Monday, June 30, 2008

No more summertime blues.

May of 2007 I wrote this post. What a difference a year (and a new country makes).

I do realize the fact that I don’t have to work all weekend helps.

The summer vibe here is more NYC than L.A. The city has different festivals going on and there is easy affordable public transportation. I’ve been checking out museums, going the park, meeting up with friends etc.

Last Saturday I went to Tivoli. I will post about that day trip later. If you are going to visit Rome for more than a couple days, it’s definitely worth it.

This past Saturday I went to the beach with an Italian friend of a mutual friend back in Hollywood. Even though he’s a director I noticed we do talk about things other than the “industry.” We picked up his girlfriend and drove to Ostia. We went to far end of the beach. We parked near what used to be the “Brazilian” beach but now it’s more Turkish. The majority of people on said beach are Italian but there were many Brazilian and Turkish folks in the house. Every section of the beach has it’s own flavor. Some areas are more family oriented, others have more a party scene.

It was great to get out of the heat of the city for a day. I have this thing where I have to see the ocean (or a very large lake like Lake Ontario) once in a while. I don’t know why. In Los Angeles I would drive to PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) or go to Santa Monica/Venice at least once a month. I must live near a coast.

A few things this American will have to get used to:

Women walking around topless. Where my parents live in Caribbean the French and other European women do it there as well but because there are so many American tourists the topless women are in the minority. Here they are in the majority. There I was reluctant to take off my cover up because I didn’t think my body was bathing suit ready and all the other women in various shapes and sizes were doing their thing. I need to get over body hangs up from years of living in the oppressive Hollywood mind set that only a size 2 is acceptable (a 0 is preferred) and be thankful that my body is healthy and works. (Yet another friend around my age is battling breast cancer.)

Speedos. Yes some of the older men are still rocking them. However, the younger guys are wearing the “Daniel Craigs” a cross between a Speedo and a brief. Me like!

Some things reminded me of the islands. The vendors walking up to you on the beach trying to sell you various things, the randomness of the DJ’s music selection, the smell of sun block.

Despite it being very hot now, too many tourists and that this ragazza will not be traveling outside of a day trip once in a while given my bank account (damn you low dollar!!), so far this is has been the best summer I’ve had in over ten years.

p.s. Big ups to Spain for winning their first major football championship in 44 years.


joanne at frutto della passione said...

When I first moved here I had hang ups about wearing a bathing suit too. Then I went to the beach and I saw every shape and size in bikinis. I still donìt wear one, I prefer a one piece, but I worry about it a whole lot less!!!

Beatriz' suitcase contents said...

Glad those blues are gone! As a fellow southern California dweller, I understand all those "body" issues, as I was never so aware of my small chest than living in the OC!
Have a great summer!

Milanese Masala said...

Glad to hear you're one of the few who've enjoyed Lake Ontario. Unfortunately you won't be finding any Daniel Craig look-alikes there :(
I remember my first time on an Italian beach. I thought I looked horrible in a bathing suit so I was dressed in a t-shirt, bermuda shorts and TIGHTS! Yeah, I was mentally ill back then. I've since seen the error of my ways.

Anonymous said...

tracey k/ohio: the best summer in 10 years? (LOL!) See how happiness is found in spite of what you have or don't have, but your attitude about it? Go ahead girl, throw caution to the wind & 'let the girls get some air' down @ the beach! :-D

glamah16 said...

So nice to live in a place without those shallow hang ups.Your summer soounds amazing so far and it has only just begun!

Kataroma said...

I still miss the Australian beach - old fat men in "banana hammocks" and all. Sigh! But I should try to get to Ostia sometime soon. The problem is I'm carless and 9 months pregnant so it's kind of unlikely until next summer when the baby is of an age to enjoy the beach.

I've never really had hang-ups about my body at the beach (well, ok when I was 16 but not since then). I guess that's one good thing about growing up in Sydney - you're at the beach all the time - sometimes even nude beaches etc and you learn that people come in all shapes and sizes and no one really cares.

Anyway, life's too short to worry about things which don't matter!

erin :: the olive notes said...

chris and i always felt overdressed at the beach...him with his surf trunks and me with a top :)

Sissi said...


I've been reading (and enjoying) your blog for quite a while. I followed a link from Jess.

Yes, the whole beach experience is very different in Europe ( you will find that the south of France is very similar to the Italian sea coast), because your family is from Beautiful Island, you're more open minded. Imagine now your typical American family going to the beach for the first time in Italy. I think they would be pretty surprised!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm glad you're having such a nice summer! The European beach scene is so different from the U.S., too.

The tiny speedos on huge older men thing is something I can do without, though, lol.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

joanne - I'm not there yet but working on it. Maybe getting a new bathing suit will help me get into the spirit. :)

beatriz - In L.A. I was so used to them I would only notice them if they were Pamela Anderson Lee size.

milanese - I didn't swim in the lake (can one swim in it?) but the apartment I stayed in had a view of the Lake from the roof top gym. The views were spectacular. I also would drive down to the "beaches" area and work out on the boardwalk next to the lake. Okay you were wearing tights? At the beach? I'm glad you are better now. :)

Tracey K - yes it's sad isn't it. What the heck was I doing all that time? Next time I will take off my coverup but not sure the girls will be hanging out anytime soon. Ha

glamah16 - I was hoping to go away but unfortunately the dollar situation is not great. However, I'm having a blast and there are plenty of things to do in town and close by.

kataroma - 9 months, wow, how exciting.

You are right. We shouldn't worry about these things. I remember seeing some website where people were saying it was outrageous that some star (I think it was rebecca gayheart) was topless in front of children. She was some where in Italy. In America we sexualize everything. I think those people who left those comments would have been scandalized at the beach on Saturday.

The human is a beautiful and amazing thing. I think it's outrageous we can show all kinds of violence in media but any nudity regardless of the context flips many of my countrymen out.

erin - ha. I know what you mean.

sissi - merci. One year we went to Friar's Bay on the French side. My siblings and I saw one French lady, who was not a model size, walk out into the water to meet a friend. She had a cigarette in one hand and drink in the other. My brother said to me "that is something you don't see often back home."

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jen - Speedos really don't leave much to the imagination. I'm sure in time I will get used to them but on Saturday was surprised to see how popular they still are. In the States most guys wear trunks.

Eryn said...

we went to tivoli when we studied in Italy and loved it! I've never seen so many fountains in my life and had some of the best pizza while there.

i love the smell of sunblock too!

Leanne said...

I haven't been to Ostia yet this summer. I cannot bare the crowds on the weekend so will have to go during the week.
As for beach wear, when I was in Sicily (a non tourist part in the middle of no where) they did not go topless (oh no, far to conservative and religious in these parts) BUT a saw one to many women letting it all hang out in other areas if you know what I mean. I don't think there was any waxing being done on any parts of the body is this particular town!

And as for Tivoli I agree - it is lovely there!

gibber said...

I went to my friend's house in Annapolis, and she lives on the water. Not pretty water you can swim in (unless you wanna get sick), but it's pretty to look at. I put on sunblock, inhaled deeply, and pretended I was off to Friar's! :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

eyrn - those fountains are amazing. I liked the Villa itself as well.

leanne - ha. I hear the beaches in Sicily are beautiful. I can't wait to visit. Given that the area is in the middle of nowhere I'm not surprised women were not big on waxing. Where would they have it done? I guess they could do it at home but I doubt small villages are selling that stuff. One thing that annoys me about the influence of porn is this idea that EVERYTHING has to be waxed away. I'll should write about this.

gibber - Annapolis is very pretty. To this day I'm still salty about what happened to Dawn Beach.

Italiana Americana said...

AH I love tivoli! It is one of my favorite places, Villa d'este is so beautiful and relaxing I think I spent 4 hours there! The italian beaches are so interesting aren't they? I think it's great that women of all sizes wear bikini's and aren't afraid of what other people think. I definetly think Italy has a realistic idea about Body image. ;) Well have during your best summer ever ! I know the summer I spent in Italy was my favorite summer too...!! :)

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Italiana Americana - grazie! There is so much going on in the city this summer. I can't wait. Now if it only weren't so bloody hot. ha.

wordtryst said...

I'm so happy for you - you absolutely did the right thing.

I don't have a problem with nudity (my own) in private, or with other people's wherever they like (within reason). I won't be airing my 'girls' in public - except maybe on a deserted beach. Tankini for me, please...

I went to a nude beach in Miami a couple times (dragged by an exhibitionist friend - my clothes stayed on!) and after the first hour or so of bugged eyes it was no biggie.

I've always found the 'extreme violence is OK but nudity is horrendous' conundrum downright absurd. Remember the uproar some time ago about women breast feeding in public? Weird.

Speedos are still alive? **shudder**

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

wordtyrst - yes Speedos are still alive. ha