Saturday, August 9, 2008

Goriano picture and fountain

From the highest point
On the way up to the church

The town fountain

Goriano from afar

Yesterday were the two finals. After the Italian one, I went for a walk in parts of town that I hadn't explored. One house at the edge had very elaborate gardens terraced into the hillside. The owner saw me looking through the gate and invited me in. His wife did all the flowers and he did the fruit trees, vegetable and herbs. He had a banana, apricot, fig, apple, plum, pear and filbert tree along with every vegetable you could think of. He invited me to come back later and his wife would then make me coffee. In our film class, we had discussed the concept of a panopticon -a building such a prison in which the warden could sit in the middle and see into all the cells at once. The monastery is built like that-everyone can see whatever anyone else is doing. I feel the whole town is like that. Some of the residents keep track of my running. Later I was talking to the wife of the program director about my experience with the gardener and she told me that she had heard all about it and the gardener was wondering if I was a teacher at Wayne. So I am never alone. Even Dave the dog keeps track of me though he has stopped herding me as I feed him.

We had a film class before the final. In these films there are so many cultural references that the average American easily misses. In the last one, apparently one scene was a spoof on Dante's Divine Comedy, which apparently every Italian knows. Well all of us missed it. I have heard of Dante, even walked by his house in Firenze, but I haven't read his writings. Apparently he is responsible for modern Italian. He wrote in it instead of Latin. When we went to the Roman ruins in Alba Fucans a few weeks ago, a group of people were there acting a scene from The Inferno. Also though I have heard of that silly song Volare, I had no idea it was some anthem of the Mafia. Then the film final which took me more than an hour to finish. I understood all the concepts listed but we had to apply them to the films we watched and I was unsure what Elena really wanted from us. But it is over though we are to go to both classes Monday.

Immediately after the final, we were bussed to Goriano which is on the other side of Castel di Ieri. No rest for the wicked. First we climbed the roads to St. Gemma's house. These towns really revere their saints. Every May, the town re-enacts when Gemma comes to town. It involves making lots of unleavened bread and feeding them to the poor and then partying afterwards.Then we climbed further to the highest point the church, built with separate entrances as men couldn't go through the same door as their sinful wives. From the churchyard, one could see for miles. Then finally down to the main piazza to eat. More pasta and brushetta and lots of wine. A few of the kids got very drunk there. One was so bad Elena had to help carry her upstairs and stay with her. As for myself, if I drink more than one glass of wine now, my stomach burns so I am stone sober here. After watching everyone dance for a while, I am really bad at salsa or any kind of dancing and I can't drink enough alcohol now to make me forget that fact, I went for a miniwalk by myself and found Nancy crying her eyes out. She really misses her husband, who died 2 years ago and I guess seeing all the kids dancing reminded her of missing her man. Also she had been drinking which made her weepy.

They have a medieval fair today in Castelvecchio and we will be bussed there for dinner on their town's dime. Lots of kids went to Pescara today where the Adriatic sea is but they made arrangements with the Italian students to drive them. Public transportation is severely lacking on the weekends so my dream of seeing the Adriatic will have to wait. I slept in a little later. I was going to run UP to Secinaro today as my legs should be fresh but just couldn't get myself going. I did run DOWN to Castelvecchio but the only animals I saw were packs of stray dogs though they do make me nervous as they don't vaccinate here. It is true that I must go up again to get back in Gagliano but there is a shortcut crossing the fields. I run on a part of it but in some parts, it is extremely steep or really bad footing so I walk.
Yesterday while driving to Goriano, in the town of Castel Ieri, a cow was in the middle of the road (in the middle of town!!) A man tried to shoo it for us but the cow turned on him and began to charge him. Our bus passed before we could see if he was able to duck into a building for safety. There are no cows on my route so I'm safe from them. Just wolves, foxes, deer, stray dogs and of course my friendly boars. And now I hear there is a bear here. There is a flat stretch between Castel di Ieri and Goriano that I saw several runners on but it would take a while for me to get down to it. I will have to wait for Michigan for flatness which will be very soon, Tuesday. Time has gone by so fast. As soon as I got back, a cannon was fired several times. The sleeping kids thought we were being bombed it was so loud. Ha. Serves them right. Anyways, I assume the cannons were to announce the openning of Gagliano's very own Sangra featuring 'tanta, tanta birra' and 'musica a tarde ore' along with various truffle dishes, barbequed mutton-all the local favorites. I will try to download their poster later. Lots of people in town are already for it.

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