Here I sit. It's the first day of January, of the new year in Sicily and I am out on the terrace facing the sea. It's an overcast day and we think it will probably rain but wearing a warm sweater I am comfortable out here and not a bit cold. The sea looks pretty rough with big waves. We walked this morning down to the main square which was filled with people stopping in what seems to be everybody's favorite bar, having Prosecco and Campari drinks and sampling all the goodies on the bar.
Yesterday was a kick. It was New Year's Eve and in the main piazza there was a show for kids. It reminded us of the traveling carnival in the classic Fellini film with Anthony Quinn and Giuletta Masina called "La Strada," that tells the story of Zampano a rather cruel carnival strongman and this sweet young woman who runs off to join the circus with him to live what she mistakenly thinks is going to be a glamorous life. In yesterday's version, there were little brightly colored chairs set in a semi circle for the kids - 3 to about 6 year olds kids and a colorful backdrop. There was a clown who juggled while a beautiful woman added more and more layers to the rolling base he was on and a strongman/contortionist who performed incredible feats, like eating fire (the announcer cautioned the kids from trying this at home), and contorting his body into all sorts of astonishing shapes. The beautiful woman entered a box with plastic sides into which were placed several different dangerous-looking snakes, which crawled all around and over her (she did not look very comfortable with this!). The kids in the audience were entranced by these performances and even got to participate by singing along and making animal noises to the Italian version of "old MacDonald had a farm" which was adorable to watch. When the show was over the beautiful woman made cotton candy right in front of them as they gathered around to watch her spin sugar into this wonderful treat! (even some of the older folks like me got a taste! Bob says I am just a big kid and I guess I would have to admit I am.)
Last night we hung out in the apartment and watched "The Incredibles" on our laptop. We had a simple dinner and then around 11pm we grabbed a bottle of Prosecco and a couple of glasses and headed out to have a midnight walk, to welcome the New Year out on the beach. Lots of people were out shooting firecrackers and roman candles - we're not sure it's legal here - but it was fun to listen to all of this noise and merriment (as long as we didn't get too close and no one lost any fingers that we know of!) At midnight we popped the bottle open and nearby firecrackers were going off with a fireworks display just down the road from where we were standing! You could see in the distance, along the coast east of us, 5 or 6 different displays going off from each little town from here to probably Sampieri.
We tried to reach our kids by phone but were unable to get a signal. So we hope to talk with them later today and to hear that they had a nice time as well.
Today we are just relaxing and enjoying Marina di Ragusa, watching the changing colors of the sea as it goes from turquoise to green to indigo, with clouds passing overhead and the sun sending streaks down through them. White waves are crashing and the palm trees swaying, with the late afternoon sun lighting up the building across the piazza and turning it golden. I have plans to cook a nice dinner with the fresh ravioli I bought yesterday and experimenting with a sauce made from fresh tomatoes and peppers and a nice piece of pork for the "gravy." There's more Prosecco in the fridge and more celebrating to do before the day comes to an end.
With that, we want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year filled with all those things that bring joy to your hearts. In the new year, we hope for peace in the world, an end to poverty, violence and intolerance. We are looking forward to continuing our exciting adventure and for keeping in touch with those we love and hold dear.
Rosemary & Robert