Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Italian "Nut" Job

Sigh . . .

There's always something.
Aaaalways something with me.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?
(This question is inevitably rhetorical, as this is a blog, so I can't actually hear your response. Also I don't care what you think.)

Well, the good news is I'm not feeling sickly anymore (fingers crossed).

The bad news is I left my French debit card in a ticket machine at the train station in Menton. So that was an unwelcome surprise while in line at the grocery store today. But I've cancelled the card, and, if I'm to find a silver lining, French credit cards don't work unless you have the secret 4-digit code. So no one would have been able to use the card even if they did find it. And I'm sure someone did inevitably find it. As I left it inside the machine.

Nevertheless! I still bought lots of groceries. This is welcome news as I ran out of my good food yesterday and was forced to dig into the yucky canned food I'd saved for such an occasion. More on that nastiness to come later.


"So, Molly . . . "

"Why, hello, hypothetical reader. Long time no see!"

"Yes. Question: you said you lost your card in Menton??"

"Oooh! Nice segue, hypothetical reader! Yes, I left my debit card at the train station in Menton this weekend while buying a ticket to go to Ventimiglia!!"

"Ventimiglia? That doesn't sound French at all."

"That's very astute of you."


Yes, folks, this weekend I decided to take a short day-trip just over the border into Italy!! It was super fun! And super cost-efficient! The whole trip cost me a grand total of 9€! All-inclusive! (transportation, pizza, apple, cactus, and little wooden chest thing!)


. . . if you can believe it, I actually already had this photo saved to my desktop . . .

Ventimiglia is a small Italian city juuust on the other side of the French border. There's not a whole lot to do there (like most of Provençal Europe), but it is rather famous for having one of the biggest and most wonderful outdoor markets. It did not disappoint. SO MUCH FRESH PRODUCE! It's no wonder Europeans stay so thin.

Then I found another "market" place along the coastline where people were selling odds and ends for really cheap. It kind of had a yard sale feel to it. But I use this term cautiously. Because I can't find another term for "place where people sell things, some of which have no business being in a yard sale at all, but they're Italian so it's not weird, it's antique." Now, I actually had a yard sale this past summer, so I know the ins and outs of putting one together. So I know that the real work of the yard sale comes before the sale even takes place. This is the time when you have to go through your unwanted material goods and discern which things are YOUR crap and which things are ACTUALLY JUST crap. If you've done this, then I don't understand how a used horse brush and a half-naked balding Barbie are still on your table for 2€ apiece. But I suppose it gives me something to look at.

However, I did make an interesting discovery. I realized that the tables you should avoid weren't actually the ones selling the golden baby statues and armless dolls. In fact, these were the normal tables. No, the tables you should be avoiding were the ones that most closely resembled actual stores. I found that there was a direct correlation between cohesiveness of the yard sale display and the vender's location on the crazy-meter. What I mean is, perhaps I should stop admiring your array of neatly organized merchandise and take a moment to question why you have a whole table just for your knives and 5 copies of the same Michael Bolton album.

But after perusing through the lives of 50+ "Italian nut-jobs," I actually did make some purchases. And here they are!!

This is Fuzz Lightyear and Eliza Wood.

(I would have gone with the obvious Woody and Fuzz Lightyear, but I think we can both agree that she doesn't look like a Woody.)

Here is another picture for size comparison. Fuzz Lightyear is about 3 inches tall. And he's fantastic.

(This is also a plug for ABLE Youth! Don't know what that is? Go check it out!)

Some other miscellaneous bits of Ventimiglia information:

1. I saw 4 different stores carrying FIVE KILO containers of nutella. WHAT! WHO NEEDS THAT?! I mean, I do . . . but it was mega-expensive. And I wasn't thinking clearly enough to take a picture. Just Google it and agree with me that this is unnecessary and amazing at the same time.

2. The pizza I bought was 90 cents. It seemed to be about as good as a piece of 90 cent pizza could possibly be. But because it was in Italy, it was the greatest pizza I've ever tasted. Bottom-of-the-barrel-Italy-crap-pizza=still delicious. Also, funny, it had one olive on it. Just the one.

3. There was no passport check at all. Or train ticket check. So I could have feasibly just ridden the train all the way back to Nice instead of getting off at Menton and taking the bus. This would have saved so much time. But because I am a good person (/terrified of the implications of doing anything even remotely illegal), I got off. It's not like it would have been that bad . . . just entering a country illegally. Big whoop.

4. I've found that I've learned some new French words/phrases in the context of certain situations, and I don't really know the English equivalents. This is the first time being stupid has made me feel more awesome.

5. On the way back to my dorm I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few things. While in the checkout line I tried to remove my purse to get out my wallet only to realize I misunderstood chronology that morning and had put my purse on before my coat. This was a strange realization, but not as strange as the realization that I'd gone the entire day without taking off my purse. (They're gonna love me at this grocery store.)

6. I've also realized that there are things I do for semi-OCD purposes that make my life inherently more dangerous. For instance, when I walk down the stairs I like to have my toes dangle over the edge of the step. This is not safe.

Well, that's all I have for now. Tune in next week for another exciting adventure of Molly and Fuzz Lightyear!

PS. If you get a chance, go look at the Google logo today before it changes. It's for Stanislas Lem, and it's supa fun!

Amitiés :)

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