Quattro Canti (the city square), the apartment buildings are old, plaster is falling off, yet on the ground floor of these same apartments are high-end stores selling Gucci, Armani and any other number of European designers. Its quite the visual paradox.
Today I had to go to a doctors clinic with one of the students.....a lovely young lady named Emma, and her cabin-mate Emily came with us for company. I think it was a treat as generally the Grade 12 students must be out in a group of 4, but with myself of a teacher they can be in a smaller group. So we journey by cab to the clinic.....refer to sentences 3 and 4 above.....and are quite happy to arrive safely.
Emily speaks French, Japanese, Spanish and English, the doctor speaks Italian, I speak nothing. Doctor looks at Emma, begins to speak, as all Italians do....with his hands waving about and very rapidly. I understand nada. Emily slows him down with a mix of what she describes as something not quite Spanish but not French either. Every 20 words or so she picks up something she understands and says it to me....out of her 20 words or so I pick out something I understand and with about 6 words figure out that my dear Emma has a case of shingles and it will be treated with some medication. (well, I knew she had shingles, but needed the medication)
In very rapid Italian, because I guess the blank look on my face doesn't make him understand that I don't know what he is talking about....he tells us how this medication is to be delivered. The best I can do is tell her to take pills but not when she is sleeping or if she is a horse. Perhaps she will get better, perhaps she will start eating hay, its a toss up. The farmacia was no better....although we were left to understand that what ever it is that she is to do, she is to do it for 15 days.
I love visiting foreign medical clinics....so much gets accomplished in the day.
Tomorrow I am off to Mondello, a little fishing village with a lovely beach.....or I may spend the day at the local market..depends on the weather.