Chapter Twenty-Six, February 6, 2006 – March 30,2006


January got the best of our budget and waistlines so this month we’ve chosen to stay at home in Sabaudia. But not without adventure.

Our yachtie friends,Imke and Uli, arrived in early February. They didn’t arrive via sea but by their winter form of transportation, a 1982 transformed home-made camper van. They were accompanied by fellow sailors Mary and Phil. We arranged a pizza party at our regular Monday night Ristorante and we have since labeled it our First Annual International Reunion. Because of the enormity of our party (9) and the size of the restaurant (7 tables) we were unexpectedly seated at the “regulars” table. The “regulars” are a group of 10-15 men who have been eating at this particular restaurant every Monday evening for forty years. They arrive with homemade wine in hand along with anything else they’ve caught or killed in the last week or so for the restaurant to prepare for them. They’re a rowdy sort of folk but we’ve learned to love the noise and a sampling of their potent concoctions. There’s a lot of bantering back and forth and fun was had by all. Our friends were expected to come for dinner but with a little encouragement, stayed for three days parked outside our place.

Fortunately, February brought live coverage of the 2006 World Olympics in Torino and we indulged in the extensive coverage. The enthusiasm and national spirit here was a delight to watch. Some of the replays on Italian medal wins were a little over the top but we can now sing the National Anthem!

The Henshaws, our friends from Maine, also visited in February. Nick is hoping to travel in his father’s footsteps by enrolling at St. Stephen’s Priory in Rome for a year or two of high school. We met them at the school and were invited in to Aunt Pam’s Art History class. Oh, to be 15 again. She conducted a thoroughly fascinating slide show of several Renaissance and Baroque painters. The slides were cleverly orchestrated to keep the kid’s attention. This meant the use of close-ups which referred to the sexual inuendos during the time period. It worked.

The Olympics ended and the 56th San Remo Festival of Music began. It is a highly competitive staging for the discovery of new music and song. Andrea Bocelli and “Volere” were both previously discovered at this festival. The competition is televised nightly for a week and  each year’s competition also features one of Milan’s “hot” fashion designers.  This year it was Dolce and Gabanna At frequent intervals throughout the evening, one of four “super models” was introduced to announce something or other, and each was draped in a D&G gown.  Not jeans, but GOWNS.  And, of course, no Italian model worth her makeup is without a significant bosom.  And no Italian gown worth its sequins would be caught dead covering any expanse said bosom worth revealing.

The combination music festival, fashion show and stand-up comedy act is typical Italian but we were soon disenchanted. However, it did help us with Olympic withdrawal and nursed us through February colds.

Sharon’s cold lingered and developed into something far worse. This was difficult but the experience of illness in a foreign country was far more challenging. We finally got her to the doctor later than we should have under ordinary circumstances. The doctor prescribed liquid drops for pain. Fortunately, our friend Katrin (who transported her to the doctor and the pharmacy) phoned moments after I administered the first dosage but she was shocked to learn what he'd done.  “You don’t put it in the ear, you drink it!” she cried.  Ahhhh, the things we learn! What we have learned is....our Italian NEEDS work!!!! We're still laughing about it.

Now here’s the better part of that story. Sharon was also prescribed antibiotic injections for a week. The doctor was confused when she insisted her husband could not administer the injections. Upon further insistence, he realized he must refer a nurse, which he did. Stefano happens to be a 23 year old nurse who Sharon thinks is adorable. He came regularly and we made a friend. He is also a member of Team Italia in Dragon Boats and has a great passion for the sport. His 10 minute visit almost always extended well beyond that for photo sharing, English lessons and a lot of laughter.

We’ve since made a few interesting jaunts into Rome which will be the focus of our attention for the month of March. Along with spring planning. We return to Sardinia on April 4th and the seasonal work begins. All the usual stuff. Bottom painting, teak varnishing, hull polishing, water heater replacement and a few other odds and ends. Maybe a little touring of Sardinia if we get the chance. We’re ready.

Now for the Spring launch and sail. We will return to the States for a few short weeks to attend the Martin Family Reunion to be held in St. Augustine , Florida during the first week of June. Unfortunately, this leaves us with setting sail mid July but we wouldn’t miss this event for anything.