Eat My Ass

Just a bit more from the last:

I got home from the beach the other night, ready to take it easy for the night, when Matteo A. called, offering me a ride to see the Paolo Fresu concert, which was 20km outside of town.  Just to clarify, Fresu is a Sardo trumpet player who is more or less, by all appearances, internationally respected, and who, to show his commitment to his people, has committed to playing 50 shows in 50 days, for free, all over the island.  This alone is amazing to me, and I have been wanting badly to see him since Matteo first told me about him.  Thankfully, Matteo drove out of his way to pick me up and drag me out there, and, though we got there late, we managed to sneak in a few songs, and the massively long encore of a show between Fresu and the Cuban pianist, Omar Sosa.  The two certainly did love their applause, taking five handheld bows after every song, but they did play well together: Sosa did not sing, but rather mumbled and whooped into the microphone while looping and distorting his piano with his left hand.  The same, Fresu was constantly using his instrument for new functions, as percussion, for sound effects, as call-and-response, and ultimately it felt like a folksy Italian concert by The Books, if a little indulgent.  Matteo, a big Fresu fan, was very disappointed, but it was hard for me to be, particularly when we were in the middle of nowhere, amongst infinite rolling hills, with a tiny adobe church as a backdrop.  After the concert, the thousands there were treated to tons and tons of salumi, olives, pecorino, bread, and wine absolutely free, while Mr. Fresu calmly chatted to his audience from within the shelter of the church.  Again, all of the Cagliari regulars were there, those I had met in Gavoi, and we all spent a lovely night together, once the ex-president’s daughter drove Matteo and I around the anonymous hills for a long time in search of his Alfa Romeo.

The next day was simple.  I mostly went back to the beach, fell asleep under the sun, surrounded by millions with nary a foot a space to either side of me, and get back in time to get dinner in the city.  For sixteen euro off of a fixed price menu on a nondescript restaurant nearby — I was incredibly wary of a “tourist menu”, but they were the only place that served what I wanted — I got a half litre of wine, bottle of water, bread, pane carasau with pecorina ricotta, a platter of stewed mushrooms and donkey, finished by a platter of local sweets and a half pint of dessert wine.  Suffice my saying – I was pretty drunk, and certainly content, for sixteen euro.  It was my goal, as I said, to find donkey, though the restuarant’s English translation was “ass”, and I wasn’t overly disappointed, but for the fact that it mostly tasted the same as any other meat.

Afterwards, I took a stroll up to Il Castello, the fortified part of the town that is all serpentine and mysterious and dark, offering beautiful views of the city when you can find your way out of the twisting alleyways.  It is tranquil and lovely up there, though it has few shops or restaurants (probably because of that fact), and so it attracts few people despite its history (the Pisans, after conquering the city, built it, probably in the 1300s or so?).  I made my way to the Bastione St. Remy, which has a huge plateau of a piazza at the top of everything, giving a huge panorama of the bay and the city below, and though there was not live music up there as I’d hoped, there was a crafts fair.  I went immediately to the antiques man, who was selling all sorts of advertisements and film magazines and old lire from the fourties and fifties.  As I browsed, still a bit drunk, an old man taps me on the shoulder and proceeds to talk to me at a rapid pace for perhaps over an hour.  It took me probably a half an hour to have the slightest idea of who he was – I think I met him at the political roundtable the other night – and of course most of the conversation was an exercise in making myself seem like I was following what he was saying.  It was so awesome!  Being drunk, having a Sardo talk to you as if you were fluent!  I mean, really, it was about 11:30 when we said goodnight, and we/he talked about everything.  I was laughing so hard in my brain in the moments when I didn’t need to concentrate with all of my might.  “I am really in Sardegna now,” I said to myself.  The Sardi are unlike any people I’ve ever met, and I fucking love them.  I heard someone call them closed off in comparision to the Italians, but that person was a moron.  Though I didn’t see much on the island, though the natural beauty didn’t compare to that which I saw in Sicily, the cultural and personal experience, that which I could never write home about or describe to you with pictures or in conversation, was profoundly influencial, and I owe this to Matteo & Matteo.  Thank you guys, thank you, Italian professors, and thank you, Sardegna.

I am now catching a 5 hour train to the north, from whence I will take a ten hour ferry into Tuscany, then a two hour train ride into Florence.  I will be in a sour mood the next time we interact.

Huzzah!

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~ by nearhelsinki on July 10, 2011.

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