Saturday, October 1

Tante Belle Cose - Sept in Italy

After the August lull, September in Italy always comes roaring in even though the hot days still make you want to escape to the beach.  This September there were so many things to be thankful for, it's hard to know where to begin:

No Pork Referendum or, as I like to call it, Stop the Feeding at the Trough
No, this referendum which garnered over 1.2 million signatures above the 500.000 needed doesn't stop pork barrel politics [Italians rely on inside deals and bribes for pet projects so they don't have to actually add extra stuff to the public votes - although Berlusconi & Co. on the latest austerity budget included a little clause serving to gag about it here]. This referendum aims to stop filling the entire Parliament with hand-picked cronies and reform the political process so that officials actually represent the people.
Personally, I don't think it's gone far enough:  While it may cut the number of representatives (Italy has the greatest number in all of Europe), it still allows them all the perks, (including getting their pensions even if serving in office for 48 hours - at any age, while the rest of us must wait 'til 65), and allows the corrupt ones tried & guilty to serve any way, any time.

A foray to one of Rome's main Post Offices proved (almost) delightful:  I discovered that you can now send the insidious-but-necessary registered letters (raccomandata) online - like sending a telegram of days of yore.  While there, I also discovered bands of foreign kids sitting on the floor.  
I figured they were just posting a sit-in for the chronic malfunction of the ticket lines, the lack of personnel, the striking workers, or the hours being shortened for one reason or another.  It was none of that:  The Post Office is now offering free wifi in their very offices.
It was wonderful to see people hanging out in what are often terrific buildings with frescoed ceilings.  If they could add a coffee bar inside, we'd all be all set especially seeing that the day I was there, all the systems were down.

I came across a real cool old car, like a 1950s Cadillac combing the streets of Rome.  Stenciled with the words, HELLO ROMA, it was announcing something I've been waiting for since 1981:  the opening of Rome's first GAP Store (just prior, the GAP & Banana Republic opened in Milan).
Now I know where all the Italian kids will be hanging out...perhaps the GAP should be offering wifi as well...or even better, postal services.

And last but certainly not least, Kraft Co., the best makers of faux cheese, the same company that has given us mac&cheese, philly&salmon spread and even Velveeta, the closest thing to eating rubber sheets, has branched out where no man has tread before. We'll call them delicious duos:  Philly & Ham spread, Philly & Tuna and...(drum roll please...) the awesome joint venture between Milka Chocolate & Philly 
As their jingle sings out...Spread a little love!
It's a bit much, but visit their site & you can even download an app
(does it spread the stuff for you???) & songs to spread by...

Magnifico!  This was my 500th Blog Post!  Grazie Tutti for keeping me going!!!
And...for you new readers, be sure to check out the posts of the early days for more cross-cultural insights.


Jacques said...

Sorry, but the "primato" for the first Gap store goes to Milano, in Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Right next door is a Banana Republic where I got a pair of Khaki Cargo Shorts at a Super Summer Sale price (more like American sales than Italian ones).

Irreverent Italy said...

:( I'll correct it now!

cuzliz said...

Congratulations on your 500th post!