The last few days have been typical raincouver, made more dreary by the rotting, soppy mess (lovely fall foliage in a previous life, just a short month ago) on the pavements. Luckily I discovered a trove of greenery while attempting to clean up my photo folders.
It was blistering, the heat, not from any source, permeated the entire airspace. The air was thick, like inside an oven, a sauna. Each breath, a suffocating intake of fire-hot miasma, accompanied by clawing desperation to grasp air. Air unladen with the crushing heat. Air cool like flowing water, not freshly spewed magma. Air with oxygen, not saturated with boiling steam.
The heat seeped in every pore, ran along every surface. Sweat and the moist air forming a laminar layer, bounding in the intruding heat. Inside and out, each surface burned and blistered, the fire slowly disintegrating the body into ashes.
I spent the past long weekend relaxing, mostly sleeping, and eating.
Made a variation on a Chinese dish with konnyaku. Cut the konnyaku into thin slices, cook quickly in boiling water, dress with mixture of spicy oil, soya sauce, and a bit of sugar. Mix in shredded, cooked chicken meat (great way to get rid of some leftovers) and some chopped cilantro.
Geoduck also happened to be on sale so I had some delicious sashimi too!
I did manage to get outside (and see some cows and wildlife) on a nice little walk. Fortunately the weather wasn't quite as unfortunate as the forecast made it out to be.
I also started a little embroidery project. The maniac bit of my pseudo-bipolarism has worn off now so I'm not sure when I'll finish this.
Even though this is supposed to be a short week, today was already far too long. I'm not too sure exactly what I accomplished today but I worked so frantically that it feels as if I must have done something.
After my vacation, a few people have asked me how I fared with English or presumed that I spoke some Italian. In actuality, the Italian I know are either limited to not very useful words like "allegro" or "poco-a-poco", or extremely simple ones like "scusi" and "parla inglese?".
It was very convenient to converse in English at all the major tourist sites and with hotel and restaurant staff. I rarely felt any difficulties getting around Italy. For the most part the pronunciation was easy to understand, with church and tourist information booth staff having the least obvious accent.
Many of those in the tourism industry spoke French and German as well. (I noticed quite a lot of German tourists in Italy.) For some reason, the French and German they spoke sounded very much like Italian in intonation, while their English was generally quite good.
What I found more useful than speaking or listening (the announcements on trains are fairly incoherent in any languages, make sure to look at the signs approaching a station) was reading. Most signs have Italian as the largest and most visible words. Restaurants away from the main tourist streets also may not have English on menus.
Studying up on some basic Italian before a trip is helpful but if you have a basic grasp on some other Romance languages, you can "learn on the fly". It was fairly simple to identify basic patterns in the language and memorize useful words like "biglietteria" (ticket office) selling "biglietti" (tickets).
I basically don't have too much to say on the subject other than it's fairly easy to get around the major tourist destinations with English. Obviously you'll need more Italian knowledge for locations off the well worn paths.
There are still a lot more posts about my trip to Italy. I took a slight break for a little whilte but I aim to restart my blogging efforts soon.