Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I See Marvelous Things...

First, from the "it's a small world" file.

Last night when I got back to the hotel from dinner in Trapani, I checked my e-mail one more time before going to bed and found only one new one from someone I didn't know named Scott Gorman. Apparently he has followed the blog and is coming to Italy in mid-July to attend a wedding in Rome with his wife Courtney. He really wants to see one of our games but the only way that would be possible is if we somehow made it to the championship game on July 19.

It turns out that Scott is the Chief Aide to the Owner of the Indianapolis Colts! The small world part is that the Colts have a starting LB by the name of Freddie Keiaho who played at San Diego State and Buena H.S. in Ventura, California.

At Buena, Freddie's head football coach was Rick Scott. Rick is the reason I'm coaching in Italy. It is a long story but if you go back to the very first entry in the blog dated December 6, 2007 and titled "Why I'm Coaching American Football in Italy", and re-read it, you'll agree that it truly IS a small world.

Dinner in Trapani

I had a great seafood pasta at this neighborhood eatery followed by two sausages that were worthy of being served at an Elephants' BBQ! I found Trapani at night and on foot, no thanks to Garmin, to be a very charming port city.

Is Lucky in the Advertising Game part-time?

The Hydra-Foil to the Egadi Islands

I was up bright an early this morning to catch the 8:00 a.m. hydra-foil to the Favignana for a full day of sun and refreshing sea water. We made the crossing in about 20 minutes and I was raring to go!

The Ceramic Port Map Was Very Nice

This is still a very active fishing town and it was a center for tuna fishing.

This reminds me, I'm in need of nourishment!

A Raspberry Granita should do the trick.


While trying to find a good beach I ran across these old anchors.
Oh what tales they could tell!

The Lido Burrone

I walked about 15 minutes to the other side of the island and found the Lido Burrone on a beautiful spiaggia, i.e., beach.

The water was crystal clear and looked refreshing.

People were already enjoying the penetrating rays of the Sicilian sun.

Then it hit me as to what was missing, no one was in the water as of yet.
So I decided that someone had to be the first, so why not me.

Are those little brown rocks in the water?


So much for refreshing sea water! As a result I halted my beach day quite early and headed back into the town of Favignana for lunch and to try an earlier hydra-foil to Trapani than the 5:30 p.m. one I was scheduled to load.

The Camarillo Brillo Music Cafe

Madonna was blaring as artist of the moment, so how could I resist a smoked tuna, speck (that's a form of ham) and cheese pannino at a place named after the city, Camarillo, where you will find stately Casa Contreras? It was a good one!

The Havana Club Banner on the back wall sealed the deal!


As I mentioned yesterday, Garmin and I did not get along trying to maneuver the streets of Trapani.

Did I mention that she yelled at me to "FOLLOW THE HIGHLIGHTED ROUTE" after I missed a right turn she wanted me to make that did not exist and would have driven me off a 1,000 foot cliff near Erice if I had listened to her!

On the Hydra-Foil back to Trapani I programmed in two cities I wanted to visit now that I had bought time due to the jellyfish in Favignana. My idea was to save some time and not drive recklessly by already having her ready to navigate for me. The only problem is that since we were at sea she was going CRAZY trying to figure the best route for our CAR! I let her go for about two minutes...PAYBACK BABY!

Did I mention that she is THE worst at trying to pronounce Italian street names. It makes her sound very laughable.

I decided that I didn't really want to see the ruins at Selinunte or drive the southern coast and just see more beaches and water, so what to do?

It suddenly hit me, in the mid 1990's an Art teacher by the name of Jay Shelton at Rio Mesa H.S. where I taught came up with the idea of Movie Club. With the likes of fellow teachers Tom FitzGerald, Dick Bellman, Albert Lorenzanz, John Tierney, myself plus a few guest members, it was a go!

The premise was simple enough, we all loved movies but not the same ones necessarily. We would meet on Wednesday nights once or twice a month to watch a movie and eat dinner. We rotated hosting it and the host picked the movie of his choice and provided the sustenance. I saw movies that I had heard of but never seen as well as some favorites that re-seeing was worthwhile. We each had our own unique tastes and the post-viewing film discussions were very entertaining as well.

Unfortunately, Jay, our founding father, had to leave town suddenly and under a cloud of mystery for a new job back in his native New York state. Without his driving force, the Rio Mesa Movie Club died a rather quick death.

Now I bring all this up because the memory of Movie Club is what made me drive to the next two towns. 


The home of the Godfather himself, Don Vito. Who can forget his impetuous son Sonny and the reserved son, Michael, a.k.a, Claudio Mangano.

What a movie!!! Winner of the 1972 Academy Award for Best Picture. Definitely in the Top 5 All Time Best picture List if not THE best.

I tried to buy gas in Corleone but couldn't. They would not accept my credit card, CASH ONLY! Of course, no paper trail that way...

The town looked normal to me.

I did park my car and walk away with Garmin still inside.

"Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Saturday..." but no explosion, I had to try it.

Liberty and Justice

This touch in the main piazza has Michael Corleone written all over it

It is an interesting little hilltop town for any movie buff to experience.

A view of Corleone from above.

Why this town next?

Because, as this mosaic attests, this is the town where the movie "Cinema Paradiso" was filmed!

This is my favorite Italian film which won the 1990 Oscar for Best Foreign Film. The version that won the Academy Award is very sweet but the original Director's Cut is a much longer, darker and disturbing view of the life in yet another small hilltop Sicilian town.

I asked some of these men in the Piazza where the film was shot if they could give me some insights as to the making of the movie.

They directed me here, where many photos of the making of the movie are on display.

The "Cinema Paradiso" Gang of Four

Inside I met these four ladies who went out of their way to supply me with about 10 brochures about the town of Palazzo Adriano and the shooting of the film. The lady on the far right was actually in the movie as a town extra as a young child!

The Cinema Paradiso building stood right where I am taking this picture.

The Church

To the right of the church you can see the building where a movie was projected onto it on a very fateful turning point night for the characters in the film.

And Now for Something Totally Different...

The ISLAND of Sicily

After driving  from Catania to Palermo to Segesta to Erice to Trapani to Corleone to Palazzo Adriano and back to Catania the last two days, I must ask the members at the National Geographic Society the question, "Why is Sicily referred to as an island?"

Now, I know the definition initially fits, "A body of land completely surrounded by water". My point is that Catalina is an island, Manhatten is an island, Navignana is an island, Vashon is an island. I can walk from one side to the other of any of these with no problem. On Sicily, NO WAY! I used about a tank and a half on my road trip the last two days.

Members of the Society, I say Sicily deserves to be upgraded from island to a LAND MASS! There is precedence, Australia is an island but we have deemed to call it a Continent due to it's size. All I ask for is that from now on we refer to it as "The Land Mass of Sicily". I think it would be much more apt! Please consider it.

Meanwhile, back in reality...

As a youngster learning how to read at K.L. Carver School in San Marino, California, we were given a heavy dose of the "Fun With Dick and Jane" books.

They lived with their parents and had a dog named Spot.

I only remember a very few things from those books, but one thing always stayed with me. One day Dick and Jane's parents packed the kids into the car with Spot and they went for a drive in the country where the kids got to see all sorts of farm animals.

Now even in 1953, as a first grader, I knew that there was no way that this would happen in our family or anybody else's family in the class since we lived, basically, in Los Angeles. Now, L.A. is many things but it is NOT farm country!

If we had read these same books in the LAND MASS of Sicily, NO PROBLEM!

"Look, Dick, see the vineyard grow grapes for Mother's wine spritzers."

"Jane, would you like to ride the horse when Massimo is finished?"

"See Spot run after the cows. Run, Spot, run!"

I also saw shorn sheep, two rams wearing cowbells and butting heads plus a shepherd that made you wonder.

The road I drove today was nicknamed the "Vie dei Fromaggio", I think I'll go home and eat some.

So, I'm back in Aci Castello none the worse for wear, having greatly enjoyed two days of discovering even more reasons to love this LAND MASS!

Did I fail to mention that my bride, Laurie, arrives in ONLY 7 days?

1 comment:

Birdleson said...

I cannot believe that you brought up Film Club and di not mention that bastard Petrich!