Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Trip to the Emergency Room 12.30.05

And it wasn't even Bob this time! On Friday, we went to the town of Scicli to see an art exhibit we had heard about called "Sicilia come Donna, I Vestiti." The photos were by a Sicilian photographer, Giuseppe Leone, very famous here and for good reason. His black and white photographs of women wearing the clothing of the late 18th and early 19th centuries were gorgeous. The exhibit consisted of his photographs reproduced as large digital prints on canvas that created a backdrop to the actual antique clothing displayed on mannequins. A very lovely woman met us at the entrance and escorted us through the exhibit, explaining what we were seeing, and we understood a lot of what she said, but not everything. But still we enjoyed it very much and purchased a book of Leone's photographs.

The city of Scicli is so beautiful. We have driven past it and through it a number of times, on our way to and from Siracusa but had not stopped to look around. We had earlier in the day gone to Modica, to find the Euronics store there, as Bob needed to buy some DVDs for photo storage. We were astonished to find it not only there, but a huge store with all kinds of up to the minute electronics gadgets, that you would expect to find anywhere in the states. Sicily seems to be much more with it technologically speaking than we had anticipated. This entire area of Modica, in the newer part of the town, was not unlike any modern suburban area; complete with every type of shop imaginable and very much in the 21st century. We were tempted to buy a DVD player, which we resisted since it is perfectly fine to watch an occasional movie on our laptop (live cheap and make art, remember?) but we were reminded of how seductive it is to go into these types of stores and how easily you can be persuaded to buy stuff you don't really need!

Anyway, I digress! We approached Scicli from the north, and the panoramic views were spectacular, as promised by our guidebook. Along the first street we entered we were enchanted to find an antique shop displaying all manner of old crusty stuff outside, which of course, Bob could not resist in photographing. We expected the town to be sort of run down based on this first street, with its crumbling facades, and houses seemingly built into the mountainside. We were completely surprised to find this beautiful town, which another book describes as being one of the most attractive in Sicily! We haven't seen enough of them yet to agree or disagree with that assessment, but we will say that we were quite impressed with how pretty it was. The colors of this city are white and tan and light colored. There is a wrought-iron bandstand in one of the piazzas and palm trees lining all the main squares and some streets. There was evidence of much restoration work being down and a few of the baroque churches were under scaffolding. That was disappointing I must admit, but the town nevertheless was worth exploring and we enjoyed just walking around.

Scicli is rich in history and art, dating back to the Siculi people (the first Sicilians), with remnants of the early Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs and Agagonese. Like the rest of this part of Sicily, it was devastated in the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in the baroque style. It has several beautiful churches and palazzi and we even encountered a book shop/art gallery with a contemporary art exhibit of some of the local artists that was really wonderful. So much of the art we are exposed to in Italy is of a religious nature, in the churches and museums, we are always happy when we find some really exciting contemporary work and this was no exception.

After wandering around a bit we found a nice little trattoria and had lunch. The ravioli con maiale (pork) ragu was wonderful and Bob's linguine with mussels fantastic; the bread, to die for. A nice local red wine finished it off.

We set out to explore further and just as Bob was taking photos of a church door, I stepped up to brush some dirt from the keyhole and then, forgetting that I had stepped up, walked straight off the step, lost my balance and went down like a tree! Fortunately it was cold there and I was wearing a warm sweater under my winter coat that provided a lot of cushion to my fall. I did not tear my coat, but I did cut my elbow. Right through all that clothing! A group of young people, college age, had been hanging around in the piazza and they all rushed over to see if I was OK. Embarrassing, but nice that they were concerned. Everybody helped me up and I had to sit a minute to compose myself. As Bob and I walked away I felt a definite wetness on my elbow and discovered I had punctured a hole in my elbow! Well, not a VERY big hole, but enough to cause it to bleed quite a bit. Bob wanted me to go straight to the hospital but I wanted to see if it would stop bleeding all on its own, since I am a big baby when it comes to things like stitches and tetanus shots! One of the young men helped us by washing it and covering it with a bandage and we made a hasty retreat back to our car and home.

As you might imagine, it did not really stop bleeding and it became evident as the evening wore on that it was not going to stop on its own and that it might be worse and take longer to heal (Bob's words of wisdom) so I finally agreed to seek medical treatment. But of course we did not know where to go to do this and so-called Elio and Giovanna to ask their advice. They insisted on having us come to their house in Ragusa and taking us straightaway to the hospital. We learned that Giovanna had been a nurse for many years and knew everyone in the hospital and exactly where to go and what to do to get me taken care of. After assuring themselves that nothing was broken I was given 2 little stitches to the elbow and a tetanus shot on the rear, as well as a prescription for antibiotics and orders to return in 8 days to have the stitches removed. The most amazing thing was they did not ask us for a cent for all of this treatment and I am sure I will be good as new in no time. I am not in any pain at all and I am so grateful once again to these wonderful people who are taking such good care of us! I'm trying to take it easy and Bob's helping even more than usual. I can't complain except about my own carelessness.

We just took a break from this writing to prepare our New Year's dinner, some pieces of pork meat roasted with the fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers we bought at the market the other day, drizzled with extra virgin Sicilian olive oil, splashed with Marsala wine and sprinkled with basil and garlic. It's something new we are trying, not in any cookbook but trying to use all these fresh ingredients on hand. We are having fun. It's been a bit like playing house for us and we are making the most of it.

Let me once again wish you all a happy and healthy new year, with our love,
Rosemary & Bob

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