Fast Bar, a Monterosso institution, reopened with a giant party last night that I'm sure has most of the town recovering with headaches this morning. We got there late, as the restaurant has been filling up promptly at 7 with us notoriously early dinner eating Americans, but at 10 pm, the party in the Old Town was in full swing. The people in Monterosso are many things, but they love to have a good time, and parents were dancing in the middle of the mess with their kids. The bar top was crowded with women and men bopping along to the loud music, or playing air guitar, or yelling whatever came to their mind into the giant funnel, which is normally used as a prop for bescantà.
The night started with a little bescantà, the Monterosso tradition where residents dress up as shabby fishermen with the traditional glasses made of lemon peel, and burnt wine cork smudged on their faces, and the night ended with bescantà props hanging off everyone, tourists and Monterossini. A happy American couple took photos with the giant fisherman's hat, another marveled at their new lemon peel glasses. An Irish couple in the corner got pulled into dancing with an older man from here, who clinked overfilled beer glasses with them several times, and yelled words of welcome in bits of English, as they laughed and went along with the crowd. A woman walked in clutching her guidebook with her husbad leafed through the pages, confused, as though there was a chapter describing this social phenomenon called "celebration". After a few minutes, she gave up looking and put it back in her bag. A few minutes later, she was laughing as her husband and the father of one of my friend's apparently got into an air guitar contest as ACDC came on the radio.
Fast Bar was one of the most severely damaged in the flood, and it's absence in the past 5 months is something that was noticed and felt. It's the tiny bar where you come to dance on a table, to pop in for a second to meet friends, and, though in the season, full of tourists who have had maybe a little too much to drink, it's as full of locals in the same boat.