Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 Things that Surprise Me about Venice

1) There are no coffee shops, the kind that you can stay in for hours, drinking little, but slowly, while reading or working on your laptop.

2) Three- or four-course meals are not long and drawn out affairs. Rather, plates overlap or appear in immediate succession (#1 and #2 create a rushed feeling to ingesting liquid and matter... slowness is reserved for wandering the streets).

3) The locals cart backpacks on wheels behind them. What they carry inside them, God only knows.

4) I think I could live here, on this tiny, tightly woven web of stone and water, the Dolomites only 3 hours away by train.

5) Wine is as cheap as water (maybe not surprising?).

6) Men actually do say, "Ciao, Bella!" It's not just a T-shirt.

7) It's rare to find a wi-fi hotspot (maybe relates to #1).

8) A 1/4 bottle of wine still makes me tipsy, even in Italy. I'm such a waif.

9) Espresso immediately drunk after wine, ironically, does not work immediately.

10) This city was actually built! It didn't just stop at an idea. And it suffers from so many problems that must have been foreseeable while planning: in the Winter at high tide, parts of the city (like San Marco square) flood for two hours every day; motorboats' reverberations are disturbing buildings' foundations; wastewater? where does it go?; the lagoon is polluted; building facades are crumbling down, materials wet and saturated. All these problems must have been present in the minds of those who planned this city, and yet, they built it! And despite all these ridiculous problems, the city is enchanting because the idea is magical, kid-like.

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