Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
A month of my life has now been devoted to this flood, and I know it's not ending at that. It's a little unbelievable to think that for a month, my feet have not left the muddy ground of Monterosso al Mare. We went to Levanto Saturday night for a pizza, and I didn't realize how much I psychologically needed to leave my flooded little town. It was strange, because the group of 11 of us wanted to eat a pizza at 9:30, and at this time and at this point in the season, you wouldn't expect every restaurant to be completely full. What we hadn't taken into account was that Levanto isn't just Levanto anymore - it's also the majority of evacuated residents of Monterosso and Vernazza. There was the surf competition, but there were no waves in Levanto for the past week, so they moved to another town where they could finish their constest.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Beautiful fall foliage overlooking a stubbornly large and undraining puddle.
The world's most picturesque garbage drop off...
Soccer! (on the right)
And, clearly, a sense of humor to go along with it all.
Apparently I wasn't the only one who was able to find and save a beautiful painting.
The things that can be saved...
Newly liberated from mud - as you can see from previous pictures, this used to be completely submerged.
Look inside the supermarket on the left - people are working so, so hard and it shows
When I look to Vernazza, in the distance, I have such sad feelings. The day of the flood, talk was on Via 4 Novembre, then turned to the Old Town, since we could only speculate how everything fared. At one point, that night, we looked towards Vernazza and saw the lights in the harbor and up to the castle. We all had grim thoughts, but no one knew that they had suffered as horribly we did. Now, when I look over to the harbor, I see construction, even this far away (you can probably see the crane looming over the town), and again, that's a great sign for me.
There is such a thing as the "fishbowl effect". It occurs when you are in a situation that results in being observed from the inside-out, similar to a little fish in his glass abode, with big human eyes staring in.
Monday, November 14, 2011
What we can save in the kitchen. Ha.
All of this needs to be taken out.
Two days after the flood - the water still hadn't gone down.
Happier times this summer
Ema and Elia at our mojito party in August behind the bar
One of our dinner and concert nights this summer
Terra Mia release party and concert
What the entrance used to look like...and will look like again :)
Just when it seems like we've really started to make some progress with cleaning up this flood mess, the work pile keeps growing. We're closing up the restaurant and have cleaned five of the six rooms in the bed and breakfast, which was a nightmare. We had to go through every single thing - lamp, picture frame, foot of a chair - and clean it. Then bleach it. Then clean it again. Then dry it. Then sanitize it. Then move it to another room that had already been cleaned and sanitized. Then clean the walls. Then clean the ceiling. Then clean the floor. Then bleach the walls...
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Our last communal meal in the New Town was the world famous Italian specialty - asado.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Observation: Whoever said Italian people don't get drunk has clearly never been to the festa dei becchi.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Bright shiny new clean street
Only remnant of what it took to clean this is the broom - across from Ristorante Ely
I'd say this means that stuff is getting done...
The simple looking but incredibly functional method of diverting water through the street - except now it's hose water used to clean off Monterosso
Power washing Ciak...you can see on the wall on the left how well this thing works
Ta-Da! Monterosso's still here!
It’s finally happened.
We’re walking on the street. More or less – there’s been so much done in the Old Town. Since we have so much to do here in the Bed and Breakfast, and haven’t even really started at the Cantina, we really only have time to go to the other side of town for a little bit every afternoon. This is actually better, for me, because sometimes when you work at something or do something everyday, you don’t have a chance to step back and actually see the difference. That something is happening.
I have this advantage of seeing the town every 24 hours, and though it might feel like it’s moving unusually and frustratingly slow, the important thing is that it’s moving. I don’t think it could go any faster, and now, we have the advantage of having streets to walk on and doors to walk in and out of. It’s incredibly uplifting to see such progress. The mud has been removed from most of the businesses in the heart of the Old Town, and they’ve started power washing, mopping, sweeping and resuming a semblance of normalcy. I even have hope that I might be able to wear something other then rain boots this week. Monterosso is unrecognizable from two weeks ago, which is amazing since two weeks ago I was under the impression that we no longer had a town. It’s staggering what a group of determined, hard working people can do. There’s still a huge, dramatic hole in the middle of Via Roma, but there are 3 backhoes working on it, and though it might seem like a messy construction site, that’s a good thing. Things are getting done.
What I think we need to keep in mind is that we’re still here, we’re still working, and for us, the only news is this flood and building this town again. Kim Kardashian’s divorce, Michael Jackson’s doctor’s trial, Justin Bieber’s baby (I looked on CNN entertainment earlier, that’s how I got these incredibly important news updates) – they don’t exist for me here. There are more important things in my life, and it puts it in perspective, but I wish I could get over my frustration as to why the events of two weeks ago were so lightly covered in the American news cycle. It’s just as important for the tons of people who care about this area as much as I do to keep the word out that we are still here, and we need help. People who have been here or dream about coming need to keep passing it on that we need exactly that. Donating to Monterosso, Vernazza and the Red Cross are great ways to help, but one of the best ways is to pass the word and come visit us next spring.
We’ve still got everything that made this place so special before. The sun still rises and sets, covering itself with streaking, vivid shades of sky and clouds. The tides still roll lazily in on a beach that’s slowly becoming clean again. The mountains still slump into the sea, and we all still gather together, laughing and sharing stories and, depending on the time of day, wine or coffee (albeit for less time). Monterosso “non c’e più” isn’t true. I’ve seen it. I walked on its streets again today.