Sunday, November 4, 2012

Taormina and First World Problems

OK, back to Taormina. There were some sights to see in Taormina, most notable a Greek theatre (with what I might call a Roman overlay – the brickwork is all Roman). Has a great view of Etna through the columns, so, you know, it's all good.

Indeed, Taormina is all abour the Great Views. Half the pictures I took there were with the thought “this will be my new wallpaper.” Lovely, lovely views.

You can see the former monastery/hotel where we were staying in this one.  It's that large tannish complex over there on the hillside.

I think this next one was taken from somewhere near the Greek theatre complex.


Taormina is also about the shopping. They had a main street about a half mile long with all sorts of shops – ranging from crazy high end Italian fashion, to guys in the side streets selling the usual All Things Sicily crap. We had a few evenings free in Taormina, and I walked from one end of that street to the other multiple times (scouting for gifts, comparison pricing the gifts, buying the gifts, looking for restaurants with free wi-fi, and, of course, finding the best gelato shop – a girl’s gotta eat … gelato). I try to buy myself something small – like a scarf or a pair of earrings – to remember a trip by. In this case, I got some earrings made out of lava from Mt. Etna. Which I adore. Because, you know, lava from Mt. Etna. :)

It was while at dinner the second-to-last night (at a restaurant with pasta and free wi-fi) that it hit me that I was going to overnight in London on the way back, and that I hadn’t really checked the weather in London. Even with my Crappy American knowledge of geography, I realized that London’s rather more northern climate would not be as awesomely mild as things were there in the Mediterranean. I cranked up on my phone, and read the bad news: nights in London (and I’d be trying to see a play – so would be out at night) were down to about 33 degrees. And here I was in about 66 degrees, wearing the only blazer I’d brought, and I was feeling a bit chilly. Great. I had to deal with a 30 degree drop in temperature. I started wondering if I could layer my yoga pants under my jeans.

Yes, I know, total First World Problem.

I have this theory, though, that if you can solve a problem by throwing money at it, it isn’t really a problem. (Yes, I know: total First World Solution.) Here I was with a half mile of shops just waiting to sell me stuff. Surely I could find something warm to buy.

As it turns out, I could. The real trick was in finding something warm to buy which wasn’t either: (1) some crazy expensive designer thing; or (2) something I’d never wear again. I mean, sure, they had nice $200 down coats for sale, but I live in L.A., and have more than enough down to satisfy my limited down needs. (If only I’d packed it.) On what must have been my 8th trip down the street (having just bought the lava earrings) I spotted a Benetton. Oh, Glory Be! They had a nice display of sweaters for about $35 each. (I asked the limted English-speaking Italian salesperson what they were made out of, you know, “the fabric?” She looked at the label from ten minutes and came back with “Croatia.” Ah, fabric/fabricated, logical mistake. We eventually got to “100% wool,” which led quickly to “sold!” – because a $35 thin(ish) wool sweater would save my ass in London and, indeed, could be used again in L.A.

I wanted to accompany this with a nice thick knitted scarf from one of the All Things Sicily places. It had no price tag on it, which meant I had to ask the salesperson, who came up with “40 Euro.” (That’s about $53.) Seeing as I was hoping to haggle her down from about 15 Euro, this was no good, and I told her it was way too expensive. She immediately offered it for 35 Euro, which was, really, no closer to an acceptable ballpark, so I left. She was calling after me, saying what a great scarf it was, as it was all handmade. Lady, I’m never going to wear it again – show me where they’re selling the cheap machine made knockoffs.

I never did get a scarf, but figured I could solve the rest of my London wardrobe issues in the Zurich airport.

But first, sunset over the Med...


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