Thursday, March 01, 2007

See Naples and Die

I can't remember which famous artist/writer said that quote. He was talking about how incredible the city is and after you see it you can pass on. I thought of that quote often yesterday as I tried to cross the street.

First I digress, while walking to the internet place I bumped into Matteo (the friend who was in L.A. last week) at the end of my block. He lives a couple yards from my apartment. We acted like we haven't seen each other in years. Anyway I have a lunch meeting today so I could not join him and Martina for lunch.

Speaking of L.A., in the last three days of watching (I barely understand a word, the newscasters speak so quickly) the morning news on RAI I have not seen one story on Anna Nicole Smith or Britney's meltdown. It is kind of strange, they were the lead stories on the Today Show last week.

Okay back to Naples. I can't really discribe how intense it is. Naples makes Rome seem like freaking Mayberry. I walked out of the station and it was more hectic than NYC's Port Authority. The noise, the traffic. I swear most of the cross streets lights don't work and if they did, people ran the red lights anyway.

I got lost and went to Castel Nuovo. I asked the wrong man for direction to the Museo Archeloglogico Nazionale and got lost again. I finally gave in and put my life in a cab drivers hands. What an amazing city. We up these tiny side streets, went along the water, the to the Museo.

Many of the artifacts from Pompeii are at the Museo. I really enjoyed it. The "secret galley" is somewhat trippy. No kids under 14 can enter unless they are with an adult. Let's just say back then folks really liked to get their freak on. I also noticed a mosaic that the series ROME uses in the opening credits.

I met Tracie B (and briefly met Gennaro who gave her a ride) and we went to lunch at a place not far from the Museo. Of course I can't remember the name. I think it was Soprilla? This pizza was amazing. I had a great time meeting Tracie B. She lucked out that my analog self still doesn't own a digital camera. She claims she is not photogenic. Whatever. Tracie is very pretty so I don't know what she is talking about.

After a three hour lunch (apparently, we both love to talk), we took the metro to the Chiaia area. Tracie refused to let me pay for lunch. Next time I'm treating. The metro was spotless and nobody was pushing. This area is close to the bay. Very pretty with a lot of cool shops, bars, cafes, plus the high end stores like Gucci, Prada (I am not feeling the new Prada shaggy bags. I must discuss with Sfashionista upon my return to L.A.)etc.

We walked back towards the station and then hoped in a cab. Tracie B had to remind to put my wallet anwyay pronto. I got on the wrong Eurostar. I thought my train was leaving early but I was on the express one. I paid 15 extra Euros while on the train but it was worth it. It took only an hour and a few minutes to get back to Rome.

I cannot believe how two cities so close to each could be so different. I felt like I was in another world. In the last year I have seen several travel articles on Naples, in places like the NYTs, Travel and Leisure, and Vanity Fair had one last month. I don't think Naples (the most densely populated city in Europe)is going to turn into a Disneyland time place anytime soon even with all the "it's the in place" to go to hype, which is nice. I didn't see many tourists at all, just a few Americans and Brits at the Museo.

Naples is like NYC in the 70s. The energy is unreal. I found it overwhelming. It's not laid out on a grid like New York, or easy to navigate like Paris. Naples is a city of contrasts, sublime beauty next to chaos. I saw a mafia gathering for a funeral. That was interesting. The police were everywhere.

Once I left Termini, I was too busy talking on my cell phone (confirming planes for today's lunch) and got lost walking home. I passed by the Coliseum, which was so not in the right direction. I took the long way home but I didn't mind. While I was on the phone an Italian man around my age with a cane and a limp said my english was great and I had a fantastic smile. I don't why homeslice was all up in my conversation but it was pretty funny at the time.

I am sorry I am not more computer savvy and all the directions on this computer are in Italian, so I can't link to Tracie B's post. You can find it on the left under Tracie's Life Italian. She has great photos of Ischia and posts on food, wine and her version of La Dolce Vita.


Tracie B. said...

hey arlene! i had a great time too :)

if you go to the "bacheca" and scroll all the way down, click on lingua and you can set the language to english.

i expect to see you in ischia next, ok?

gibber said...

the blog world bringing people together. it's beautiful.

sounds like you're having a very good time!

J.Doe said...

I would say enjoy your trip but it sounds like you already are.

woman wandering said...

This doesn't help me convince myself about why I like living in Belgium ... sigh, I want to see Naples now, and I already adore Roma, and the food, and the wine and the people...

Dammit, I'll just name 'Italy' as the other 'party' in the divorce.

I'm Tracie's post directed me this way :)

nikinpos said...

Tracie did that 'refusing to let me pay' thing to me too! In Ischia it was a race to see who could pay first!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Yes J. Doe I am.

Hi Woman Wandering, maybe you and Italy can have "shared custody"

Yes Nicki, before I could even reach for my bag she threw down her Euros.