Exciting visitors to my sites; sushi with friends; hot, hot, hot; zanzare; Alitalia and Italian Customer Service!

Yesterday, as I was posting the post below and changing a few things (because WordPress does funny things to the post sometimes – I think it’s the font that causes the problem), I checked my visitors and found someone else reading my blog at the same time!  This is quite freaky.  Those of you who have blogs that actually have visitors all the time may not appreciate how exciting this can be.  I mean, we’re on the site exactly at the same time!

Last night, another evening with friends – one who is leaving on Thursday to go back to living in London and who we have known for some time; one who has lived here for years and is from America and we have met about 4 times now; one who is Italian and we have now met for the second time. It was sushi again, at our favourite sushi restaurant.  I don’t know, but I think I could possibly eat sushi forever.

The evening, helped, no doubt, by the free flowing wine, morphed into one of those laughing events.  We laughed so much it almost hurt.  It’s so good when you have evenings like that.  God, I really love Milan.  In a way it was a parting dinner for H.  I must admit to feeling kind of sad that she is going back to the UK.  I will miss her.  Having said that, firstly she will be coming back for about 6 weeks in July and August plus, in my opinion, I think she loves this city too much to stay away that long.  We shall see but I am also aware that situations change, strings are pulled and changes are made, sometimes permanently.

H and I worked out that, yesterday, the temperature in Milan must have been over 35 degrees C.  The downside to this is that, this morning, as I’m sitting at my computer at home, the first mosquito arrives to bite me to buggery.  So, this weekend it is out with the plug-in mosquito repellents and start placing them in the usual strategic positions.  I mention this as a downside and you may not realise what the upside is.  Well, for me, at 30+ degrees, the need to have a shower when I get home, the non-wearing of socks, even when we went out to eat last night – they’re all signs that summer is really here and, for me, this is just the best thing.  I can even put up with the bloody zanzare.

I also want to mention calving.  Not for a cow, elephant or any other animal.  No, for when an iceberg breaks away from the ice shelf!  What a fantastic word to use for it.  It really describes it so well.  The story is here.

Finally, this is the country of strikes.  Yes, still, after all these years.  I guess public transport (trams, buses, trains) strikes happen at least once a month or, at least, that’s what it feels like.  But yesterday was the Alitalia strike by cabin staff.  Because that would only have affected a small number of people flying in, out or within Italy, at the same time the air traffic controllers went on strike – so that was Italy closed for the day, then.  Of course, Alitalia cannot continue in the way that it is.  Something has to be done.  What is very likely to happen, imho, is that the Italian Government will sell it off and then it will collapse or be stripped by whoever takes it over.

From my point of view, this is a shame.  I’ve always found Alitalia very good, if you compare it to, say, British Airways.  However, not everyone is happy with Alitalia. S is one and Daniel Chin has similar feelings. Unfortunately, Daniel Chin no longer has a blog. His photography site is here.

I saw on the BBC website that many people were unhappy about the strike (obviously) and about the customer service (or, rather lack of it).  The thing they should remember is that, this is why Italy is such a great country.  Faced with something beyond their control, Italians will shrug their shoulders.  This was beyond the control of those customer service people and, therefore, why should you give them hassle or, even, expect them to do something?  Are you mad?  And what would be the point of them opening offices before 9 a.m. (one of the complaints).  Even opening at 9 would not bring any real action before 10!  No, by far the best thing is to relax, expect nothing from anyone and then, when something DOES happen, you can be highly delighted.  Now, isn’t that a better feeling than being all het-up and frustrated.  And, at the worst, if nothing happens, then nothing has changed and you are still in a calm, shrugged-shoulders state and all is right with the world.

As I say, siamo in Italia/a Milano – and it’s hot, mosquito-infected and fantastic, thank you for asking.

Update:  It got to 33 degrees today and is 25 now (11:00 p.m.).  However, it is due to break by the weekend – typical!

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