Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In Venezia XII

Nancy and I decided to compose together today so here is a joint blog posting. John: A showery day in Venezia changes the pace of the city completely. The tourists never make it past the €1.50 gelato una palina contour line. The Zattere is deserted, the fair-weather food establishments retreating to tiny awnings and the tourists nowhere to be seen. The few intrepid souls at this distance from St. Mark's seem to be British--the foul weather runs off their backs out of habit. Closer in, the Japanese tourists are still game for gondola rides (most other gondoliers that we've seen the past several days are M. I. A.). Within pigeon-feed distance of the duomo, one starts to pick up the Americans. I think the Germans are drinking beer somewhere.

A lazy day for me, Nancy that is. I did walk nearly three miles which can seen like tons back home and is a simple jaunt in this car-free wonderland. In addition to that minimal walk to a bookstore to see if there are any English books worth buying for the trip home, my day has been mostly about reading 24 -- count 'em -- canti of the Inferno section of Dante's Divine Comedy. Warning: the sentence ahead is complex. So I've been immersed in reading about the company George W. "There are no longer words sufficient to describe his crimes" Bush and Darth "Already-Dead" Cheney will be keeping when they are no longer kind of sort of not really "running" things and have been somehow, even if it's only on a cosmic level, prosecuted for their crimes and sentenced to a ring of hell. Snakes, sinners, those who lust, steal, and soothsay. Usury, graft, thievery and lying. Devils who smite you with a glance and turn you from a hellhound wraith into ash. That sort of thing. Charming, don't you think?

What else?

I, like John, did see Japanese tourists today on obligatory gondola tours, but WITH an accordionist in one of the requisite three boats.

It's dusk now and we've just finished our delicious and savory and maybe even low-calorie Tuesday night supper. We're contemplating a passegiatta -- evening walk -- (John calls them passegelatos) down the street to Calle Avogardia and out to the deserted Zattere. Or maybe we'll stick inland tonight, head for one of the many deserted gelateria and the rabbit-warren streets and alleys that make up this quieter Venice sixth. In the meantime, watching the day fade, the heads of passersby as they bob along under the crest of our living room windows is entertainment enough. Bellissimo!

John again: The fair weather format extends to St. Mark's where after I think, nine days in a row, the intrepid fiddler has a day off. Tables are propped to shed water and chairs will await the waiters' towels before tourist seats are seated again.

A high point was roaming home from St. Mark's down the San Polo side of the canal and running into a spice shop I hadn't seen before (read that I didn't really know where I was) where they had photogenic piles of spices and seeds in the window. The unfortunate thing is that I have no idea where it was so will not make it back there except by mistake.

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