Tuesday, August 5, 2008

La Sangra di Ranocchie e Gnocchi

Poster plastered all over the place for the Sangra at Molina

These last few days have been really busy and stressful. To keep up, I skipped Italian class today giving me 3 hours of peace on the computer. I did warn Jim in advance so his feelings wouldn't be hurt. They have added so many extra activities at the last moment, there is no time for much else. I did manage to save a treat for my pal Dave and I now know his hiding place during the day. When he sees me now, he comes running wagging his stub of a tail though his breed should have a full tail. He understands Italian commands, not English.

Since we had an activity at night, we saw our movie during the afternoon after class eliminating that free period. Lamerica (Amelio, 1994) about post-Communist Albania and what a hellhole it was. The only hope the people had was to escape to Italy, the promised land, which they learned about through Italian TV. As the crow flies, Albania is quite close to Bari, Puglia. The communists had forbidden Italian TV or language or song but once that fell in the early 90s, they did get the TV but nothing else. From TV shows, crude imitations of American ones, Italy looks like a fabulous place. Lots of people tried to escape and of course, Italy doesn't need any more immigrants. Their story was similar to the poverty Italians, especially southern ones (like here!)suffered pre and post-war causing lots of them to immigrate to you know where. But in the 60s, Italy had its economic miracle, mainly in the North spreadly slowly to the south and they are doing quite well now. But the movie was extremely touching and thought provoking. It also brings home the message never to go to Albania. Alot of Albanians made their way to Detroit. Frankly they get negative press with their honor killings. At Wayne, alot of them take Italian classes.
On to the Sangra. A food festival is a Sangra. This one was in Molina just a few miles on the other side of Castelvecchio. I did spend some time exploring the streets, very narrow, steep, twisty paths, taking pictures in my continuing series of crumbling medieval small town buildings. I thought I was alone but heard footsteps behind me. I turned around to find I was being followed by a pack of dogs. The town wanted to feed us. This will happen tonight also. These poor, small towns wanting to feed rich Americans. So strange. On the menu, frog legs and gnocchi. Yum, yum. I couldn't get myself to eat the frogs. I assumed they would use bullfrog legs but these seemed to be from medium sized frogs cut in half with the bottom half being what was served so it included some of the middle parts too. Again I passed. Someone went to inquire where these frogs were from as Italy seems to be lacking wetlands. They answered, Rome. Hmm. No wetlands there either so they finally admitted they were from China. The town ladies have been working for months handmaking the gnocchi and freezing them. We had the choice of truffle sauce or tomato. Also we were served saugages and little kebabs of roasted mutton. Tried not to think about the mutton. Lots of people there. A beautiful sunset, surrounded by mountains, darting bats, stray dogs and cats sneaking in, dancing natives-quite the sight. I was surprised to see men dancing together in a small town. But after 4 hours I wanted to go home. In my minivan, there were 4 very drunk students (there was lots of wine also at the sangra). One girl was especially obnoxious screaming into my ear the whole way back obscenities having to do with chupas. Chupas are suckers but apparently can mean something else. Henceforth, we refered to her as the chupa girl. We couldn't get home fast enough for me. These kids need to grow up fast. Not all of them are bad but that night, one puked in the shower, another peed in the laundry room. When you deal with them one on one, they seem sweet and cute but in packs and when drunk, ..not so charming. Two of Jack's corkscrews have disappeared from the common area-corkscrews surprisingly are a rare item here. I was so tired. I didn't get back until 12, people were drunk and very noisy until 3. I got up early not to run but to write my work in longhand. I skipped class to type it up. I have one paper to go but I had talked her into an extension for that. Then we were forced to attend a lecture before lunch on biodiversity. No time for this. Right after our film class this afternoon, we are being bussed to Vittorito for a wine festival and dinner. On the positive side, my 'group' project is fine that I am doing with Jack on the spaghetti western. He will be Clint Eastwood. We went over it already and he's into my script.

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