- Goodbye Steve
- [Thursday 6th October 2011]
I never thought that I could be so upset by the loss of someone that I have never met.
It's a strange feeling, something that is shared all over the world by lots of individuals, I can almost feel that.
It's a great shame that Steve Jobs had to go so "early" in his life, but wanting to see some positive sides in a very sad loss, at least we can say that we lived to see his work, we lived to see his genius in the making.
Not many people can say that lived in the same period of a worldwide acclaimed genius if you think of it.
- The Siena's Palio
- [Saturday 2nd July 2011]
This was the first time for me to come to Siena to see the Palio, quite strange if you think that this race takes place twice in the year and I live in Florence which is only 40km away from Siena...
Anyways since we are trying to catch back on things that I didn't do before, me Gianfranco, Simone (he's from Siena, our "Cicero" for the day) and Melania.
There is little to say, we met at 4 PM in Colle Val d'Elsa and we drove to Siena with just one car, the city is packed with people on the Palio days, so parking is impossible.
Siena is quite beautiful, they managed to keep it very "medieval", when you enter the centre of town you really step back a few hundred years just by looking at the buildings and streets.
We took a nice tour of the city and then we plunged into a massive queue to enter Piazza del Campo, where the race takes place (calling it queue is wrong, it was more of a throng of people wanting to enter the main square). Apparently Piazza del Campo can hold up to 80.000 people, I think that we were not short of that number on the day.
There was a bit of waiting, as you have to enter at least 1 hour before the race, but there was a nice parade, and Simone told us all about the race, the history and the craziness that people from Siena go through every year for these races.
There are a lot of fistfights the days prior to the race, each horse represents a different area of the city and there are rival "contrade" (quarters) who hate each other a LOT. The main point of the race is making sure that the rival contrada DOES NOT WIN. Nobody cares if you do not win, but if the enemy does it's BAD...
Apparently we were quite lucky because the race started immediately, normally it takes a long time, and the "contrada dell'Oca" (goose) won the race. Here is when the fun begins because the people belonging to the quarter start going around the city partying and of course chanting and waving flags and anything that belongs to the "contrada". It also does happen that they stop at the borders of the rival quarter (they do not enter though) just to rub it in even more... :)
We went to the contrada dell'Oca to see the party, there are people crying, people happy, people totally drunk. We got some free wine on the street and after a while we moved away, after all we do not really belong to that place so we cannot understand how important for this people is to win something like that.
A great day though, I really enjoyed it!
- [Tuesday 21st June 2011]
Well, June most certainly passed in a quick fashion, nothing special to report. Well today there might be glimpse of a start of something potentially huge, but it's really just a probable glimpse, so nothing worth spending millions of words on...
- Business trip to Oceania
- [19/20th May 2011]
And so it's really finished, the longest trip of my life, in terms of flight time, is finished and I am writing sitting quite uncomfortably at 10000 meters above the Northern Coast of Australia on a Thai Airways (mental note to myself: never book Thai Airways Business Class anymore, on this flight it has been quite shite).
the trip is over, as usual it seems yesterday that I landed in Auckland, all jet lagged but curious to see what the fifth continents had to offer.
Well I must say that it was a great experience, especially Australia was a place that I really liked thanks also to the clients that are all a bunch of young people so it was great to hang around with them not just for the business side of things.
What has this trip left me? More experience I guess, more consciousness of what I did in these 36 years and how much it's worth it. I do realize that in order to relate to my country fellow-man I have been playing down a lot the things I did. It's crazy, getting other people that never met before getting surprised at "the amount of things that you did, but how old are you?". Actually it's not crazy, it's actually a very good thing, it has been a long time since I felt like that.
People look at me as a threat sometimes, I can understand it, at least in Italy it's a feeling that I get, abroad it seems that the mind is a little bit more open, although I might be mistaken. In any case I do not care, the trip was great, I feel different and I do not know yet in what, I have seen the 'roos (kangaroos), I have watched AFL matches, I have seen Melbourne and Sydney, the Hunters Valley all great places that I will bring for all my life in my heart.
At the moment only in MY heart, but I am working on the other one to share life and experiences with!
In any case, here are the pictures, they speak better than me rambling around.
- On Australia
- [Sunday 15th May 2011]
So you might wonder how Australia really is.
Well to be honest I couldn't tell you as I know this place very little, but I certainly can give you my opinions.
Australians are rather friendly and laid back people, I like the fact that there seems to be a lot of politeness going around and lots of people smiling, it makes things a lot smoother and nicer even if you are having a bad day.
Melbourne has some "spirit" to it, I like it better than Sydney, although Sydney gets incredible views and panorama. Don't get me wrong also Sydney is great, but Melbourne is the place where I would live.
The guys here say that "Melbourne is the woman you marry, while Sydney is the one you have an affair with", I have to say that it's quite close to how I see these two cities.
Weather in the winter, which is when I visited, is quite crap, but it's winter after all. The fact that gets me is this image that I have of Australia, always sunny and hot. Well that's a total misleading image, certainly it doesn't get terribly cold like in Europe but they get a cold winter here too, I even had to buy a hat!
Food has been great, under that point of view it reminds me of New York, there's a lot of selection, Ozzie wines are great and the several restaurants/bars are really well presented and there are a lot of places with great atmosphere. I'd have to say that the latest bit is more consistent in Melbourne rather than Sydney, but I have only explored the CBD of these two cities.
So far that's all, needless to say that I like it here, it could be a country where I could happily live...
- Leaving New Zealand
- [Tuesday 10th May 2011]
So it is the final day of my stay here in New Zealand, I will post pictures later of course, but all in all it was a very positive trip, both for work and to get a glimpse at how this place is.
I cannot say that I have seen a lot, there is a lot that I was not able to check out, but that's quite normal, after all business takes you to the biggest cities and not in the countryside that apparently is the very jewel here in New Zealand.
The fact that it's Autumn here doesn't help, I found it very hard to adjust to the weather having left Italy that was bordering between Spring and Summer, so I made a point that if I ever come back here it's going to be around October/November so that I can see what this country has to offer when the weather is nice!
Food-wise it's pretty much like England, so nothing special really, but there are a lot of foreign restaurants and the quality of the prime materials is very high so even if I ended up having French, Indian or Italian (yes I had to...) it was rather nice.
All in all a place where I'd like to come back to with a bit more time for myself, but for the first time this is more than sufficient!! :)
Farewell New Zealand, see you soon!
- Greve in Chianti
- [Monday 25th April 2011]
Easter Monday it's a national holiday so today we went with the usual bunch of friends to Greve, a place very well known for it's wine (Chianti was technically born here), but also for the best butcher in the Florence area called Falorni.
The day was really pleasant, we ate a lot of great food, saw bits and pieces of Greve and surrounding areas, and generally had fun being together, blessed by a quite summery day (finally I'd say it has been raining at the weekends constantly!!)...
I even bought a lot of processed meat (salame, prosciutto and so on) which I am going to eat when I come back from Australia and New Zealand...
- Easter in Urbino
- [Sunday 24th April 2011]
There is a tradition in Italy, basically Christmas is a sort of day that you must spend with the family, but Easter you can choose to do whatever you want.
In order not to upset the God of Italian traditions, this year I set off to Urbino, a very nice and small medieval city, together with Fabiana and Francesca.
Fabiana was with me during the Japanese trip last summer, Francesca is a new addition to my circle of acquaintances, and I have to say a very welcomed one!
We set off pretty early as there are more than 2 hours drive to Urbino and eventually got there in the late morning just in time to go grab some lunch in a restaurant that we picked solely upon a recommendation of an old lady that we stopped. Well the food was nice, but not great, still our spirit did not falter and after the mandatory tour of all the attractions of the city we headed back to Florence late in the night.
It was a really good day, went by real quick, as normally good days go by!
Must do again!
- On Houses and Estate Agents
- [Friday 22nd April 2011]
It has been more or less 4 or 5 months that I have started to look seriously for a house to buy.
I think that it's one of those experiences that many other people had during their lives, some people even more than once, so in a way it gives me the chance to comply to the society and be stressed yet about another thing that probably stressed many others.
I started off with a very easygoing approach: "easy peasy lemon squeezy, I am by myself, how hard can it be to find a decent place?"...
Well history says that it is bloody hard, I thought it was going to be much easier to find a nice place to live, I am not looking anything special of course, I am single, and this house doesn't have to be the home of my life.
This is a wrong approach, I have soon learnt, because no matter how shitty a hole you want to buy but you will inevitably look at all details and pros and cons with great care.
After all the money that you are giving is good, whatever the amount is, and the house cannot be really changed like you change a pair of shoes.
So in the end after making and offer for one place (the offer was turned down), I am still on the look.
It's really hard work, getting all the appointments, trying to understand if you saw already THAT house (some agents do not post pictures of the flats), rushing away from work to dive yourself into the real estate market having to reason with people that overvalue their properties, just because there is this is how we are taught...
Yes, since we are kids, our parents told us that "the house always gains in value", it's a "safe investment"... WRONG!
Like any other market it can collapse, but it seems that this part of the Economic theory is not quite grasped by many of my fellow countrymen...
And there are Estate Agents... I am sure that there are a lot of professionals, but the ones that I have met, saving from a few ones, are really CRAP. There are people that don't take appointments because they are on a lunch-break (at 14:30 PM!!), people that "it's too late in the evening to see a house at 18:00", people that don't know what they hell they are talking about. Most of them would try to sell something just by adopting the standard technique that you can find in the preface of any salesman "oh, I shown this house to 10 other people yesterday, must make your choice quickly...".
IF they only knew that I am in sales myself (fortunately my bullshitting is much higher grade than "be quick because I have another client who's interested...").
Rule N.1 when you buy: ONLY listen to the technical talk, to understand if the person is knowledgeable and knows what he/she's on about. All the rest should be considered "white noise".
Anyways, I am getting fed up. I WANT A BLEEDING HOUSE, and cannot find it...
Main reason is that I need to move back closer to Florence, my social life is there, I need to go closer to it. And the countryside place is quite great but also very lonely at times, and I am by myself now, so it's not that great to be there...
Oh well, keep looking, this afternoon 2 more appointments, I am sure I'll find it, the time has come to be a house owner...
- 36th Birthday
- [Saturday 2nd April 2011]
The genensis of birthday goes a long way. First of all this year I made a point to be in Italy for my birthday, as usually I am always travelling and I cannot be with my friends or anyone else to have some sort of party...
Anyway, I have tried to organize some sort of dinner at my place with the Thai specialities that I brought back from Bangkok, but to my dismay I only got a string of refusals for various reasons... I do not know what bell rang in my head but from Thailand I wrote to them that "in case you are planning some surprise party, DON'T do it"... Ok maybe not in these words but the message was that.
Anyways days passed and I woke up today feeling quite uneasy, probably because it seems that I have a cold.
Then around 10ish in the morning there was a great deal of noise and commotion outside my hose and there they were, in 3 seconds they were all in the house for this "surprise" that in a way I had predicted, but to be honest I was expecting something "at night" rather than in the morning...
Well the plan was to go out for a picnic and come back in the afternoon, all went extremely well despite my cold which did turn down a little my mood, and it was a great surprise party.
I even got this little chick as a present, this has a long story behind, so I will not venture in the explanation, but of course it is something that was designed to make fun of me.
These are the days when I realize that I am not alone and that I understand what got me back to Florence 5 years ago. I am lucky to have some friends like them, I guess that they all know that recently things haven't been that great, so that made it much a better day than it would have been anyways.
Shame that some did not manage to come, but there will be other occasions to party, starting from the next weekend!
Thanks everyone who was part of the process even if they couldn't come, I really appreciated!
- Business Trip to Asia
- [March 2011]
Not much to say about this trip to Asia, the whole thing was changed at the last moment after what happened in Japan on the 11th of March, and therefore I could not go there.
Went to Thailand instead, a place that after Japan is my favourite country in Asia.
Nothing much to talk about, did a lot of shopping, went to some interesting markets, met a lot of people as usual.
Business trips are really getting more and more empty for me... I'll let the images speak!
- [Sunday 27th March 2011]
In a week, more or less it's going to be my birthday. This is the first thought that sprang into my mind today, probably because I am away thousands of miles from where the birthday is going to take place and therefore preparations are somewhat difficult to do.
Strangely I feel like I want to have some sort of dinner/drinks related encounter with as many friends as I can call, normally I do not like birthdays, especially my birthdays, but this time it's different.
Do not ask me why, it just is.
In the meantime I am in Bangkok, spent the second day of the weekend wandering around the city, went to the Weekend Market (Chatuchak Market) for some souvenirs and spices shopping, now I am in search of a Jinbei (cotton Kimono) for my culinary nights (the sushi nights) and another outfit for the massage classes that I am taking.
I know what you are all thinking...
No. No prostitutes for me, it's quite a turn down to have to go with the clients, by myself is totally out of question, no matter how much I'd need to get laid...
Still Thailand is a great place, certainly after Japan is my favourite country here in Asia. I love the people, the food, the fact that there are still areas that are not "civilized" fully and you can still see how Thailand used to be... It seems more real than other places that I have visited...
Ok time to get ready for the evening... Tonight I want to try some more Thai food!
- Leaving Hong Kong
- [Friday 25th March 2011]
Early morning here in Hong Kong, about to leave it to go to Thailand. Yesterday was a rather interesting day spent with my agent Lina talking about several things.
We touched the subject of business trips and pleasure trips and all of a sudden I realized that albeit I have been here in HK only four days I am going to miss it already.
As a business traveller I need to feel at "home" even when I am not, as a result, and thanks to my adaptability skills, I get "used" to living in a place rather quickly. But that means that the day you leave the feeling is like if I do not want to!
Good part is that the trip is "almost" over, since I have decided that I will not travel for more than two weeks time goes much faster, which is good...
Oh well, need to finish packing, then it will be "Sawadee crab" for the next 4/5 days!
- Chiu Chow
- [Wednesday 23rd March 2011]
In Hong Kong again for the first business trip of 2011, love this city it's yet another place where I could live, if I didn't want to stay in Florence that is.
Today I have had a rather interesting culinary experience, Mr.Lin, one of our clients took me to a very interesting restaurant. Rather than a "restaurant" I should say "type of cuisine" as this time we went for Chiu Chow dishes and not the traditional Cantonese specialities.
We had the usual various array of courses so it' quite hard to describe them all, but the fish was superb and I especially liked the sauces that accompanied every dish, apparently the last one being a feature of this regional cuisine.
Of course to strengthen the rule that wants a foreigner to fall for very simple mistakes and do very embarrassing things, unlike the past ELEVEN YEARS when asked what I wanted to eat I actually did make a request.
Well it turn out that that dish, that I thought was a sort of "standard" dish in China, it's not that standard for Chiu Chow and they didn't have it. Of course the waiter got all sad because the only dish that I have ordered wasn't on the menu, my client felt quite disappointed at my taste (they are friends so we joked about this issue), and eventually they did make what I wanted especially for me, thus making me feel really ashamed!!
Oh well, a litte spice doesn't ruin the experience, makes it better if anything!
Tomorrow night market and Aqua...
- Q1 2011
- [Wednesday 16th March 2011]
If I was a PLC company I would have to look at the way each quarter is closed and start drawing prospectives for the following periods.
Well, Q1 (Jan-Mar) has been rather disappointing, not to say quite disastrous.
Love life went pear-shaped once more, I think I have wrote far too much before so I will not venture myself in that again, but I still suffer of what happened, that is for sure.
Work has been rather shite, my main client got done for tax evasion (something that I could not really foresee), and now I find myself with 1/3rd of total turnover gone and very little ideas on how to get it back on board.
Still on the work side what happened in Japan comments itself, my second market is on the verge of nuclear catastrophe...
But more importantly than the business side there is the fact that in Japan I have so many friends, some of them are almost like family to me. Needless to say that I am really worried, to see that 20K people have gone missing, lots of people are dead, nuclear plants close to meltdown and shortage of food...
House-wise I have tried to make an offer for a decent property that I found but so far I didn't get any reply, I have worked really hard in these 2 months to see as many places as possible, but I found only one that was half decent to make an offer on... Need to start looking again, but even there I wish I can find one soon, so that I can move onto other aspects of my life that need some serious changing.
Poisitives: Started a Shiatsu massage course, will take 3 years but it's something that I wanted to do, and started collaborating with a friend organising and cooking sushi and other Japanese things for some bars around the Florence area.
I hope Q2 will be an improvement, really badly need it...
- How small
- [Friday 11th March 2011]
How small are my woes compared to what happened today...
Woke up rather early, lots of things to do in this Friday that I took off work. Normally by 8.30 AM I have already checked all internet newspapers, read all mails and so on, but not today.
It was the new chains of slavery (read: Blackberry), that my company kindly decided to give me, that completely changed my day.
I got a mail from Marta, asking me if I was in Japan...
Kind of strange thing to ask, at 8.00 in the morning...
Replied that I wasn't in Japan, but I asked her why she wanted to know.
The reply is what you can imagine, "have you seen what happened!?"
Now I was about to get out to go and see the doctor, already late, switched on the computer and saw the disaster that struck my beloved Japan...
Of course my mind rushed to Kutsunugi san, my agents at the present company, my friends and host family.
It was kind of strange to get for the two following hours the "busy tone" on each and every mobile phone in Japan that I have tried to call...
Then finally people started to reply to my calls, and everyone seems to be fine, but I really swear that for a good couple of hours I was considering hopping on a plane and go there...
In the end the cataclysm that hit Japan will eventually be solved (I hope), and now that I am back home all my woes seem so small compared to the thousands of victims that died in the tsunami and earthquake.
Fortunately Japan is a very organized country, if something like that happened in Pizzaland I think that the victims would be not less than millions...
Oh well, let's hope that things do not get worse,
- Past tense
- [Sunday 6th March 2011]
Past coming back...
They say that things in life never happen by "chance", there is always a meaning when something out of the ordinary crosses your way.
I personally do not tend to give everything a meaning, it's very time consuming to start rambling on the whys and whats of an event that you find yourself living.
Having said that, after almost 20 years I managed to get in touch with a family member of Claire's family, Martin her brother.
I have tried to look for them in these years, every now and then, without really putting too much effort to it. I do not know why but I wanted to know what were they doing, what life brought to them.
After all Claire was rather important for me, it would be stupid to deny that.
Interesting that the contact happened the very same day the relationship that I was having (and that felt quite similar to the one I had 18 years ago) ended...
Then yesterday Alice Lee, my friend from the Japanese course in Reading got in touch with me, here we are 11 years ago, but still it was great to see that she's doing well and now has two kids! Wow...
Past coming back to say hello to me?
Life goes on in a very tired way, I long to start my Shiatsu Massage course, strangely (or maybe not so strangely) I long to go to Asia at the end of the month...
The business trips takes a lot of things away, it's like mopping the floor. You clean it and then after it's finished little by little some dirt comes back, but it's less than before.
When I left Chiara the huge business trip that I did to Asia was really a good way to start again, to turn page.
This time I hope that I can do the same, I really need it.
Why do I feel bad? Well couldn't tell you really.. I gave all the best to the relationship that recently ended, probably I feel bad because once more I realize that when you give yourself totally to the wrong person the one that suffers is the one that gives...
Will I ever learn? Well frankly speaking, I do not want to learn.
What is the point of loving, or trying to love someone, if you always play defensively? Maybe I have to know my partners a little bit better, maybe I have to look at signs of "discordance" with different eyes, not the one of the boyfriend in love...
And yet past comes back to say hi, is there a meaning to all of it?!
Probably yes... and I know the answer, I know what he came to tell me...
- Questions and the way ahead
- [Tuesday 1st March 2011]
Yesterday I have spent a very good evening with a friend, a person that I have met not so long ago, but with whom I have a very good "gut feeling".
Topic of the evening were of course the recent events, also because she happens to know the cause of all my pains and doubts. To be fair "pains" are now subsiding towards "doubts", hurting less but lasting longer in my mind...
Apparently the image I give now, according to my friend, is much calmer, more in touch with what I want to do, less indecisive (as I probably was during the relationship). In a way this made me feel happier, as it means that maybe something is moving under the ashes.
She told me that "it was good to see that into difficulties I managed not to betray myself"...
Maybe I did not betray myself, maybe I tried to be someone that I cannot be for a long time, maybe I did a lot of things...
Doubts... And what if maybe I should betray my ideals instead? I have always been quite strict, very focused on what I want. Where did it get me? Do I have what I really want?
The answer is no.
On the other side I keep the "dream" on, I still want to believe that I can find that someone that will add that something to my life that I cannot add just by myself.
So I guess I arrived to be almost 36 years old and never strayed away from this path, the road might be terribly long still, or maybe very short, but I think that I should keep walking it...
Still it's a period where nothing seems right anymore, where reconsidering a lot of aspects of my life seems to be the only thing that I can do...
The bad spell is not quite over yet, and sometimes I still miss her...
- Better Now...
- [Friday 25th February 2011]
Better now, confusion is slowly fading away, lots of help from friends and family, managed to put thing into prospective, and in the end, for as hard as it might have been, it was the right choice to put an end to a relationship that was killing me from the inside.
Oh well, live and learn again? I am getting pretty tired of all these trials, there must be a point where I can be a bit more "relaxed" with certain aspects of my life...
Now I have to start all over again, but I am quite surprised to see how many resources I am digging out to change the way things were for me until some time ago.
Need to sort my life from start, I realize that since I left Chiara in May I really did not have time to do anything for me, and that is one of the main reasons of my present sufferings...
Chin up, we move on...
- [Sunday 20th February 2011]
Life has put me again against a lot of difficult signs, choices and events. Can't comprehend them, can't categorize them, can't make sense of them...
But maybe it's time I stop to try to find a meaning to everything, maybe it's time I start living life in a different way.
Yet all I do is cry.
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round