Thursday, March 30, 2006

Of Clothes, Friends and Sushi

A while before Christmas, I was in need of a simple cotton long-sleeved t-shirt. Black one. Now if you think that finding something so apparently plain is easy, you are possibly right, but the trick was that, after having seen the shops' windows, I swore to myself I would had never paid 15 euros (the lowest price I got at the time) for 200 grams of cotton industrially shaped into a human torso. More, that I would had bought that if and only if I would had found it under 10 euros. Now, that can be technically as hard as finding the Holy Grail as at least you wouldn't have to pay the holder of the Grail, once found.

I looked around for weeks, then I simply gave up as I didn't need that so urgently anymore, after all. But I kept looking and yesterday, at lunch break, almost 4 months later, I found them. Plain, cotton, nothing fancy, for 8.99 euros each (which is still an absurdity, but such are the times). The long waiting got to my head tho, as I ended up buying three of them, black, white and red. Thinking of which, Santa's colors, a celebration of the start of the finally fulfilled quest.

Later that day, after gym, I met up with Liesbeth, who I had not met since I helped her moving a month ago, in front of the Metropolitan cinema to see "The Constant Gardner". Wow... quite a movie I shall say and it ends really bad (which usually is a plus). Interesting thing is that Liesbeth currently is interning in one UN agency and in the movie is shown one of the agency's relief food drops. Maybe that's why she was so taken by the movie (no, ok, it's that it is the classic "tears will roll" movie). Anyway, given we had a lot of catch up to do, we headed to the usual place in Campo dei Fiori (Aristocampo) and spent almost 3 hours chatting of various subjects (mostly one, tho), eating this and that and... drinking red wine. The fact I ended up sending a sms in german (well, my german, anyway) to Susanne says a lot, I think. At some point the base of my glass decided to break for no apparent reason and I was inundated by wine on my favourite black suit and of course my favourite florentine tie. Murphy's Law rules the universe. Ended up in bed at 2, so much for having to recover lost sleep.

Today at lunch break I discovered (yes, lunch breaks are usually moments of discovery here, what do you think, that italians just eat at lunch breaks?) there is a little, but quite intriguing, japanese restaurant at 5 minutes walk from my office called Kisso. Given my sushi (I love sushi) appetite was awoken in London (well, London airport, but still counts as London) I decided to give it a try. it's small, very japanese (in the sense that you could take the food by mistake from your neighbor's dish so much people are tight) and.. full of japanese people. Really. Which I supposes is a good testament for the food's quality, but also has some bad sides... if you do not know, japanese people slurps loudly when they eat, something that is considered among the worst things you can do at the table here. Anyway, I had a Kaiten lunch (meaning, taking things off a conveyor belt which brings trays with all the various sushi) that didn't cost me a fortune, even if unfortunately they do not take my "tickets", so I'm happy. Will have to get back, and tell a couple of friends of mine too.

Oh, Ok, "tickets" you say? Let me explain. Public and semi-public offices in Italy (I do work in one) by contract have to provide lunch to their employees (I think it came about at the moment, no more than 30 years ago, the working hours for public offices got to include the afternoon... I still remember my father coming back home at lunch time when I was a kid). Given that, especially in the city, offices have a hard time having a canteen, the thing is solved by giving the employees what essentially are "food voucher" to spend in the restaurants around the office. It might sound odd, I suppose, but it's handy. End of the 5 minutes of enlightenment on Italian Costumes.

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