While Layne went off with Corrado, an Italian hottie who says “Call me Coco,” I was left on the beach with a toothless Moroccan who peddles towels (I bought one from him yesterday) asking me how much I’m paying for my apartment for the month and if I’m married. I told him he was maleducato (rude) and my marital status is non importante.
We’re into Day 5 in Tropea, in the southern part of Italy, and it’s official: the entire town of 7,000 knows we’re here and knows our every move. After all, it’s not every day that a 6-foot-1 African-American with an eight-pound Chihuahua and blonde Swedish-American vacation here together.
It is impossible for us to blend in so we’ve been the talk of the town. While walking Lucia the other morning, I came across a construction worker who stopped working to play with her and stated that he knew I was renting an apartment and that an avvocato bionda (blonde attorney) was staying with me. Later that night, while walking to dinner with Francesco, owner of an Italian language school here, we were introduced to two men, one of whom who said he knew that we were on a boat earlier in the afternoon.
For the record, Layne and I were only on a boat briefly after a bird pooped on the front of her yellow dress as we walked to the port. We went aboard a boat so Layne could find water to wash off the merda (shit). I told her it was good luck to have a bird poop on you (I learned this by watching Under the Tuscan Sun) and every Italian said the same thing to Layne yesterday. Yet she still was grossed out by the whole experience.
We should be drinking apertivi with Francesco right now but once again, Layne is standing someone up in this town. Actually she’s standing up two men tonight (we’re supposed to have dinner at the restaurant where hottie Coco works), which brings the number to four so far. Luckily she’s leaving on Tuesday because every man in town would be pissed with her if she stayed for another week.
Francesco (we call him “Joe Cool”, see photo below) tried to put the moves on Layne the other night although he owns the language school where she is studying and where I am trying to talk myself into going for a week next week or the following week.
During dinner at Il Pinturicchio the other night, Francesco explained the protocol he must follow because he can’t date his students. A school that I must add draws 80% percent female students. Tropea makes no bones about what it offers foreign women. Francesco said that a television ad airing in Austria shows an older German woman enjoying wine at sunset with an Italian man half her age. Can you say cougar? So you can imagine the number of foreign women who flock here seeking fun in the sun with un ragazzo.
But Francesco must maintain professionalism in his job and not prey on the foreign women seeking companionship. “Protocol” is the word he often used the other night. However, as the evening wore on, he forgot all about protocol. We hopped from Bar Max, a cool bar owned by a cutie named Max, to Il Pinturicchio for dinner (I had the delish pizza below!!) to another restaurant for grappa and limoncello then back to Bar Max for wine and to listen to a band.
By the end of the evening, Francesco was putting the moves on Layne.
I can’t say I’m getting as much action. I thought Antonio (center below) was hot when we met in the dark on the way to a restaurant. But then I had second thoughts when I saw him in a well-lit restaurant a couple of hours later. I’m sure his wife, who has one middle tooth, breathed a sigh of relief.
I’m enjoying the town more, although I did find out there is an historical part, which is a lot more charming than where my apartment is located. I joke that we’re in the ghetto. It’s not that it’s bad but it’s not nearly as charming as the old town. But I like sitting in the piazza checking out the locals, as we did this evening after enjoying a day at the beach, where we met Davide, a police officer in a nearby town, and Pasquale, a professor. They made the mistake of asking us if we wanted anything to drink and suggested water, Tang or Coca-Cola. Layne, who never met a wine she didn’t like, later told me she was proud of me for saying, “Vino.” (As if we had not already had two carafes during lunch on the beach.)
That was after Layne came back her trip with the hottie Coco, whom said he was seated at the large table the other night when we stopped by a restaurant for after dinner drinks. I don’t remember him and think I would, considering his good looks. But then again, there were a lot of people gathered around the table and we didn’t meet everyone individually.
When Layne returned from her boat ride with Coco, she filled me in on the excursion. Less than a minute into it, he asked for a kiss and for the next hour he begged at least once a minute for un bacio. He tried to lure her into his web by saying things like, “I love you,” and “It’s because I’m ugly that you don’t want to kiss me. If I looked like George Clooney, you would kiss me.” When she told him that they had just met, he replied, “When the feeling are so strong you don’t think of logic.” I cracked up as I imagine these lines have worked on so many of the women from Austria who flock here. One look at him, and you can imagine he’s pretty successful with the ladies:
If it sounds like all we do is eat, drink and flirt, that’s not true. Layne goes to school for two hours every morning and I do whatever it is I do. Today I ate breakfast on the terrace and read The Help. The other morning I walked to “Big Shop,” the store where household goods are sold, and bought hangers (I have lots of clothes, although I shipped 10 pounds of hooker clothes home from St. Tropez to lighten my luggage), sapone liquido (liquid soap), CIF con ammoniaca vetri e superfici brillanti (glass cleaner), transparente (plastic wrap), sacchetti ghiaccio (plastic bags to make ice cubes) and scozzesi tovaglioli doppiovelo (napkins), Woolite and other goods I’ll need for the next month.
I had already bought bubble bath the day before but I don’t think I’ll be taking many bubble baths. I let the water run for nearly an hour and the bath wasn’t even half full. After while the water was cold so I knew I’d have to take a half full warm bath or a cold full bath. I opted for the former. So showers it is.
I can deal with the hot water issue. What I cannot deal with is the Chinese women who interrupt me on the beach every five minutes to ask if I want a massage. At the end of day today I told two of them, “Look, I am here for a month. You will not ask me every 10 minutes for the next month if I want a massage. When I want one, I will let you know!” I hope they pass the word to their fellow countrywomen. An irate black woman on the beach will not be a pretty sight. I told Layne that I was going to buy a water gun and start squirting each one that approaches me from here on.
But it is interesting how these Chinese women – the two I spoke to the other day are from Shanghai — chose Tropea of all places to immigrate to. There’s also an African man who sells bracelets and of course the toothless Moroccan whom sells beach towels.
Makes me wonder what I could peddle if I moved to this beautiful place. Don’t even think about it.