We have lots of festivals (sagra) in Monterosso, and the lemon festival is a good one, though dampened, literally, by a rainy day. There is a contest for the biggest lemon, best storefront display, lots of food and drinks (lemon based), and streets full of yellow and green banners. Our display, with ancient boat anchors and fishing traps from Manuel's grandpa, didn't win, but I certainly didn't have any trouble finding lemons to make cocktails with all day. Manuel's mom explained to me that the reason for this festival was that at this time of the year, the fragrance of the lemons is at their peak.
Lemons have always been very important to Monterosso, and they grow everywhere - and are huge. Eugenio Montale, the Nobel Prize winning poet who lived in Monterosso for a while and wrote many famous poems here, even penned one titled "The Lemon Trees", inspired by the tons of orchards running through town.
We were quite busy at the Cantina all day long and into the night. We started to get packed for dinner, and as I was clearing a table of their plates, a tiny teacup chihuahua jumped out of the purse of a Japanese girl and gnawed my finger. Obviously, I was totally shocked, as I didn't even see the dog, but more so that there was now blood dripping down my arm as the girl sat there, not uttering a word.
What ensued was hectic and maddening, as we had to then take this couple, who I would describe as nicely as I can as "not bright", and then copy their passports and wait for the town doctor to come on his bike to inspect the bite. This couple did not bring any documentation of their dog into Italy on their vacation - they live in Switzerland, though Japanese, and explained that the dog had it's shots up to date. They spoke english, but didn't utter a word.
Italian law says that they should have documentation with them for a pet not registered in Italy, especially as the dog continued growling and snapping - if the dog, no matter how small, is this vicious, it shouldn't be on vacation hiding in purses. After antibiotics and the doctor's advice to me and scolding the couple on their negligence, the man THEN apologized. Thanks.
With a bandaged hand, I went on with the busy night after the lemon festival. Having worked in restaurants for my entire adult life, I'm prepared for the random things that happen frequently when working with people, but I have to say - this was one thing I really didn't see coming. What was funny was that every table saw what happened, and one woman was going through her purse to find me antibacterial cream, another offered her skills in speaking basic Japanese, and I did receive a round of applause after returning to the Cantina after this event. And I learned to say "a dog bit me" - un cane mi ha morso.
The weather continued raining through the night and the next day, which was rocked, literally, at 4 am by another earthquake. This one was centered by Bologna, but was felt here - I woke up, in fact, and asked Manuel if this was an earthquake. He told me it was the train. Having been my third quake in 4 months, I knew otherwise, but the severity of this one in Bologna left several people dead and caused a great amount of damage - it was a 5.9.
|Rain brings little snail friends out to wiggle around. I never observed one before. It's true - they are really, really slow.|