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Suzanne White

Author • Adventuress • Astrologer

Life on the Run

Ventimilgia, Italy

by Suzanne White - on Wednesday, November 29, 2017
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SATURDAY 8 AM VENTIMILGIA, ITALY. I invited Patricia for her birthday to come here for the weekend. We drove from Draguignan. (1.5 hours) and, aside from one very long traffic jam, had smooth sailing. But... when we got here it was dark and we had to find our hotel.

Way up top in the old town. We stopped and asked along the way, got lost 3 times and had to turn tail on narrow steep roads. Then I would ask some unsuspecting passer by in halting Italian where I could find La Terrazza dei Pelagorni B&B. Up up up we went. Got to the church at the top at 5:30pm. A man told us not to go any further till 6 pm when we were allowed to take the street we needed. No cars except for emergencies between 6&8 pm. I parked and went into a bar full of men playing cards, asked if the guy knew the hotel. He said yes. I asked if he could ring the hotel and say we were stuck here and could they come get us. The bar guy said "No! I am not calling anybody. I don't even have a phone!" I could see he was not on board for my quest. Of course he had a phone. But he just wasn't doin' nuttin' for no tourist lady. He gave the impression this was his town and we were not really welcome. So I cross the street and ask the lady who runs the tobacconist. She was lovely. Pretty blonde with smile to match. She called the hotel owner Signor Claudio who sent a young man to fetch us. The boy was charming. Moldavian. His Italian was only a bit better than mine so communication was out. We gestured. He went with us to the car (parked by the church), showed us where to park way up top, grabbed all the luggage and accompanied us down a perilous ramp of cobbles to this tiny street where he let us in to this very very old building. Up a few steps and into our lovely cave apartment complete w windows. Living room with bed and couches and a table and chairs and a kitchen. Next to that a cozy bedroom and stunning bath. How much? 60 euros a night. We connected our wifis and at 8pm meandered up up up another cobbled street found a restaurant and ate delectable fish and drank Vermentino till 10:30. We both slept well in our respective roosts and got up to wait for breakfast... It came at 8 am served (complete w tablecloth and cloth napkins by our favorite Moldavian. A feast! Everything from bread and parma ham to meringues and brownies and juice and fruit. Now we are getting ready to venture out to San Remo the the flower market and the food market - both Saturday morning events. More later... Ciao!

26 nov 2017

Sunday 26 Nov Ventimglia. So Patricia and I went off to San Remo at about 10 am yesterday. On the way to the car, we encountered a huge, tall truck loaded down with fruits and vegetables. Patricia was transfixed by the prices. She hesitated for half a minute and then bought two cases of local tangerines for 5 euros, 2 kilos of walnuts for 5 euros and a few thousand potatoes. Chucked all that in the trunk of the car and off we drove to market day in San Remo. Once there, we found a (miracle) parking spot near the sea and walked up to the market. When I approached the multicolored outdoor market alive with swarming crowds of bargain-seeking French people and howling Italian merchants, I said, "Pat, If you don't mind, I will wait for you in this café." I sat. She walked off to shop amid the hordes. I struck up a conversation with a nice older man (about my age) who also sat waiting and drinking coffee. The man was from Lyon but he explained "I have an apartment in Menton. I came down for a few days." Suddenly next to him appeared a younger blonde woman of about 45, bearing packages. She showed him and then he introduced us and she showed me her 3 jars of the best pesto for 3 euros and a piece of Parmesan cheese the size of large hardback book. "Nine euros" she crowed, waving her cheese around. The man got up and went to the W.C. and I said, "Your father is soo nice. Did you come along to keep him company?" She smiled and said, "He's not my father. He's my boyfriend." Oops.

I smiled and said "Bravo. You are living life your way." She told me she had been looking for something to buy in Spain. Then she met Monsieur and fell in love with him and the apartment to buy in Menton and now she has both. Patricia soon reappeared huffing and saying things were too expensive there. "It's cheaper at the market in San Raphael." She was hoping to find boots. We looked in a few shoe stores - also too expensive. We then walked to the car and decided to have lunch in the restaurant where the owner had accosted us earlier to tell us to come eat at his place. Pat had pasta carbonara and I got amatriciana. Delicious. Perfectly al dente. Sauces also perfetti. Then I had panna cotta and Pat the tiramisu and then 2 coffees and 2 limoncellos (Pat drank mine) on the house. Drove back to Ventimilgia, parked. Pat shopped. I sat in the Café de Paris to wait for her return. Half an hour. One hour. Chill wind from the sea and no Patricia. I explain in broken Italian to the storekeeper lady next to the café that my friend might be lost. "So phone her." she said. "I can't. My phone is French and it doesn't work here." She offered to ring Pat for me. But I didn't have her number. "If she is lost she will go to the car." I say. "If you see a medium sized French lady with a brown quilted jacket and curly brown hair looking lost, please tell her to wait. Her name is Patricia. I am Suzanne. And you? "Rosa" she told me. "I am going to the car to see if she went there." She was not at the car. I went back to the café. Patricia was pacing there, looking confused. Rosa was inside her store serving customers. We thanked her and off we went to fetch the car and come back up to our apartment in the old town. That went off without a hitch. At 6pm I had a brief siesta. Then we computered for awhile and Patricia said if I didn't mind she would put Dancing With the Stars on TV. I said I did mind but would be happy to go into the other room and read my book. We decided not to dine. Ate some of Pat's stash of tangerines and drank a sip of the Vermentino I had bought earlier. I crawled under the covers to read and heard Pat utter a loud sigh. "What's wrong sweetie?" I asked. "It's not the same. It's always on Saturdays at this time." I called out, "Pat, it's normal. We are in Italy. They don't have the same TV programs as in France." She was disappointed, but she watched part of a gaudy Italian variety show instead, then drifted off to dreamland. Now it's Sunday morning. After another sumptuous breakfast we will head back home across the border to the land of snails and lovely lunches in leafy bowers in sunny Provence.

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Author Suzanne White

About Suzanne White

Suzanne White is the High Priestess of Chinese and Western Astrology. She's American and has lived in France for 50 years. She spends some months in America every year on house swaps. Suzanne says: One day I'm a rip-roaring Yankee and the next day I'm an dainty, elegant Parisienne My totally bi-lingual life is a kind of "managed schizophrenia". It's fun. I live for fun. I will probably die of it too.

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