Friday, 9 October 2009

'Having a horrid time in Naples. Be glad you're not hear. Love Aaron. X'

Ok, so as previously promised here is my account of the days leading up to and during Naples.

Ok, so it must have been Tuesday before last. I was just going to the lifts to go for lunch and smoke a few Marlboro Menthols as per my usual work routine and some fettered old hag with awful witch thin bleached hair and a horrid pinched face only a mother could love said to me 'I was talking about you last Friday...'
And I replied 'oh really..?' eager to know what this sow faced cretin was talking about.
She then re-accounted that her friend's brother (or some such) said that he knew me and that I was going out with his!

And after a bit of basic detective work which would have made old Miss Marple very proud I worked out that it was a guy I am acquainted with who my boyfriend used to have dalliances. Dalliances do not a relationship make. But that wasn't my main cause for concern at all.
Why should HE be interested in me?
Snooping. I know how men work. Snoopy snoop.

So that was the work drama. Now I have a link to that horrific woman who a friend who worked under her assures me that she is as nasty as she looks.

So now on to Naples *sigh*.
I had hoped for an idyllic Italian get-away-from-it-all weekend. I was really looking forward to using my bad Italian, sitting outside cafes, smoking cigarettes and looking good.
How very wrong I was.

When we arrived at Naples I was met with grey, filthy flyposted walls avec graffiti and an overwhelming cloud of smog.
This was going to be far from the Naples Rosemary Clooney and Dean Martin had crooned about some fifty odd years back.
There was going to be no Mambo Italiano on this lil holiday!
Anyways. We got to our hotel which was in a shabby building apartment but the hotel itself was lovely. Decadently high walls, tasteful furniture (a very rare thing to find in Italy!) and friendly staff.
Our room was small in feet but the ceiling's height saved us from feeling too shoe-boxed.
Food in Italy was as expected; delizioso!
But after a day I noticed I was being stared at a fair bit.

Now please don't think I'm vain or deluded but I often get looked at. London, Glasgow, Belfast, Stockholm, Spain, Switzerland...all have had a good look at old Radders but this felt different.
Generally I get looked at because I look different. In Paris and Nice it's nothing but admiration (and believe me the feeling is mutual there!) but Naples was the kind of staring I had never experienced before.

I wasn't dressed odd. As per usual I was wearing my smart travelling holiday attire which always consists of polo shirts and deck shoes during the day and long sleeve shirts and brogues in the evening so I knew that wasn't it. I then assumed it was my hair but when styled different to look less long and indie the results were the same. Stare, stare, stare!
It gets worse...

Twice I noticed people actually talking to their company about me!
How rude! No sense of manners! Even when I made it clear that I was aware of what they were doing they didn't seem to care nor did they stop.
I made a promise there and then to never grace that cesspit of Italy that is Naples with my presence ever again!

The odd thing was that in Sorrento and Portofino I didn't meet such a response.
There was a lot of drama in terms of bad public transport but general service in restaurants was very friendly and my bad Italian seemed to make them happy which is nice.

I have to confess that it really bugged me and gave me a very awful feeling. I can't quite describe it but it wasn't good and it was hard to ignore. Richard tried to be understanding and told me to ignore them but it was so hard.
Anyways I did a bit of research and found several articles and discussions on blogs on Southern Italy and Naples specifically and I found my answer as to why I received such a disgusting response...

Racism. Good old, ignorant, based on stupidity racism.
I was shocked. I thanked god that I have had Italian students, have worked with several Italians and have visited Rome (which was nothing short of amazing!) otherwise I would be in danger of assuming that all of Italy was as Naples seemed.

It really saddened me that such a beautiful country has a big dirty smudge on the bottom of it's beautiful long leg and that smudge is Naples.
Oddly enough the bad attention was always from young Italian working class folk and never the older generations as one may expect.

Anyways I will always advise anyone against going to such a place. The best part of Naples is the getting out of it! We had a lovely time in Sorrento and Pompeii was as impressive as I had long hoped it would be.
Naples was so bad that I was actually glad to be in the company of German and American tourists in their hordes as they made their way around the beautiful ruins of a once gargantuan Roman city.
And the driving...horrendous! They do literally as they please. It was funny at first then it got old very quickly. Mopeds were everywhere. Which you obviosuly expect in a country that gave the world the Vespa and the Lambretta but they drive on pavements and do not care if you have to jump out of the way. Signalling seems to be something you just don't do and they all beep their horns just because it's there. If I never see another moped it'll be too soon!

The holiday was such an awful experience that I didn't mind going back to work one jot!
I even have a new appreciation for London. I won't ever complain about how dirty London is from now on.
Yes it's not as clean and fresh as Paris, Geneva or Stockholm but it's far from the decrepit filthy stinking cadaver of a city such as Naples.

So that, dear reader, was my account or a rather bad week.

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