Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Need a left-handed scythe?

If so this hardware store in Lucca has you covered. Even if your Italian is even worse than your intentions. It has all the sharp-edged instruments of mayhem a vacationing psychopath could want thoughtfully labeled in its window, "Machete" is easy. But if you're a lefty and nothing but a left-handed scythe will do, just ask for "il fauci sinistre."

Of course, I knew that, or at least the "sinistre" part. After six weeks of sort of studying Italian, I was able to tell my first lie in Italian this morning. "Sono maggiori di sessantacinque anni e di Norvegia.". Of course only the part about being Norwegian was a technical fib (my grandmother was, so in a way. . .). But it seems so unfair when they let old people from the EU in free at museums but expect Americans to pay.

Other than that, trying to strike up conversations in Italian has been a struggle. Taking pictures in a vicolo this morning (that's an alley for you civilians), I did have two guys come out of their photography studio who didn't speak a word of English. They were very curious about my cutting edge lightweight camera. With some considerable difficulty we were able to agree that a large sensor in such a tiny camera was a feat possible only with a mirrorless design (it helped that "mirror" in Italian is "mirror"). Other than that, most people have smiled and insistently switched to English. Rome wasn't built in a day (now, what's the third-person plural passato prossimo for "fare". . .).

Tomorrow I start walking. Can't wait.