my first footsteps in italy took me off wandering through a morning food market. it wasnt so much the diverse fresh produce that caught my attention what was even more amusing was the flavor of the italian personalities.
As i wandered through the rows of hanging chorizos & parma hams and fresh orange trees growing outside the stalls of wall to wall cheese, these characters seemed to jump into life...
“ahhh giavani, blah blah blah blah” whilst waving his hands in the air
giavanni replying “ahhh franco, blah blah blah ha ha ha” ad-mist a flapping of flabby arms
both of them chuckling away as one wandered past the other. i couldnt help but think of that scene in family guy where peter trys to speak italian. classic.
i watched as big fat franco wandered down the closed off street, taunting and touting with various characters behind their stalls.
they had the banter. smiles were chucked round and the parma ham slim slices handed out. the atmosphere was jovial as i set off jostling in ad-mist the general hustle and market bustle.
wandering off down the street i became consumed with watching these italian market vendors. one moment i was watching a pretty lady being chatted up by a market vendor, my ears then dragged me round to a lady dishing out some gruyere cheese, ahh grazie.
i made my way across the street and ran into the same young italian dude carrying the pretty ladies vegetables to her car. it was comical and a beauty to watch. this very attractive italian women striding across the road with her prada heels, mini skirt and sun kissed legs. the young dude bouncing along besides her with a smuggy grin smudged across his greasy face. two cliches in one.
it was then when a conglomeration of shrills and shrieks cast my eye back across the road. a large white market van blocked the middle of the narrow one lane road. four or five people on its right hand side were waving their hands in the air. only this time, it wasnt old franco and giavani having a laugh.
i bent down and to my horror, a dog was pinned under the front wheel. for a moment of chaos, maybe a few seconds no one knew what to do. my eyes flicked back up and caught an elderly lady standing there, a shocked and stricken look pulled down over pale face, in one hand her prada handbag, in the other a dangling red dog leash with no dog on the other end. she was looking up to the sky as if to say ‘wheres my dog gone’ or at least that what it looked like, she was probably either praying or cursing her italian gods.
the collective screams and shouts grew louder over those strange long stretch of seconds, and then finally the driver inched forward to pop the small dog out from under its rubber.
i turned and looked away. i had seen a family cat and a dog suffer the same fate.
(actually in hindsight i can laugh, but our cat was ran over as it sat on the top of a parked wheel, when it popped back out, its skin had been ripped off and it was convulsing, its carcas spasming out on the bloody concrete with my family standing on the steps watching unfold like a bad movie. my little sister suddenly stops crying and starts cry-laughing, “looook, hadlees alive, hes still moving” sadly, the rest of us knew hadlee was long gone.)
but needless to say, i turned away at that moment, it threw me off a bit, the whole mornings market banter slipped quietly from my mind as i wandered off, trying to shake those two poignant images from my head.
backpacker illusions from italy