Well, it was a good idea to try and keep up with my travels but the past week and a half has been balls to the wall activity after activity. I’m exhausted as I write this. It’s been non-stop driving, riding, photographing, eating, photographing, meeting people, photographing them, sleeping a few hours and doing it all over again. This time as I type my entry I am at the Camp Darby Casino room which consists of 40 or so digital slot machines with old people glued to them. The bar/club is closed down at the moment for the Italian/American Festival (on post property). It is loud and obnoxious and noisy but set underneath the biggest, most peaceful looking moon I have ever seen. I’ve been driving around the Tuscany countryside all day long meeting some incredible people and seeing some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. But, of course, I gots to be all chronological and shit…
As I said earlier – I was starting to get very tired of the army base life after only two days and was ready for some adventure. As it was, I just so happened to meet 3 young guys who just graduated highschool and their leader/compadre/friend who was in his 30’s. It was definitely not your average grouping of people but that really didn’t cross my thoughts at the time. Plus, I like meeting new people and they were going to a place I’ve wanted to visit for some time now, so what the hell. I knew I would have a good time from the moment I sat down in the car. Jason, the leader, said some funny phrase (that I can’t recall) containing the word ‘shit’; I was immediately endeared and relaxed – realizing I wasn’t around some stuffy christian dweebs. The graduates all had a distinct personality that made them unique personalities in their own right. (They were Austin the Philosopher, Nathan the Joyful, Merritt the Romantic, Daniel the Intellectual, Jason the Wise Leader (with mickey mouse tattoo) and myself the narrator who observes everything.) Off we went to the town of Spezia, which is the town you must catch a train at in order to get to any of the five cities that make Cinque Terre (which translated means ‘Five Lands’) I also realized that everyone was pretty laidback and not overly-concerned with how we would actually get there. Thus, after some putting around and finding out about train tickets, we were on our way — myself, completely unprepared for the great day ahead.
Although it was a quick train ride, I quickly bonded with the “Lost Boys” over jokes and stories and talks about music, girls, etc. The camp cook, Nathan, joined us in our travels as well since his cousin, Austin, was one of the newly graduated boys. He provided a healthy bounty of laughs to go along with his joyful attitude. As you zoom through the tunnels on the way to Cinque, you begin to catch little glimpses of the Ligurian Sea (Part of the Mediterranean) flashes through little archways cut out of the rock surroundings. And then, when you least expect it, the vast horizon, salty sea air, and bright sunshine captivates every last piece of your retina and proceeds to knock the living daylights out of you… and you find yourself in Cinque Terre.
Our plan was to hit the 5th city first and then leisurely make our way back to the connection town of Spezia, sometime in the evening. And so, the first of the five grounds that we touched was the 5th town of Monterosso. Austin led us through winding streets to a Focacceria for some homemade foccacia pizza. My own pronunciation of this heavenly bread is “Fuck-atcha”, leading one to say, “would you like some fuckatcha?” followed by a “sure and back the fuckatchu.” It was a beautiful thing with anchovies and tomatoes that tasted like pure heaven. We washed that down with some big bottles of beer and wine and sat on the sidewalk, finding out more about each other while watching large ominous clouds roll in. Those clouds then proceeded to soak us as we ran along the streets, intermingled with locals and tourists, to the train station on Monterosso. Here’s when the italian population thought it’d be funny to come up to me as many times as they could and begin to talk to me in italian. It happened at least 3 times in that station. At first I would politely nod and smile while slowly saying “Inglese, English” They would nod and smile as well and flick me off as I turned away from them. After the first few times, my agitation started to rise so I decided that I would play the part and just act like I knew exactly what they were talking about. Then I’d respond back in english but just add ‘ia’ to the end of each english word; for example, Italian Person: “Something Something Something in Italiano that I cannot comprehendo” Kevin: “Ah, gratzie, I-uh donta knowa whatia you are saying butta I amma in lova with your girlfrienda!” Instead of flicking me off, they nod and smile as before and then just question my sanity. Much more pleasing.
In the fourth city, Veranazza, Austin and I jumped into pretty rough seas while the other 4 Lost Boys watched us. I felt alive and crazy and ballsy and prideful as american and japanese tourists took our picture as we jumped off a 20 foot rock into choppy waves. Right before I started signing autographs, an Italian stud climbed up next to us and dove headfirst with the grace of a flippin dolphin. I jumped off feet first again and lost a croc this time only to climb back on the pier unnoticed by a group of american bimbos who had been oohing and ahhing only a few minutes earlier. Then they started to jump in the water and we left so we didn’t have to save them (or probably because they were going to show us up too 🙂 )
And then we skipped to the 2nd city and basically here’s what happened. We climbed out on rocks, shed our clothes for some completely understood reason at the time, jumped naked off the rocks, proceeded to dry ourselves in broad daylight underneath the train station as the tourists gawked at the 6 white naked boys below. One tourist, orange man who was dressed all in orange, stared a little bit to long for comfort and we began to put the trunks back on at this part. After this, we got some more fuckatcha, beer, and gelato and walked around a pier made of pure white slabs of marble. It was literally one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
As I laid on the marble, watching the sun set in cinque terre I had all sorts of life thoughts galloping thru my head. Mostly, I just felt blessed to be able to see the amazing scene that was unfolding in my life. I felt a new happiness sweep over me and peace set in. Then I farted from all that gelato and fuckatcha. And beer too. And that brought me back to reality. But I still stayed another imperceptible amount of time on my own personal marble slab as the sun slowly dipped behind the mountains of the coastline; thinking about the future and all the happiness and sorrow that it may bring. I didn’t dwell on this thought for too long for I wanted to capture the present moment with all possible senses…