Whew. Haven’t gotten around to writing until late in the evening. I wound up sleeping in this morning because yesterday was a busy…and boozy…day.
The big news is that I moved into an apartment in Florence, where I’ll be ensconced (or at least sleeping) for the next 41 days (!). It’s a fantastic place. Most would consider it small, but since I currently live in a shoebox-sized room in Japan, it seems spacious to me. It’s in a building just a block in from the square that houses Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Duomo of Florence, and a building I NEVER get tired of looking at.
I can’t see it from the apartment windows (from which you can see the Bargello Tower), but there’s a roof deck in the building from which it’s visible. The photo on the right shows the view from the roof deck. It’s a nice place to sit up there and look at it while enjoying some early evening cantucci and vin santo.
I’ve even got a nice wide comfy chair to sit in while reading/writing my book or blog/listening to church bells/staring out the window amazed that I’m here.
Frank Rekrut, a Canadian sculptor and friend I made on my trip here last winter, rang my bell at 1pm for a lunch appointment with him and his wife, the Canadian painter Laura Thompson. Both of them do traditional work in the field with a high level of expertise.
We went out for pizza at a pizzeria called Pizzeria Totò, named after the famous Italian comic actor and featuring many movie posters photos from his films on the walls, It’s right around the corner from where I’m staying, and I got friendly with the staff fast, distributing my business card to all of them.
Everything here was very cheap…surprising for the location. We each had a pizza and ordered what eventually came out to two liters of the house white wine (remember, this was in the afternoon!). There was a lot of talk about books, current art projects, life in Florence…I wish I could give you details, but I don’t remember them! The wine went to my head! Nevertheless, Laura and Frank took me food shopping with them and introduced me to some local people they knew. Afterwards I went right back to my apartment and slept for several hours afterwards.
Frank had made an appointment to meet me at Piazza della Passera that night, but Angela also called me and invited me to a night out with some friends from her theater group (all women) at a Asian cultural fusion buffet place called Pingusto near Piazza Sant’Ambrogio. These people have a thing for Asian food and culture.
Angela herself lived in Japan and sympathizes with my feelings about it, but still loves the culture Japan exports, like movies and food (as do I). Indeed, Japan has a fantastic international image, but I feel that living and working within those cultural boundaries that are so great on film leaves a lot to be desired. They do pay well, though.
Angela’s friends were an interesting lot. One of them is in the Italian military, and the other two were leaving on a trip to Greece the next day. Angela herself doesn’t drink, but the rest of us had aperitifs and Asahi beer in bottles. Unlike some drunks I know, I tend to get quieter and more introspective when drinking, so by the end of the night I was practically quiet. I enjoyed the night and the company a lot.
I got home at about 1 am and fell asleep instantly.