Thursday, January 05, 2006

Third Installment

I've noticed that the bohemian fashions for the new season are still somewhat gypsy-ish, but having shed the trashy peasant phase (that so pleased H&M), they are now entering a more 19th century romantic poet style. I LIKE!

I keep thinking Shelley, Keats and Byron! Yesssss.

There is a secondary Chinese theme, which I like as well.

Friday 23rd - Jet Set Capri

But not much of it rubs off on you when it's cold :P Actually it turned into a mild day, about 12C (50F) but only for a few moments on the sheltered side of the island.

From Sorrento we took the one morning ferry to the island of Capri. The first thing we did was take a tiny local bus up the perilously winding roads to the town of Anacapri, which in Greek means "on top of Capri".

We all went "weeeeee!" as we careered round the hairpin bends in that little bus, and "wooooo!" if we got a glimpse over the edge. Never seen such small seats in my life. And no bus fares. You just hop on and off.

I've just remembered the dream I had last night. It was an exaggerated, more cartoony version of that bus ride, a real sphincter-clincher as there were no barriers, the roads were narrower, and just like a cartoon, some moments we were on two wheels.


It's odd but Capri gave me no real impressions. There were great views. We saw a pair of musicians in Anacapri, one with early bagpipes and the other with a sort of primitive clarinet. They played an intriguing authentic reel which I enjoyed, but my ears are more international than those of the older English people in the group. They stood around saying things like, "Call that a tune?"
Well, plenty of eastern music is not an actually hummable tune, but it is a melody - one that English ears cannot understand today - they have forgotten that medieval music was very eastern, influenced by the rhythms and instruments brought back in the Crusades.
And I dreaded to hear what the Scotsman might say about the piper, and was heartily relieved to see that they became buddies, united by the bagpipes rather than driven apart by them.

[I wonder how many Scottish people know bagpipes originated in the middle east. I discovered this when I watched a world music channel in the US, and there was a really cool bagpipe song from Spain. Did Spain get bagpipes from the Moors and let it spread it across Europe, or did Europeans return to their respective countries bearing eastern bagpipes?]

Then we descended into the town of Capri and had a pleasant wander around, and caught the one ferry back to Sorrento in the late afternoon. Imagine that, we were ON the legendary Bay of Naples!

Bits n bobs:

Capri has no water source, so it must be shipped from Sorrento.

Caesar Augustus bought the island from the Neapolitans and had a villa there. Oh, remember yesterday I mentioned his wife was Livia, the first Empress of Rome. Their son was Tiberius.

The island was made famous by the singer Gracie Fields who was buried there.
I kept insisting that

I've been wondering how Capri got its name. Apparently the island was full of wild boars so the Greeks named it kapros after the mean things.


Just because I spoke French in France, woman on the tour asked me if I was French. As if an Anglophone couldn't possibly have any extensive knowledge of another language or culture without being a native.
I couldn't tell you how many of my fellow travellers would come to me to ask for translation in Italian. Possibly because some of them overheard me talking to someone over the counter early on or because I yelled at a flower seller who followed us at the Vatican like a stray dog. That's as far as my Italian goes, survival and a tiny bit of banter, but sometimes it makes all the difference.

I wrote too much today...I will keep Christmas Eve for tomorrow because we went to Pompeii and you know I will have a heap to say about it!


Rox said...

looking forward to hearing about Pompeii. Was so impressed by it all not to mention stunned and surprised by the explicitness of some paintings. ;o)

Olivia said...

And I look forward to writing about it...But I seem to have lost the pictures in my previous posts... :-/

jiapea said...

pictures are not showing...hmmm

oh well.

My net is not working/ so I will not be on as often.

Get my mail?

M. said...

Interesting bit about the bagpipes! Good on you for the Italian bantering. That takes skills. Funny situation with the French indeed, since England and France are so close.

Reminds me of the time we went to Marseille, and R pulled out our hotel reservation which he booked via the net. The clerks looked strangely at it; instead of asking us any questions they mumbled to each other about Americans and American "forms" and tried to figure out how to read it. One of them was embarassed upon finding out I spoke French.

Rebecca said...

Did you go to Herculaneum as well? Pompeii is great fun isn't it? Can't wait to hear more

Jia Li said...

I can see the pix's! YAHHHHHHHHH