Today I went shopping with Marisa, who is very helpful, and yes, I bought more shoes. I won’t need any now for a couple of years, at least. I also got a very nice black jacket that should be helpful for job interviews. All of those items are on the way home courtesy of Mailboxes Etc. I managed to get a discount because Eric does so much shipping and receiving there – that’s how Italy works: it’s all in who you know.
After shoe shopping, we all had an excellent lunch in the town of Alba, known for its truffles and its fall truffle festival. The town was very quiet. We encountered a funeral at the church on our walk around, but little else. Marisa and I went to her old workplace to do some clothes shopping (she sold clothes there for many years, and knows her business, I tell you what!). That’s where I got the jacket, but I was pooped by the time we were done. I am finally shopped out. It was only a matter of time – people here have impressive shopping stamina and Marisa is a pro. We rejoined Eric at “Radio Alba”, the local station, where I met Diego and Paulo. Diego is a discjockey for the station and Paulo manages sales and advertising (I believe).
Diego asked that we come to dinner with him and have pizza at his favorite place the next night, so we did. I took a chance and ordered the “surprise” pizza, which is described on the menu as “you will eat what we bring you”. I was told the “maestro di pizza” was trustworthy, and it was excellent pizza. Note that in Italy, if you get olives on your pizza, they will have pits. Diego and his friends were going to see Toy Story 3 in 3D at their favorite theater over in the town of Dogliani. Eric was interested in seeing the new 3D technology, and I like a Pixar movie, so we tagged along. The movie was dubbed in Italian and had no subtitles, so I could kind of get what was happening, but not really. It was just as well that we had already decided to leave after an hour. As we walked to the car around ten o’clock, we discovered to our amazement that the weather had reached an acme. It was just humid enough to be warm, just breezy enough to be enjoyable and the temperature was what Eric has defined as perfection: 22.25C. It was too good to leave. We decided to walk around town a bit, and find some gelato. There was only one place open, which unfortunately did not serve gelato as fine as what you can get in Bra. But beggars can’t be choosers. All the streetlights were out and before long we read a flyer telling us that tonight was designated by the town to conserve power. Business and landscape lights were on, which really was enough. We talked about our relatives and good times had on summer nights, and laughed all the way home, as one should on such an evening.
Eric loves a good social scene, so the night was not over. He sometimes jokes that he’s campaigning for mayor. We went to the center of Bra where the young people from all the neighboring towns come on Friday nights. There is music and dancing in the streets until 11 PM, all over town, and the bakeries and gelato shops are open late. The people-watching opportunities were excellent, and the only fashion sin seemed to be not trying. We ran into some of Eric’s friends and had a nice conversation for about thirty minutes, and shared their prosecco (champagne). That’s one of the cool things I am learning in Northern Italy: everyone shares. It’s the kind of place where you just want to spring for lunch, or get the tab. If you have something, you share it. If your lunch is good, you give everyone a taste. You take turns with your friends buying meals. If you see someone you know, you stop and say hello properly. Community is important: we’re all in it together.