Saturday, July 12, 2008

Napoleon's Prison

Today has been full of surprises. I finally found a job here on the Isle of Elba. My job in Parma was lost with the loss of my ex-boss-to-be's money, so I decided to join my cousins in the place where Napoleon was exiled for months. It turns out that Elba is not so bad a place to be exiled. Not only was Napoleon treated like a king, but he also ended up in one of the few places I have been that I can fully declare a paradise. I fell in love with the sea, the sand, the fish, and yes, the people.

The place where I work is a lounge bar where I can hardly afford a cocktail. It overlooks the port and is full of young people. I live in a small apartment with 5 other people, sharing a room with a beautiful girl named Gloria. I love it, even though my feet throb, and it's only my first day. Not so cool thing: the band that plays there at night... Sucks. The musicians are good, don't get me wrong, but the music they play is, let's just say, it's not my cup of coffee.

Awesome thing: today, I tried Basil ice cream. I'm not even kidding. It was weird as heck, but surprisingly good. Not something I would ever get on my own again, but when your co-worker offers you home-made ice cream, do you turn them down?

I was feeling a little blue this evening because the gorgeous man/boy that I've been spending lots of time with is in Pisa for his final exams. I was also alone again, for the first time in months. The last of my cousins left this afternoon on the ship back to mainland Italy. Everyone in in Parma, including my mother and my awesome little brother. I also decided that the music outside my window (see Sucks, above) was going to cause me to commit the grave fault of booing the band, which would, most likely, result in me being fired. I needed to get out of there, and fast. Plan number one: Pizza. It never fails, here in Italy to lighten my mood. I love Italian pizza more than just about any other food.

I strolled down the street, watching blond Germans and brunette Italians shop for souvenirs. I went to the pizza place where I had last been with the entire Gelli-Bianchi clan, La Rustica. Sitting outside, I had a cigarette while contemplating the menu. Considering my budget, I chose a Margherita pizza accompanied by water. The waiters conviced me to have a coffee afterwards, and I asked for the check. Michele (pronouced Mick-é-lé), the same waiter who had served us before, refused to let me pay. With a wink, he whisked the check away and told me to go get a free limoncino from the bar.

I have never been offered a free meal like that from someone who expects nothing. I've only ever been on one real dinner date, and it was obvious then that the boy who took me out thought he was getting some afterwards. Also, it was his daddy's money (the guy was 28, I mean, come on...). The fact that this waiter was cute helped the matter decidedly. I walked, no, skipped down the street with the biggest smile on my face, and thought that I needed to write this day down.

I have a job with the coolest people, in the coolest bar, tried basil ice cream, and was offered dinner by a cute Napolitano waiter. Who knows how to wink. Sometimes, life is wonderful.