Saturday, August 4, 2018

Guttuso Barche Nella Tempesta, Cars and People: Into a Hail Storm Across the Island, A Journey to Bari

Leaving Amalfi was hard. Our friend Gnaio asked why anyone would go to Bari. 
He looked at us like we were nuts.
You are leaving this for Bari, he asked incredulously.
We’d made friends with several of the amicable guests over the last few days.
But it was time to leave.
I took one more swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Our next swim would be in the Adriatic.
Mom wrote a paper about St Nicolas and wanted to see the Basilica de St Nichola.
There is a ceramic shop I want to see on the way out, noted Caroline.
Drive like an Italian, she cheered me as I began my first 180 degree turn of the drive.
We wound our way along through the next ten k, cars careening toward us on one side, a cliff on the other.
“I’m going to vomit,” the little one declared, without condition.
I turned around to see her face out the window, vomit flying through the air onto the wind shield of the BMW trailing behind us.  
We pulled over at the ceramics store we were looking for and she cleaned up.
The teenager used to vomit at will during our 2005 trip.
“Oh shit,” said the little one. “My god.”
Lightning filled the distance.
Light rain.
A little more rain.
I can’t see.
The car started sliding, hail hitting the car.
And had to pull over to avoid careening off the road.
In Italy, it feels like disasters, eruptions, Tsunamis are always looming,
People writing stories about it, producing culture.
Dreams reminding us of other worlds, underworlds and anxieties.
At a snack stop i caught mom drinking a beer, laughing.
And we made our way to Bari. 
Walking through the historic quarter, woman were selling fresh home made orecchiette.
Men worked on their boats.
People on scooters zoomed about in sandles. 
Anthony Bourdaine quipped that this is a town where you could kill an hour, if you had one to spare. We think it’s got a little more to it.
But dreams are chaos. Violence, separation, every night.
Mom wanted to come here after writing a paper about St Nicolas.
We have to go to the Basilica of Saint Nicholas of Bari, she repeated.
On our way, paying a visit to the Norman Castel on the way.
As local travel agent posted,
Located on the edge of the old city it is a huge focal point on the Bari waterside frontage originally built around 1113 by the Normans. Today the castle is home to the Superintendence for the architectural and landscape heritage for the provinces of Bari.
Inside, we took in the medieval art wondering who were the people who made this structure.
Imagine being one of the archaeologists who first excavated the ruins here.
A final room showed paintings from the 1950’s and early 1960’s.
Looking at Renato Guttuso Barche Nella Tempesta, boats in a storm.
That’s like our car the other day, notes Caroline. 
A magic day, we ran through the old city quarter.
Mom and I looked for the lions outside the Basilica.
I couldn’t believe we actually saw the Basilica, noted Mom over lunch at
Osteria Le Arpie on Vico Arco del Carmine, a dark spot surrounded by old movie posters and perhaps the best food of the trip.
Mom told us about the bones of St Nicholas that the sailors chased down in Turkey, bringing them back here, building a church around them and miracles said to grow out of his life story.
And we spend the afternoon at the beach, reading Sophies Choice, playing in the water, the day passing as the trip enters its final days. The Italians prance about, drinking their expresses in their bikinis, disco music playing, as the kids swim in the Adriatic.

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