Monday, October 15, 2007

Il Weekend

Laura arrived on Friday. In much better shape than I've ever been after a trans-Atlantic flight. I got her back to the apartment, fed her some lunch, and then took on her a walking tour of downtown Catania. We were out for about six hours. Then a quick pit-stop back in the apartment and then a trip downstairs to meet Professor and Mrs Lo Meo, who were very nice, as always, and who gave us some Sicilian desserts to eat for breakfast the next day. They've offered to take us on a tour of the coast just to the north of Catania--Aci Castello, Aci Trezza, Isole dei Ciclopi, and a glass bottom boat ride to view a protected mediterranean marine habitat. Then a walk to San Giovanni Li' Cuti for pizza and a walk along the sea. I think we managed to stay out until around 1 or so. Again, amazed at Laura's endurance in the face of jet lag and sleep deprivation.

Saturday morning, a slow start and a leisurely stroll back down to the center of town to see the pescheria. Bought some swordfish for lunch and a few other odds and ends, and worked our way back up to the Fiera. Cooked a nice lunch, then met a friend and hung out with him and his kids for a while. It was good to catch up with him a little bit, although there wasn't a lot of room for real conversation with the kids.

The highlight, though, of Saturday was Saturday night: bowling! If I could bowl three games in Catania somewhere I could send my scores back home and participate in our bowling league's last match of the season in absentia. Laura thought it would be interesting to see how things that we're already used to at home are different here, so we hiked over to the local bowling alley, which wasn't too far away actually. We got a lane without any problem and they actually had bowling shoes big enough to fit me!

The bowling itself was a zoo! There were kids everywhere. This was *the* teenage hang out for a Saturday night. The funny thing was, with all the teenagers there, the lanes themselves were fairly empty. They were hanging out, eating at the full service restaurant, playing video games, playing pool, and occasionally actually bowling. Although the bowling, even, often consisted of just a lot of rough housing and cutting up in front of a bowling lane. The girls, especially, didn't seem particularly interested in actually playing the game in any meaningful way. Due to a mix up at the control center, Laura and I played our first three games as Giuseppe and Beatrice. All of the equipment at the bowling alley: AMF. We were right at home. Even the ball weights were in pounds. I'm pretty sure the lane was warped, as they ball had a tendency to take some pretty weird trajectories, and we had to reset the lane a few times due to the equipment placing the pins down in an unstable way and pins just falling down on their own. But despite the weird conditions, I still managed to basically bowl my average: 99, 101, 102. My fourth game I got a 125, but I guess I can really only count the first three games for my league match. Oh well.

The reason we ended up playing the fourth game, though, was while we were there another freaking tremendous thunderstorm rolled in. There was a downpour of rain of almost biblical proportions. It came down hard, fast and heavy, for nearly two hours, with a pretty good lightning show to go with it. So we figured if we could we'd try to wait it out. Just two lanes to our left, the roof gave out and started pouring water right onto the floor in front of the lanes. Which didn't seem to bother the giggly teenage girls playing those lanes, who just walked around the puddle and threw their balls down the lane.

Since, after our fourth game, it was still coming down pretty hard, and we still needed to eat dinner, we thought we'd avail ourselves of the full service restaurant that was right there in the bowling alley. We may have had no problem getting a lane, but getting a table was a little harder. Finally, we managed to get seated and eventually even got our order taken. The menu was a full Italian menu, with all of the courses, plus pizzeria. There certainly were probably better dinner options to be had elsewhere in the city, but it's certainly the bast damn bowling alley food I've ever had. There were some interesting items catering to the teenage crowd that were kind of interesting. There was a Nutella pizza. As well as a pizza with a french fries on it. And a pizza called the "Americana" with french fries and hot dog (wurstel) on it. Laura and I split a salad and a pizza, which they thought was pretty weird--pizzas are really single serving items, as are the salads. But the portions at this particular establishment were huge anyway--another indication that were in a bowling alley and not in a more upscale establishment--and we decided we wouldn't order too much food just satisfy the social norms.

All in all a very fun night. The biggest surprise, though, was the bill at the end. 4 games for two people, plus shoes, ended up costing us 38 euro! (Not including dinner.) Not something we want to do every night. Maybe another reason why the lanes weren't so busy despite the place being filled to the rafters with teenagers.

We got home to find the storm had knocked out our lights but luckily the circuit breakers were easy to find and we just had to reset the breakers and were fine. There was a little water that had come in through the skylights in the living room and a lot more water that came into the sun room that we (Laura) had to mop up this morning. And we still haven't got the internet back up and running, so I'm not sure when I'll actually post this. We were originally planning to head up to see Etna with our friend Attilio, but he ending up cancelling on us this morning because the weather isn't that great and his little girl seems to have down with a cold. So it's a just a nice, lazy, windy Sunday.