martedì, aprile 05, 2016

Back in Aspromonte, and this time more or less in the thick of it as we've decided to stay in Gambarie. Gambarie is a whole other species of depressing from the rest of Calabria. It's as beautiful as anywhere in the world, I daresay, and the fact it isn't crawling with German tourists - I can see them eating this place up with a spoon, with its hiking and history and "off the beaten track" qualities and what have you - is a real testament to the awful, retarded power of local organized crime and corrupt officials to shit their guts out where they live.

We're in a national park, in fact in the area most of the scouts are based, and the town square is still crawling with wild dogs that the restauranteurs keep fed so they won't threaten the few tourists who actually make it here, up the horrifically bad road that was meant to be replaced with a highway about thirty years ago. . . the picnic areas closest to the town are festooned with years of garbage and the maintenance of the paths looks close to nil; they're only still visible because of the number of people who tramp them to score mushrooms in the autumn.

Villas and hotels crumbling not just from neglect but from the seismic qualities of the area; it's as trembly as Japan here, but things are not Japanese quality. One day everything will just collapse again, like it does every hundred years or so. Abandoned houses, I guess held on to in the speculative hope that someday the highway will be built - it's not even halfway up the mountain yet, thirty years on - and that in any case tourists will be able to get to Reggio, which is a massive pain in the ass to fly into from anywhere else in Europe.

There's an airport there, with daily flights to Rome and Milan, but just Alitalia - none of the cheap European charters that are the lifeblood of tourism in Southern Europe now, which means that if I had flown here from a hub like Frankfurt, it would have cost more than a flight to Canada. And considering the awesomeness of the local beaches, the potential tourists attractions and historical sites stretching from the Neolithic to the Baroque, and the number of people from Reggio and this part of Calabria living elsewhere in Europe who come back often, there's no good reason for that lack of service relative to a place like Bari or Lamezia besides somebody not wanting it to happen; my guess is the families who control the ferries to Sicily.

But Gambarie is a little different from my father's hometown and from Reggio not only because it's exquisitely, almost painfully beautiful, with its mountains and old forests and views over the Straits of Messina to Sicily, but also because people are fucking trying here. They are trying to make things really nice. Italian culture being what it is, that doesn't extend to trash pickups or general community efforts - fuck, do I detest this macho insouciance bred into the culture that makes you coolly pretend nothing is a problem until it's suddenly punching you in the face - but people here are doing what they can to build businesses, and restaurants, and to find a way to share their beautiful home.

So I'm enjoying it, in my bitchy way, and enjoying the time with my parents - after three and a half weeks together, I've moved from the joy of reunion through being so frigging annoyed with them in some sort of adolescent throwback to coming to some sort of loving equilbirum again - and enjoying Godzilla, who is enjoying the beaches and the forest playground, and enjoying the rest of my extended family here, although they will never not drive me nuts.

Also I'm pregnant again and happy about it, in a pukey way. After the loss last time I wasn't too sure about sharing here so early (about a month in, I reckon), but then my parents started blabbing to everyone even after I fucking told them not to, which was part of the earlier annoyance I was feeling with them (I might not have even done the test so early if they weren't such frequent tipplers and I wasn't concerned about whether or not I should join in; in the course of a normal week, I might have three beers, and around my family, that consumption tends to increase exponentially just because they're always at it). So no matter what, if things go wrong again there will be no choice except some sort of public-dealing-with-it.

I feel hopeful. I'm incredibly fucking sick, which is much more remniscent of the pregnancy that worked, with Godzilla, than the pregnancy that didn't, which was just sort of generalized discomfort. And I'm also a little encouraged to hope by how fast it happened after we decided to try again, like maybe this kid really wants to be born. But we'll see. I keep reminding myself: I'm not bulletproof, and my love won't make anything bulletproof. The universe isn't making any plans to do things to or for me; I'm a part of the universe and the events of my life are a drop of water in its flow. This new child has its own destiny, like Godzilla and like the one who only lived 11 weeks. I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, I should be so lucky in love. Que sera, sera. Et cetera.