One of my great pleasures is people-watching in a strange city. Sicilians, particularly, have a wonderfully dramatic flair with their speech. Are they exchanging insults or merely discussing the weather?
I decided against having my morning coffee here. Too close to the road.
How about the little hot food place that’s just below my balcony?
No, they have their chairs right in the road. I don’t share the Sicilian attitude towards cars.
This looks better. Somewhat like a portable classroom just plonked down in a side street and, if any car driver suddenly loses his mind, at least there’s a bit of a buffer between the car bonnet and me.
Refreshed after coffee and cornetto, I tried to find my way in the maze of old Palermo.
This part of the city, the centre, is laid out to a medieval plan which is pretty well no plan at all. Unless it’s to stop the peasantry from assembly.
The lanes here are so narrow that only one person at a time can walk them. If someone is coming from the other direction, you have to flatten against the wall, suck in your belly and sidle past, murmuring apologies. One such experience was quite enough for me.
Besides, the lanes are dirty.
I had a look at Ballarò market.
The Arabs called this city Bal’harm, and they left a distictive mark on Palermo.
Ballarò stands on the same spot today as it did in the tenth century, one of the best-preserved of Sicily’s Arab traditions.
Following their predecessors, migrants from North Africa have returned to the city.
But I found the modern influence in Palermo!
Those blasted golden arches. This is the first time I’ve seen the you-know-what in Sicily but I’d seen advertisements before.
Here’s the real thing in the railway station – Palermo Centrale.
I found another shop just one street away from my appartamento, with some interesting goods for sale.
This is a weapons shop, not guns, but things you can’t buy if you’re under age.
Boomerangs are weapons. Indeed they are. Ask any kangaroo.
Still chuckling from the deadly weapons, I saw a handy shop to know. The Sicilian equivalent of the Two Dollar Shop.
Everything is one euro – about $1.30
Perfect for a tube of toothpaste, some shampoo and an umbrella.
Since I’ve been in Palermo, the skies have opened regularly each evening, drizzling for an hour or so. Not enough to really call rain but enough to justify the brolly.
And, finally, a little pony pulling a carotta.