By American Kabuki
I've pretty much settled down to life in the alps. First couple of weeks had trouble with nose bleeds, its not so much the altitude (we're about about 1500 meters) but the dry winter air made even dryer by wood burning stoves for heat. I like wood fireplaces, the heat is nice and the scent of pine and hard woods is wonderful. I lived the prior 15 years in humid beach climates and my nose spazzed out for a bit. One day it was so bad I had to call my hosts for help as it looked like I had slashed my wrists in the bathroom as it was coming out much faster than I could stop it. The family that owns this house loaned me a humidifier they had and the problem has pretty much gone away.
The alps here are not as high as some of the mountains in North America, this is basically the same altitude as Sedona Arizona. I don't know why I thought they'd be taller, but the are very steep mountains and quite beautiful.
My Nokia Windows 8 phone I purchased in Tangier for Project XIII to run on will not work on Vodafone's Italian cell service. It has German firmware, but Vodafone won't let it connect up. I've downloaded the Italian firmware for the device and when I get a free evening I will flash and see if it works then. It worked fine on Moroc Telecom's service so I don't know why Vodafone is so finicky about the firmware from Germany.
Caleb gave me a Motorola V8 RAZR phone and for some reason that does work here but it doesn't have all the nice internet goodies on it... nor email and it came with Verizon firmware which I have flashed to Linux operation system build for that model, works well too but still no email...
I took a trip a couple of weeks ago to Torino and had a walk around. It has some amazing Italian architecture from the Mussolini era. You can tell how literate people are by the number of book stores, and Torino is crammed with book sellers and music sellers. I have not seen this many book stores since the days when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area, or in Minneapolis/St. Paul. A lot of the books are about art, which also reveals a lot about the city and Italy in general.
I had many mistaken ideas of what Italy would be like, most of which probably came from 1950-60s movies and the stories my father told from his experiences during WWII. I hope to get down to Naples and see that area before I leave so I have some idea of the area my dad spent a few years of the war in as a P-38 pilot.
I'll be writing more in the coming days of my experiences here it Italy and the amazing people I have met. Living and breathing I AM in ways I have not witnessed before. I am very happy to be able to stay with them for a while.
Spring is arriving and the alpine crocus flowers are starting to bloom purple and white flowers. We will undoubtably get occasional snow falls for a few weeks yet but much of the snow melted in the last couple of days.
Thank you all for the help you have given over the past few months. The donations make it possible to keep the blog going and buy some badly needed clothes and supplies. I'd like to take some side train trips in Italy while I am here but we will see how that goes. I cut my living expenses a great deal and will be trying out some alternative blog ad as I think Google is not being honest about the ad traffic as it has not matched total page views for some months.