Random Observations About Italy

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1. Mannequins have nipples.

2. Italian craftsmanship is overrated. Sure, they make lovely cars. And the leather goods are second to none. But Italian paper napkins SUCK.

First off, they’re impossibly thin. Does 1/8 ply exist? The napkins are practically transparent.

And the material is a close relative of wax paper. So, they’re very good at smearing things around. But about as effective as wiping your face with college-ruled.

For a country that makes $100,000 cars, you’d expect them to put a little more effort into making sure you don’t get pomodoro on the seats.

3. Italian street performers are an entirely different breed. Instead of banging overturned paint buckets, they play accordions, violins and flutes. Many are dressed to the nines in suits, ties, even tuxedos.

You’d be hard pressed to find a balloon animal anywhere.

But strangest of all are the street performers who don’t do anything. That’s their schtick. They don’t bat an eyelash. And for this, people shower them with Euros.

The statue people are everywhere. Some are dressed as Cleopatra. Some, the Statue of Liberty. Some like businessmen caught in a strong gale.

It’s not a terribly useful skill to have outside of, say, a bear attack. But at any given piazza, there are several. So they must make a decent income.

Maybe it’s just me, but the statue people just seem like lazy mimes.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that there is one surefire way to get the statue people to move.

Grab their bucket of money and run.

Let me tell you. You haven’t lived until you’ve been chased down the street by the Statue of Liberty.

4. Italian women’s fashion is beautiful. The girls look like they’ve leapt from the covers of the newsstands.

Italian Men’s fashion is split into two camps. The formalwear, which would make the rat pack proud, and the casual wear, which would make even Bill Cosby cringe. (Especially when combined with the Italian men’s penchant for chest hair.)

5. Roman taxi drivers are scary. New York cabbies look like lambs compared to these guys. I’ve never been more religious in my life than during the 10 minute cab ride from the hotel to the train station in Rome. Just in case, I prayed to every God I could think of. Yahweh. Jesus. Allah. Buddha. Hasselhoff. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I lived to tell about it, so I guess one of them worked.

6. Italians friggin’ LOVE the song “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas. You can’t go 20 minutes without Fergie serenading you about her sandbags. At every store. Every restaurant. Every bar. I can only conclude that the lyric “My humps. My lovely lady lumps” is more poetic if you don’t speak English.

7. Florentine mosquitoes are some sort of mutant cyborg supermosquitos. There’s no avoiding them. Even if you’re wearing a birka with full head-dress, they’ll find a way to bite your eyelid.

8. Contrary to popular belief, there are many Italians who don’t look like the Super Mario Brothers.

9. A glass of wine is cheaper than a glass of coke. This, as I learned, does not mean that you sniff the cap on the coke bottle.

10. Instead of handles, toilets have buttons. Two of them, actually. This is worrisome because it introduces the possibility that one of the buttons may be the wrong one.

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