Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for the ‘Queo Che Ghe Xe!’ Category

Day Tripper

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

This has been the most incredible trip. I do not want to go home! The weather, since the freak storm on Friday, has been fantastic – beautiful and sunny during the day, a bit chilly, but nice, in the evening.

Full moon here. Cheryl Alexander is here. Monday night, we went to eat at La Zucca, and there was a table of six with a copy of Chow! Venice on the table. I went and told them I wrote it. One woman gets up, exclaims “are you SHANNON?” It was Linda, from North Carolina, a poster on the Slowtalk message board! It was a very cool and exciting moment for all of us.

Yesterday I ran Cheryl all over the city doing research. We ate cichetti and drank wine all over the place. I am happy to report that in general, the bar and cichetti scene remains good. Last night we had dinner at my friend Andrea’s, where his girlfriend Marta cooked us fresh seafood and a fantastic pumpkin cannelloni. We drank wine and talked for a long time. Though we left late I made Cheryl go for one more. We got glasses of wine at a new bar in Rialto, called Mora (I think) and we took them down to the Grand Canal and sat on the window ledge of the courthouse, near the fish market, and drank our wine. It was magic.

While I was in Piazza San Marco yesterday, I helped a couple find their hotel. Then there was another couple, asking for help. So I think I am going to start a new business, I will stand in Piazza San Marco with a sign that says “help, one Euro.” Or, I can be a boat-meeter-take-them-to-the-hotel person. That would be more Euro, though.

And the night before, I was walking home from my dinner at Il Refolo, walking through Rialto, I passed a couple that were lost, tipsy, and arguing. They were from Ireland, and the woman was fairly pissed off. I asked them if I could help them, and they said they did not know where they were. They were staying at the Luna Baglioli near Piazza San Marco, and here they were on the other side, with no clue! Plus they were, well, kind of drunk. I knew they would never find their way home, so I told them I would take them there.

So I walked them over to San Marco. The woman kept saying, “I am going to divorce him!” The man walked behind us. I tried to calm her down a little, and eventually she did calm down. They kept asking me, “why are you doing this?” The woman told the guy, “you need to tip her.” I told them I did not want a tip, I only wanted to get them home.

Finally we get to the Piazza, and the guy stops and buys all the roses from one of the rose sellers – something like 30 roses. I told the woman, “look, he is buying you some flowers!” She says, “NO, he is buying YOU flowers.” And he was. So I thought that was pretty nice, so I accepted them. We got to the hotel.

“Here you are,” I say. They were so grateful. The man pressed a bill into my hand. “No… I don’t want this…” I said. But he said I had to take it and then they were inside the hotel.

It was 50 Euro.

I asked Cheryl if she thought it would be tacky to post this story here, but I was so shocked, I cannot keep it to myself. I really did not want any money, I really did just want to see them safely home. After all, I have been in this condition before.

But I think maybe I have found a new vocation.

My Lost Day

Saturday, September 25th, 2004

Time is moving way too quickly here. One forgets how you can easily lose an hour or two, just sitting in a campo and staring into space.

I am staying in an apartment on a main calle in Rialto and every morning I hear the click-click of heels, all the Venetians going to work. I love looking down at all of them. I think I recognize half of them. At night there are happy voices and laughter in the calle.

Today is a beautiful Saturday. Especially beautiful, because yesterday there was the most insane storm here. I had no idea it was going to storm. At around one in the afternoon, I was walking up through Dorsorduro to go to the train station to buy a ticket for Rome. All of a sudden, the wind kicked up, and I looked at the sky. It was green and black. I love the summer storms in Venice, but this was no summer storm. And I was wearing capris and sandals. No umbrella. Uh oh. Everyone, tourists and locals, started to run.

I was thinking I would go and have some lunch, but I was not really hungry. So I ducked into the wine bar Vinus Venezia. A minute later, the sky opened and massive water fell. The bartender and I just stared out the window. Vinus Venezia would be my home for the next two and a half hours. I sat in the window and listened to good jazz, played loud. The calle started to flood. Across the way, in the Osteria Al Pantalon, many happy people ate pasta and drank wine and I watched them eat. A guy with a striped shirt kept coming from the restaurant, to the wine bar. He would have a wine, then run back. He would have a sandwich, then run back.

This whole time I am thinking about Luke and Lisa, the British couple I showed around Thursday. They are getting married at 3 PM, in this storm! I had talked to Roberto at the Pizzeria Accademia, for Luke and Lisa to have the best patio table to drink Prosecco and look at the view, but surely they would not go there with this weather.

Finally I knew I had to make a run for home. It was freezing. At home I read for a while and then thought I might try for the train station again. It had stopped raining, but it was still freezing, and windy. I think at that moment I thought “I don’t think I am going to Rome.” I flipped a coin and it said, go to Rome. But I cannot leave Venice. I just cannot do it.

I had only eaten a tramezzini at noon, but I wasn’t really hungry until about 8. I went downstairs and ate a great meal at Osteria Vivaldi. I ate pasta with shrimp and lemon zest and cream, then fegato alla Veneziana. I could not finish all my liver but I finished enough that I felt sort of like a overstuffed piggy at that point. I walked over to Il Sole Sulla Vecia Cavana, because I knew Luke and Lisa were having their wedding dinner there, and I wanted to see how it all went. Plus I really needed to walk.

Luke and Lisa had just finished, so it was good timing. They looked great. They had actually WALKED from Rialto to Piazza San Marco for pictures, and then WALKED to the Pizzeria Accademia, even though there would be no sitting outside. They said everywhere the Venetians were coming out of the shops and congratulating them. Roberto and his crew were waiting (probably surprised they even showed up.) So it all worked out.

So who is at Il Sole Sulla Vecia Cavana, but the guy with the striped shirt from Al Pantalon! He owns it now. He tried to tell me he saw me in Vinus Venezia and I tried to tell him I knew. So now I am going to have to try Al Pantalon.

Anyhow, this is the story of my lost day. I am off to meet some Irish friends I made the other night… I am taking them on an afternoon bar crawl of Dorsoduro and San Polo. They are very good at helping with the research.

Don’t write about the flight

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004

It seems a million years since I last wrote. In Atlanta, they don’t have much in the way of internet. At least in the ‘burb where I was staying they didn’t. Hurricane Ivan! That was INSANE. I have never seen rain like that. I have never been so scared driving around.

Anyhow now I am in Venice. I got here yesterday. Now I AM writing about the flight. Before we left JFK, I saw a flight attendant looking at a map of Venice. So, I gave her a book. I had planned to give some copies of Chow! to the flight attendants anyway. Note to Ruth – if you think Delta attendants are snippy, give them books. I walked off the plane with a bottle of Champagne and three overnight kits from Business Class, PLUS got wine served in a real wine glass in Coach! All the attendants were very attentive, to me! I gave three more of them books and everyone thought I was some big shot signing books in my nasty-ass wrinkled jeans. From this day forward, I will always give copies of Chow! to flight attendants headed for Venice…

Of course I did not sleep, I just drank wine out of that wine glass all night long. So yesterday, I walked and walked, trying not to sleep. It is warm here, balmy. There are lots of tourists in San Marco, but they are mostly hanging over there. I ate lunch at Casin dei Nobili. I really wanted tramezzini, but while passing Casin dei Nobili I suddenly felt like I would pass out if I didn’t eat. So I ate monkfish with tomatoes and olives and anchovies and drank some white wine. I felt like I was on another planet. After that I walked to the Piazza San Marco – can’t not go there on the first day in Venice – then over to the bar Il Cavatappi to check things out. Much has changed over there. The bar seems very lived in now. Almost everything I wrote in the book has changed. It is still a great bar, but things are different….

Lots of new places everywhere. New bars in Campo Santa Margherita, new bars in Rialto. There is a new restaurant owned by the Danieli Ham people, in Rialto. Prices are higher everywhere but it seems like all the new places spent more money, too.

In the afternoon, I went to Bancogiro and sat outside on the Grand Canal and drank a glass of wine. It was very quiet there, only a few tourists, and a lonely, whistling gondolier. A typical Venetian afternoon, all the Venetians sleeping or eating or making love at home, none of them out in the sun at three o’clock. The gondolier made his way over to me, offered me a “free” ride. “I sing, I dance, I kiss…” he says to me. “if you want, I like you.” But I know there is no free ride, and I don’t want a kiss, either.

After the wine I could not stop sleep. I passed out for an hour and then woke up at six, to meet my friend Andrea downstairs at the Osteria Vivaldi, at 6:30.

And thus begins my very first night in Venice. We have a prosecco at Vivaldi, then move on to meet Marta, Andrea’s girlfriend. We go to a new bar, owned by the same people who own Vitae, a happening place in Campo San Luca across the Canal. This bar is also very hip and we have another Prosecco. Andrea goes outside to make a call, Marta and I have another Prosecco. This is only the second time I have hung out with Marta. She is a very animated girl, and much prettier than I remember. We head out to eat pizza at a new place, but on the way run into friends of Marta and Andrea, and I can’t remember their names… of course we had to sit down and have a Spritz with them. They all talked in Venetian so there was no way I could understand a word, but the girls were both so lovely I couldn’t stop watching them. Sometimes they spoke some English, just to keep me in the mix. I didn’t care… I was just happy to be sitting there.

Soon though I was desperate for a pizza so Andrea and Marta and I went to Al Nono Rosorto, instead of the new place, because it was getting late. I ordered a diavola and was practically peeing my pants for that first bite of Venetian pizza. We drank a bottle of wine and talked, then we drank some huge grappas. I thought for sure, after, I would be exhausted, and I was, but of course they talked me into one for the road. We went to Do Spade, now owned by the guy who use to own Vivaldi. There were a few Venetian drunks there. Gotta love Venice around 11 P.M. No cars, only weaving Venetians.

I really like Marta, and Andrea is one of my favorite people on the planet. It was a perfect night, and so typically Venetian, and finally, at midnight, I got home and passed out for eight hours straight. I am on Venetian time now, and nothing else matters.