Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Nessun dorma

It's currently 1:45am. This will likely not be posted until I can get to the room with the CAT5 cable. Maybe check my email.
Sushi in Italy? Si, signore!
The plan is to get up early in the morning and hike (part of) the Cinque Terre.

The trouble is, I'm still sleep deprived, dead tired, and sloshed on a melange of Ligurian white wine, northern Italian Gewurztraminer, and Japanese beer. All at the hands of my cousin, who beyond being a kick-ass sushi chef apparently makes the best Genovese pesto and trofie around. Needless to say, I'm stuffed.Yet I'm a bit restless. After sunset aperitivi overlooking the Ligurian coast, the most amazing salmon sushi I've had in forever (the finest salmon in Paris pales in comparison, even though it's all from Norway – must be magic fairy dust), and bonding with new family members, the first day of this holiday has set the bar pretty high. Tonight's sushi exemplifies what we ideally want from our experiences: Simplicity of purpose, clarity of expression, and the need to say "wow."

Cinque Terre better be as cool as advertised. The leaning tower of Pisa better have some gangsta lean. And Florence, well, I better to go into an actual food coma there. Or I'm just going to come back here and eat sushi.

Besides sushi, my cousin
serves up cute baby.
All posturing aside, I could pack up and go home tonight and not be disappointed. Despite the impossible roads, dearth of internet, and some of the most horrendous fashion sense this side of the Ch√Ętelet-Les Halles train station, the Portofino area is without a doubt somewhere I could come back to over and over, even if just for one night. The Mediterranean gently lapping at the rocky shore... The colorful sailboats and even more colorful beach huts... The walls of star jasmine and various other flora allowed to grow wild... The friendly locals who won't hesitate to introduce themselves. (I must've said "Ciao!" at least 96,000 times tonight.) If anything, for a cranky city boy like me it's all very humbling and, as I sit up in bed meditating on plans for tomorrow, a little bit zen.

Santa Margherita di Ligure
I have a tendency not to relax nor – as you can see – unplug on vacation. If it were up to me, I'd probably be cliff diving or free climbing at every opportunity. Luckily I'm surrounded by people who are ensuring I simply go with the flow.

Hmm, isn't one of the villages of Cinque Terre perched on a cliff?

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