Sunday, September 16, 2007
I found Como.
This is actually up in Bellagio -- the only resemblance to the casino in Vegas is the port entry, which was actually disappointing -- which takes about 50 minutes by the fast ferry from Como. You could drive there if you wanted to, but the ferry and the small lake towns along the way are much better for the atmosphere.
The lake is long and thin with two branches, like an upside-down Y, and Bellagio sits at the junction of the two branches. Indeed, dinner was had today at a place called La Punta -- the point. Here's the view from there. The food was as always good. Hint: You need not ever order a real bottle of wine if carafes are available. The house wine is as nice here as any table wine in Paris.
Another fascinating thing: The use of pedals rather than handles in toilets. I consider this a great advance. In one very trendy club near the university at which I've been working, the styling is like an old taxi cab. This includes pedals for the toilet and the wash basin -- which is quite common -- with the foot pads for a car brake and an accelerator -- which is not. Better, the sink was styled like a drain pan for your oil.
The little bars and cafes are in the habit of putting food out with your beer. Tonight the first beer fetched chips with it. The second brought panini with Parma ham. And more chips after saying I don't eat ham. (My compatriots were grateful for zero demand from their drinking partner for the munchies.)
I also like the singing quality of the language here. It's not Chinese-style funky tonal. It's almost operatic. And how many ways are there to say Ciao? There are repetitive ones, there's a long one that sounds like a cat with a lisp, the one that comes with a kiss on the cheek, and the greeting that is like a ciao-contest. Who can make ciao sound more authentic? Film at eleven.
I have often argued that cities produce better styling particularly in females since competition is fiercer. Milan will stand as my proof. And this leads to molto coupling. Italians seem willing to neck anywhere, and in some cases they'd do well to stop at necking. This is the biggest annoyance I find -- the sound of smacking lips on the train is everywhere. The price of hotels may be part of the problem. But if this is the biggest problem, it isn't enough to detract from this place. Not that there's much to do in them. The room is hardly large enough to change your mind in, let alone be with the one you're with, as the Isleys might have sung. So you spend most of your time down here, which is the lobby of this hotel. (I'm currently sitting on that green couch that needs to be in Lileks next book of bad living rooms.)
It would be bad to be here without money, but nobody seems without money. The murderous part of being here is the current dollar-euro exchange rate, which is a hammer on my wallet every step of the way. There are very few Americans here, I believe in part, because of the cost of being in Europe right now. But the lake was worth it even at $1.4 per euro. What I need is enough money not to care.
BTW, right now on the radio in that lobby? Gorillaz.
Tomorrow: A really bad European classroom. And more food reviews!