Marija

carpet

Trying to picture time I imagine an infinite Persian carpet with countless decorative patterns and colored threads. Everything, every single event, is present there, like a colored dot, strand, stitch, embroidery… all of them can be simultaneously observed. In a thread of events, every one takes its place related to all others. Nothing can happen without leaving a trace, without affecting all the matter that is surrounding it. I’m seeing this carpet and there are more colors that I could ever count, or name, or even embrace.
I feel internal peace. I feel that I could understand everything and everyone, every single unhappy person, each suffering and each loneliness. I could understand every cruelty and evil and selfishness. Because everything is connected, and I can see it now.

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Goodbye

non aspettare
non rimpiangere
non soccombere alla rabbia
non perdersi in dolore

non pensare
non essere geloso
non appropriare
non possedere
non sentirsi allegato

bs3

do not wait
do not regret
do not give in to anger
do not lose yourself in pain
do not think
do not be jealous
do not try
to be appropriate
do not possess
do not feel attached


The language of The Hopi Indians doesn’t have tenses – it’s a tensless language. What does it tell about their culture or about their consciousness? And about ours? English has 12 tenses, Italian – 8, Polish – 3, Japanese and Arabic- 2. Just think – in our reality, the only existing time is PRESENT, isn’t it? What about two ways of expressing present time in the English language, and how to explain them to those who exist only in one dimension made of all dimensions simultaneously? Things exist only NOW. What is happening to me now is experiencing all of the current events that take place in my continuous act of traveling. They don’t remain in the past, they don’t belong to the future – future doesn’t exist YET and past doesn’t exist ANYMORE. Everything that is happening now is in my travel, each of your words, that you say to me, everything I’m feeling about, what I’m seeing, everything that I know or I can understand. How to communicate with another person that never experienced the past? Or with that who will not be able to imagine any future? How could I possibly understand them and be understood? It’s all about feelings and sensitivity, about culture and art, about everything that is so difficult to translate from one language to another, difficult to express by different grammars and different meaning of words.

bs03

Goodbye then…

and then you will be present always, forever.

San Vito Burning Sand

So here we are – at the beach in San Vito Lo Capo. It’s too dark to see its beauty. There is quite a large number of people here, one hundred maybe, hard to say. The area on the beachfront is covered with small tents… Hmm…we don’t have one with us, unfortunately. There is also a DJ stand in the center of the crowd. Loud dance music, and all the people are moving like in a trance. I notice a fireplace in the empty circle among the crowd, but it’s not aflame yet.

– Hey, are you coming for Burning Sand? The guy looks like an old hippie
– Yes we are…
So – even if you have landed here at the end of the event, you have to recognize our “values” that we consider essential, he continues: we exchange things and ideas, we do not use money, we feel free to express our personality, no matter how, we don’t use electricity nor cell phones, we draw lots among the participants to create pairs of “twins” from people, that do not know each other to become closer in those days, and finally we symbolically burn everything that we want to left behind of our life – the old “me” of everyone is going to pass away on the beach tonight! So, there are two Slavic girls that have joined us this morning and since everybody have already their twins, and you four do not, we have to mix you with them, OK? – and while saying that he points towards two girls standing 5 meter away.
OK then! Thanks ! – we approach the two girls – Olga is Russian and Zdenka is Czech from Prague.
– Hello there, so are you traveling through Sicily like us, or did you come especially for this event?
– Seriously, I’m here to visit my uncle in Catania… oh well, he’s not my uncle precisely… but sort of.. and Olga? I met her on the road two days ago, here in San Vito, and we decided to continue to move together…
– I’m an architect from Moscow – Olga has a little “Asian” look – but I was so dissatisfied of my work so I quit and I started to travel around the world as long as my founds will let me – she smiles charmingly.

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Olga… is beautiful, slim, and has a nice smile, but there is something cold inside her. I couldn’t tell what exactly, I feel like she is not herself but is hiding her true face deeply, who knows how tough her life was before? Zdenka is the exact opposite as a person. She is not that pretty, but she seems to be a truly straightforward person. She has short, curly red hair and completely round face, she wears red and pink clothes and her cheeks are painted like cheeks of old masks or porcelain dolls. She is heading to visit her eccentric uncle who in reality is kind of family friend, who knows… She gave me an address to meet there in a case we would get lost on our way in the next days. Nice of her. They speak Russian, she and her friend, and there is something between them … a kind of affection? Maybe. I can barely understand anything. Sometimes I regret to have lost proficiency in those languages I used to speak, but forgot most of them due to complete lack of practice.

People are dancing and I have to say, there is no better way to get rid of the tiredness and all that stress. The house club music, mixed by few cute DJs, one of them  about 2m tall, with long hair, nice!

So, instead of talking and thinking, we dance. It’s dark, and we move from one foot to another, sometimes faster sometimes slower, sometimes jumping in the air like savages, sometimes twisting around up to the feeling of dizziness. Finally they are going to burn the wooden figure in the center of the circle. It’s time to think about all “goodbyes” I wish to say.

Lapa a tri roti

–  What? Are we going to San Vito in that? No way!! – I’m standing in front of the vehicle on 3 wheels and cannot believe Lucio offered us this ride.

It’s not a car, nor a scooter, Piaggio – well it is, even if they call it Lapa in Sicily, but it has only one seat for a driver inside a small cabin, and a platform for carrying fish or other goods.

– Che prublemi! – Lucio exclaims and takes a seat inside his vehicle
– Hey, wait a minute, but you, you have been drinking, haven’t you? Isn’t it forbidden to drink alcohol and drive in Sicily?
– But what alcohol? Don’t exaggerate! Do I look like being drunk??
– Yhm…yes, I mean, maybe not drunk, but…very “amused” I would say…
– So what? Should it be forbidden to drive being amused? Don’t be ridiculous! At the end, what did you suppose: having all those drinks aside me – that I would call for a taxi?? Let’s go…

So now, we are seating on the platform with our backpacks on the knees and this incredible vehicle is taking us into the dark road far away from Trapani.
The road seems rough like hell and we have our butts battered after half an hour, but never mind, it’s a more incredible journey than I could ever imagine. All I can see along both sides of the road are some bushes, and I’m starting to doubt if we have taken the “normal” direct way to get to San Vito. Or maybe, some roads in Sicily are like that, who knows. Who finally would be able to judge it objectively in the darkness, seating on the platform, like a sack of potatoes.


* I’m sorry for “Napulitano” here but I couldn’t resist to Nino in his Lapa with three wheels…

Sambuca

Those two guys, they stare at us and exchange comments. Freya moves nervously as if she felt some troubling vibes. I’m feeling a little dazed after that cold beer. I always considered myself a tough head, it’s hard to get me drunk. But now, after that night, 3 or 4 hours of sleep, after a whole day of walking in the heat, this beer is like a glass of vodka. Freya looks the same, I guess – rosy cheeks and cloudy eyes. So let’s talk to them, why not?

– Where are you from? How’s that possible you speak Italian so well?
– It’s quite possible, Italian isn’t difficult at all and it’s not even a rare language isn’t it?
– So you must have an Italian lover, that’s it – both of them begin laughing cheekily, as if they turned out so sharp
– Or maybe conversely? I can have Italian lovers, because I speak Italian well, don’t you think?

A moment of consternation, and suddenly all burst out laughing like kids.

– So where are you heading, do you have a place here in Trapani?
– Nope. In fact, we don’t have any special plans. We want to find some interesting place and some interesting people. Then, of course, a place to sleep and eat, and we leave again. We are just travelers. And you? Are you from here, guys?
– He is from here, I’m not. So, do you like Sicily? How do you find it, our cuisine and first of all – our sea?? Have you taken a bath? It’s warm, even though it’s October already!
– No.., I’ve been here for one day only, we met two hours ago, and it was too late…
– Wow! So you don’t know each other, do you?
– Well, we do know each other now – Freya responds immediately

The two guys look at each other with smile, and I don’t even want to know what does it mean…

– Ok, let’s have a drink, have you ever tried Sambuca?
– Nooo…, what’s that? Is it a kind of vodka or something?
-Practically – yes – because it’s about 38%, but it’s sweet, like a liqueur – he smiles again as if thinking that we prefer sweet alcohol. It’s funny, since we came from the countries where “alcohol” means just “spirit”!
– Ok, let’s try! I notice that the guy with gray hair brings 8 shots of that colorless, transparent vodka-Sicilian-something.

It’s sweet and anise, a little similar to Greek Ouso. Usually I hate anise, but right now, right here, it fits perfectly, I don’t know how it’s going on.

– I’m from San Vito Lo Capo, have you heard about that place? We have a special event there tonight – we call it “Burning Sand”. Unfortunately, I can’t go, I’m too old, and my wife would kick me out – he smiles conspiratorially – but I can take both of you there, and you can have some fun …

Freya kicks me under the table and whispers to my ear :“he thinks: to have fun means have sex” – “why not?” –I answer her whispering and we burst with laugh.

– YES! I heard about it! It’s famous for the most beautiful Sicilian seaside!
– So…it seems we are heading exactly there – Freya responds smiling

And then the two guys are starting to sing “«Çiuri, çiuri, çiuri di tuttu l’annu l’amuri ca mi daşti ti lu tornu» and all of us just start to dance like a folk group. I feel really crazy and a little dazed by Sambuca. The girl from the bar joins us and they continue with other song.

Quant’è laria la me zita,
malanova di la so vita,
ah laria è, cchiù laria d’idda nun ci nn’è !

Havi li jammi a cucciddatu,
quannu camina s’abbia di latu,
ah! laria è, cchiù laria d’idda nun ci ‘nn’è !

Havi la panza ca pari ‘na vutti,
quannu camina fa ridiri a tutti,
ah! laria è, cchiù laria d’idda nun ci ‘nn’è !

Havi lu nasu ca pari un cannolu,
quannu stranuta ci voli un linzolu,
ah! laria è, cchiù laria d’idda nun ci ‘nn’è !”[Sic]*

* How ugly is my woman,
her life is like bad news
ah, she is ugly, there is no one uglier!

She has legs made of straw
she rocks to the sides when she walks,
ah,she is ugly, there is no one uglier!

She has a belly like a barrel,
she makes everyone laughing when she walks !
ah,she is ugly, there is no one uglier!

She has a nose that looks like a cannoli,
When she sneezes she needs a whole sheet,
ah,she is ugly, there is no one uglier!

 

Arancine

Finally, there is a bar without all that football mess inside. With a glassy counter it looks like in a confectionery shop. I turn to the lady behind the counter:
– Do you have “arancini”?
– What? – she seems perplexed
– “Arancini” like “Arancini di Montalbano” – I’m trying to be more precise
– Aaaaa – ARANCINE! Yes, of course! There are three left, but with ragù only – she smiles to me pleased of having me corrected of the masculine form that I have misused, apparently
– we would like two, and two Perroni please.

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We have our balls of rise fried in oil now. They are perfectly round and orange, look almost like small oranges. She served them on a paper plate because it’s considered “street food”, which certainly is not the same as “fast food”, but still is treated only as a kind of a snack. But for me it seems so nutritious that I really don’t need anything more for my dinner. A fat ball of rise with meat, vegetables and peas, fried in a deep oil. The shape is exactly as the original one, introduced by cooks on the court of Frederick II Hohenstauf, the XIIIth century Holy Roman Emperor in Germany, and king of Sicily, a splendid Middle Ages figure.

The bar looks very simple, like a country tavern of the distant past. The walls are covered with oil-based dark green paint, the square tables have plastic cloth in red and white checker. And it’s dark in here. The only light comes from the outside through the window and the door, but they’re long away from the dining room. There are two men around 50′ at the next table, wearing checked shirts and leather jackets, with grey hair and the famous “coppola” caps on their heads. They are drinking beer and looking at us curiously.

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My arancina is really tasty, as I have always imagined. I know, I know it is a “caloric bomb” but didn’t I deserve it after a whole day on feet with a heavy backpack? Hello, no regrets, no way! Brittle and crispy outside, soft and yellow under the skin and then the delicious ragù inside, which only Italians and…well…Sicilians know how to prepare perfectly, that we know from every other lasagna, cannelloni and spaghetti so well.

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How to prepare 22-25 arancine:

Rice (Arborio type):

Take 1kg of raw rice, 2.5l of water, 100g of butter, some salt, 2 sachets of saffron, and put them all together mixed in a large pot. Start to cook them at medium heat without stirring until the rice absorbs all the water (which should happen in about 40 minutes), then just leave it to cool down.

Ragù (ingredients: 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 2 bay leaves, a pinch of clove powder, 250g of minced pork, 250g of minced beef, half glass of white wine, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, 200g of green peas (frozen rather than canned), salt, pepper and 250g of grated cheese):

Put the chopped onion, carrot and celery with a little olive oil in a saucepan and after a few minutes add all the meat. Let them brown, turn up the heat, add white wine and let it evaporate. Add the bay leaf and the powder of cloves and then peas and tomato paste dissolved in a glass of warm water, two more glasses of water, salt and pepper and cook it on low heat for about an hour and a half. Add some water if it gets too dry. At the end remove the bay leaves and add the cheese, while it’s still warm, then mix.

Now take a ball of rice as big as an orange and make a hole in it. Fill it with the ragù. Close the hole with a small piece of rice paste. The best way to do this is to keep hands always a little wet. Put the ball into a dense liquid made of flour and water and in the end in bread crumbs to cover it completely.

We are ready for frying now, which must be done using a pan with plenty of seed oil. As soon as the oil is hot dip one ball in it so that it is completely submerged in the oil. Fry it until it receives a golden colour, then take it out and put on a piece of paper to absorb the rest of oil.

And so that – it’s ready – and it will kill you!!!

Love of Animals*

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There is a dog couple accompanying us on our journey through the streets and alleys of the city. The boy is white, the girl looks a little like a shepherd dog. I’m looking at them fondly as they kiss or sniffs each other from time to time. Usually, the white dog brings its mouth close to her nose or ears to lick her gently. It looks blissfully as they walk with us and sit when we stop for a while.

 

I notice a Sicilian girl in knee-high boots while we are still in sandals on our bare feet, because of the temperature.
– Hahaha, omöjligt ! They probably feel it’s cold in here! Oh yeah! It’s Autumn actually, but really?
– Yes, October means Autumn, definitely. Look, she is wearing a jacket!
– And did you notice, there were jackets on display in those boutiques around, the quilted ones, you know… How strange the world  could be?! I really can’t believe!
– And finally I noticed a girl in here! I though there weren’t any in the whole city. I just started to wonder if they were locked home or something…
– Look, she is walking proudly with a pleasure, to show off her boots. She exploits the opportunity to try the new winter style! Amazing!

 

”Salotti buoni”[IT] [the good salons] – the places locals go to be seen [”per farsi vedere” IT] – it could be the old market, antic square or just an alley with luxury shops or coffeehouses, it doesn’t matter. The only purpose is to show your style and charm. This Sicilian girl is beautiful and stylish, like if she just came down from the catwalk. There is a habit that many Sicilians practice, to walk slowly even if it is only around the square in the evening, regardless of it is a workday or the weekend. Just to go out and walk, to see how other people walk the same, and to be seen there among them. It’s even not important to stop for a coffee, they don’t need such excuses. They just need to go out to show they are alive and in good shape, and that’s it.
I remember, how my Mom was telling me, that such habits used to be a part of everyday life also in my country. Life when time wasn’t passing so fast, but the feeling of passing time was more intense. They called it ”idę się przejść” meaning ”I’m going for a walk”, but it was exactly the same. The habit that people in my country used to have 60 years ago (which for me is only a pale history), is present here in Sicily in its full glory.
Meanwhile, the two dogs are having sex just in front of everybody. It’s such a natural thing. The white beau is on top of his girl and is holding her firmly with his paws. She seems pleased with that sudden act. Even if it’s their fifth time this day.

 

*see “The Lives of Animals” J.M. Coetzee

Palluni

Loud whistle mixed with cheers of crowd. Trapani is completely filled with these sounds. I feel like being close to … a stadium? But really – I don’t believe there is a big venue  anywhere close here. Suddenly, I notice a pub with open doors, full of men inside, in their middle age, holding their beer, men that are watching that football match – “la partita di palluni”. We stop at the doors observing them. It’s amazing, they are completely wrapped up in emotions. Two or three only noticed us, and they are looking at us with disapproval. I feel creeped, like an uninvited guest…
Luckily, I notice one young cute guy with friendly smile and then I can see his white-blue scarf on the neck, with a familiar inscription: “Kolejorz”! Wow! How’s that possible ??? To meet Kolejorz fan at “the end of the world”??

Ciao, volevo solo vedere perché si sente il rumore così forte…?
C’è la partita di palluni!
– Ma di chi?
– Palermo – Catania! Forza Palermu!
– E tu sei tifo per Palermo? Pensavo per Kolejorz…
Certu che tifu Palermu. Lu palluni è ‘na cosa seria…di omini però..[Football is a serious matter…however for men…(SIC)] – then he smiles charmingly like if he told me something sweet, kind of compliment or something.

Freya I need your superpower: why is he wearing that scarf?

– I’m sorry, I don’t know THINGS about people, I only hear something inside them … but right now I can tell only that he is jealous of Catania and wants Palermo to win – she laughs again, and we continue our walk in search of a bar without television and football fans.

There is an interesting sign standing on the carb. The inscription says : “who goes by bus helps the city to breathe better”. I like it. And I still don’t understand, why do they cheer for Palermo in Trapani and why do they hate Catania so much… and why there aren’t any women visible here … is Sicily inhabited by men only??
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Oldboy

I själva verket är det bara att inte överlämna sig tröttheten, att inte tillåta ointressen, likgiltigheten, aldrig förlora sin övärdelig nyfikenhet för då låter sig människan att dö.“ *

We are in the cabin of the cable car that is taking us back to Trapani. The air around is filled with sounds of football match coming from the distance, surprisingly loudly. I’m feeling extremely hungry, I can’t stop thinking about food.

– You know, they are used to eat a lot of seafood, here in Sicily. Do you like seafood?
– I love seafood! I could eat heaps of it! – (it’s hard to belive, she seems so slim as if she was on fruits and veggies only …)
– You know, it’s not very popular in my country, we don’t have them naturally… there is even some kind of aversion to eating parts of an octopus, clams and even shrimps. For some people from my cultural circle these are like “worms”.
– So you don’t like them either ???
No! I love them as you do! But I couldn’t eat them alive like French or Chinese . I still remember a scene from the Korean movie “Oldboy”. It was thrilling. And I have to tell, usually it is not easy to shock me. A man was imprisoned by somebody (and he didn’t know by whom and why) in a small apartment for 15 years. Finally he manages to escape, and visits a local bar to eat something. He takes an octopus from a water glass and eats it alive. The scene was so realistic, you could see exactly how the actor was chewing these writhing tentacles, it was horrible!
– Oh wow! – she starts to laugh loudly – I’ve heard about somebody that died during such a meal, because one of the suckers had attached to his esophagus inside and he couldn’t breathe and got suffocated.

We burst into laugh together, I don’t think I will ever forget this conversation …

*In fact, the point is to not give up to tiredness, to never lose the interest, or let the indifference, to never lose the priceless curiosity, because then one allows himself to die.”
-( I ‘m not sure if I cited precisely that sentence of Tove Jansson –
Freya )

The wall of Dedalous

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Dedalous knew the secrets of the labyrynth. He had designed it to hide the secrets of Minos.
Incurable, immature enthusiasm had blinded Icarus.

He felt.

Dedalous arrived here, suffering after the loss of his beloved son:
Erice.

I am standing on the ruins of the city that he had built.

I will leave in the opposite journey. I will reverse the time, reverse all these tragic events, I will redeem them, fix them. I will understand the youth and euphory. I will straighten the complexities of the maze and I will get out.

I’ll go back to Crete to raise Icarus.


“Isola che non c’è” means literally “The island that doesn’t exist”

Second star to the right,
This is the path
And then straight on til morning,
Then you find the road yourself,
It leads to Neverland.

Maybe this will seem strange to you,
But rationality
Got you carried away
And now you’re almost convinced that
Neverland cannot exist.

And thinking about it, what madness,
It’s a fairytale, it’s only fantasy
And he who is wise, who is mature knows it:
It cannot exist in reality!….

I agree with you,
A land doesn’t exist
Where there are neither saints nor heroes.
And if there are not thieves,
If there is never war,
Maybe it’s just the island
That’s not there… that’s not there.

And it’s not an invention
And not even a play on words,
If you believe it, it’s enough because
Then you find the road yourself.

[…]
And they tease you
If you continue to look for it,
But don’t you give up because
He who has already given up
And laughs at you behind your back,
Is perhaps even crazier than you.


*
the translated text from the page:
http://lyricstranslate.com/it/lisola-che-non-c%C3%A8-neverland.html