26 November, 2008

Living Life On The Edge

The Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. From September to December it is possible, due to low water levels, to swim at the edge of the falls in a naturally formed pool.

Would you?

20 November, 2008

Love Thursday: Positano, A History: Take 2

I am jumping on the Love Thursday bandwagon...and, seeing as how Positano is one of my greatest loves, this post is only fitting.

I found found this slightly different take on the origins of Positano. I'm a sucker for legends--the mystery, the romance, the adventure!!

The Legend of Positano:

"The legend recalls, in great detail, that one night a Saracen sailing vessel, that had stolen a precious Painting of the Madonna, suddenly found itself in the midst of a furious storm off the Positano coast. The south-west wind was threatening to make the mainmast come tumbling down any minute, the fury of the sea and of the rain beset the vessel sweeping men and objects overboard. The men of the crew had abandoned their duties and were running frantically from stern to stern on the high-prowed ancient Byzantine vessel, when all of a sudden the sailors heard a mysterious voice rising above the terrifying creaking of the foremast. Out of the howling gusts of the gale, a crystalclear voice apparently born of the wind repeatedly said: “Posa, posa!” (Lay me down). The Madonna, weary of roaming the seas, was asking to be brought to rest on land. The sailors understood and decided to obey, in the hope of reaching safety and with the premonition that they were face to face with a new reality: a miracle. All of the crew, converted to the Christian faith, got down to work like slaves, some went to the helm, others strove to get landward wind to fill the canvas of the one and only square sail: but miraculously every effort was superfluous because the vessel, as if propelled by a will of its own, started gliding towards the small bay where the Madonna was laid down on the small crescent shaped beach which nowadays is a favourite haunt of families on vacation. The storm had abated and billows were gradually receding. On the water line, still black from the early morning rain, the Byzantine Madonna shone out brightly from her cedar-tree tablet where a skilful artist of distant Greece had depicted her: and there she was found at dawn by the first fishermen going out to sea. The pious inhabitants of these shores built a temple on that very site and since that day the village took the name of Positano from the “Posa, posa” uttered by its Madonna (so the legend has it, for legends, we all know, are impatient of complex Greek etymological assumptions according to which the name Positano is a corruption of Poseidon)."

(From http://www.sorrento.cc/area-positano.php)

18 November, 2008

A Silvia

By: Giacomo Leopardi

Silvia, rimembri ancora
quel tempo della tua vita mortale,
quando beltà splendea
negli occhi tuoi ridenti e fuggitivi,
e tu, lieta e pensosa, il limitare
di gioventù salivi?

Sonavan le quiete
stanze, e le vie d'intorno,
al tuo perpetuo canto,
allor che all'opre femminili intenta
sedevi, assai contenta
di quel vago avvenir che in mente avevi.
Era il maggio odoroso: e tu solevi
così menare il giorno.

Io gli studi leggiadri
talor lasciando e le sudate carte,
ove il tempo mio primo
e di me si spendea la miglior parte,
d’in su i veroni del paterno ostello
porgea gli orecchi al suon della tua voce,
ed alla man veloce
che percorrea la faticosa tela.
Mirava il ciel sereno,
le vie dorate e gli orti,
e quinci il mar da lungi, e quindi il monte.
Lingua mortal non dice
quel ch’io sentiva in seno.

Che pensieri soavi,
che speranze, che cori, o Silvia mia!
Quale allor ci apparia
la vita umana e il fato!
Quando sovviemmi di cotanta speme,
un affetto mi preme
acerbo e sconsolato,
e tornami a doler di mia sventura.

O natura, o natura,
perché non rendi poi
quel che prometti allor? perché di tanto
inganni i figli tuoi?

Tu pria che l’erbe inaridisse il verno,
da chiuso morbo combattuta e vinta,
perivi, o tenerella. E non vedevi
il fior degli anni tuoi;
non ti molceva il core
la dolce lode or delle negre chiome,
or degli sguardi innamorati e schivi;
né teco le compagne ai dì festivi
ragionavan d’amore.

Anche perìa fra poco
la speranza mia dolce: agli anni miei
anche negaro i fati
la giovinezza. Ahi come,
come passata sei,
cara compagna dell’età mia nova,
mia lacrimata speme!
Questo è il mondo? questi
i diletti, l’amor, l’opre, gli eventi,
onde cotanto ragionammo insieme?
questa la sorte delle umane genti?
All’apparir del vero
tu, misera, cadesti: e con la mano
la fredda morte ed una tomba ignuda
mostravi di lontano.

Italian Man Granted Divorce Because Of Terrible Mother-in-law

A court in Salerno has granted an Italian man a divorce after accepting his claim that his mother-in-law had "made my life hell".

The 36-year-old man, a car salesman from Ravello in southern Italy identified only as Antonio under privacy laws, said: ''The marriage lasted just four months, but it was hell."

The man said he and his ex-wife Gemma, 31, had even signed a pre-nuptial agreement when they married, guaranteeing that her mother would not interfere in their life together. The agreement had not been observed, however, and the couple had separated.

''I thought all the stories about terrible mothers-in-law were made up, but I was forced to think again," he said. "There's no point describing everything I suffered, you have to go through it yourself."

Ten years on from their marriage, which took place in 1998, a civil court in Salerno this week finally confirmed an annulment of the marriage by the Catholic Church, even though the ex-wife, who comes from Amalfi, insisted that her mother had only intervened when her former husband mistreated her.

''My husband never took care of me or our daughter," she told the court. "The months of marriage were terrible because of the unacceptable behaviour of a man who was supposed to love and respect me."

She added: 'My mother wasn't interfering, she was worried about her daughter's physical and psychological state." Her mother had not done anything "that any other responsible parent would not also have done''.

Mothers-in-law are often blamed for putting a strain on marriages in Italy, though usually it is the husband's mother rather than the wife's who is held to blame. Last year a poll by the research institute Eures said that three out of ten Italian divorces were due to "the unusually close attachment of Italian men to their mothers".

Annamaria Cassanese, a psychologist, said grooms' mothers often continued to live close to the married couple, visited them frequently and criticised their daughters-in-law.
They offered to help with cooking, ironing and babysitting, but "this can often be the beginning of an invasion, in which the mother-in-law slowly takes over and undermines the woman in her own home".


13 November, 2008

La Normalita

Dicono che la normalita e la vera rivoluzione.

Cosa significa "la normalita"?

"Eccoti qui decidi che la fase dell'eterna adolescenza è finita e che è ora di crescere e crescerai. E allora tutto cambia e questa volta cambierà. Avrai una casa più grande, la piscina, il garage col posto auto, il prato sempre curato, il portico fiorito e le porte smaltate, il cane...e la barca...avrai la salute assicurata, la vita assicurata, il frigorifero sempre pieno per nn sentirti povero, un tappeto etnico per continuare a sentirti giovane e finestre da cui entra sempre il sole... e allora avrai la tua famiglia felice i tuoi bambini in salute ... non è questo che avevi sempre sognato?" (L'ultimo Bacio)

Allora la normalita e composta da beni materiali? Barca, cane, casa grande, auto, etc. Anche i bambini sono considerati come proprieta.

In questo caso, no, grazie. Preferisco avere passione, amore, avventura.

Che pensate voi?

11 November, 2008

Positano--A Brief History

After visiting Positano, famed writer John Steinbeck wrote “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.”

According to legend, Positano was founded by Poseidon, the god of the sea, for a nymph he loved, Pasitea.

The Phoenicians and the Greeks are thought to have encountered Positano on their journeys to the West. Eventually, Roman conquerers took over the town. Emperor Tiberius, not trusting the products from the nearby Island of Capri (fears of conspiracies were rampant), stocked up on flour from Positano.When the roman empire fell, Positano entered the Repubblica Marinara of Amalfi and fell into a comfortable existence thanks to commerce with nearby Mediterranean towns.Unfortunately, misfortune also struck the town during this period. It was raged and pillaged by the Pisans, Sarancen and Turk pirates.

In order to prevent further invasions for the sea, the town modified its architecture. Using the mountains to advantage, houses were built, clinging to the coast line at a heigh difficult to reach, surrounded by protective walls, towers and curving lanes. Positano soon became an established hub for maritime traffic.In 1942, Positano fell victim to a feud between several rich Neapolitan families. Famine, plague and death followed. But just as a phoenix rises from the ashes, Positano rose to greatness once again.

During the XVI and XVII centuries, the ships of Positano traded with the Middle East, bringing home spices, silks, and precious woods. Going into the XVIII century, Positano was a prosperous town, rich in Baroque architecture. After the unification of Italy, many inhabitants of Positano left for America to seek their fortunes amongst streets paved in gold. Once there, they took up work as writers, or artists–spreading the word about Positano.After the second world war, Positano was “officially” discovered by the world–people from all over the world flocked to this small corner of paradise, restoring monastaries and houses, opening boutiques and cafes.

Today, Positano is a tourist haven. In the summer, travelers from all over the world flock to this small town, crowding the already narrow stairways. Yet somehow, Positano retains its charm, mystique and small town simplicity.

When faced with such beauty, one can hardly doubt that Positano is a gift from the gods.

10 November, 2008

Lost in Translation

We set out for a nighttime stroll along the lake. The breeze, uncharacteristically warm for November, ruffled through the trees. "I wish we could go out on a boat tonight", I said, glancing at the empty boat docks. "I wish someone would buy us a drink", she said, glancing at all the couples walking past.

Strolling past the massive ship housing the yacht club, we reach the bench at the edge of the dock. Looking out accross the lake, with the city behind us, we talk about everything and nothing. What we want from life, what we will someday name our kids, who we will marry, where we will live.

Hours later, a cooler breeze wraps itself around the dock. Shivering, we call it a night and start the walk back towards the city.

Suddenly, a voice cuts through the stillness. "Girls, hey girls!". We look up and see a man looking down at us from the deck of the yacht club. "Girls, why don't you come on up for a drink?". Not the types to turn down adventure (or a free drink), we look at each other, shrug, and head towards the ship entrance.

We maneuver our way up to the deck, feeling like we are in a more modern and smaller budgeted re-make of the titanic, complete with a grand entrance hall and winding staircases. We are met by the gentleman (Harry) and quickly realise that he is most definately old enough to be our grandfather. We politely decline his repeated offer for free drinks (the thought of accepting alcohol from a man who has several grandchildren left us feeling queezy) but accept his invitation to tour the boat.

Harry asks us where we are originally from and is overly delighted when the answer is Russia. With a wistful look in his eyes and speech not slightly slurred by alcohol, he says "I met a Russian girl, Ludmila, on the internet once". Ten minutes later, we are acquainted with all the dramatic details of the online union and its sad conclusion (Ludmila is now dating a German man). Fifteen minutes after that, when he has asked us the same questions at least three times and begins to ramble about Ludmila again, we decide that alcohol is the only thing that will get us through another five minutes and take Harry up on his offer to buy us a drink.

An hour and two Stellas later, we walk off the ship. "Well, at least we went on a ship", I say. We walk in silence for a minute, then she says "Perhaps I should have clarified. I would like a young, handsome man to buy us a drink".

Universe, take note.

07 November, 2008

Happy Friday

*image courtesy of milaloveology.blogspot.com

04 November, 2008

Ce n'était qu'un rêve

Dans un grand jardin enchanté
Tout a coup je me suis retrouvée
Une harpe des violons jouaient
Des anges au ciel me souriaient
Le vent faisait chanter l'été

Ce n'était qu'un reve
Mais si beau qu'il était vrai
Comme un jour qui se leve
Ce n'était qu'un reve
Un sourire sur mes levres
Un sourire que j'ai gardé
Au-dela de mon reve