Today I am writing from the shores of the Mediterranean sea. That's right, I'm at the beach and I can officially announce the start of the Summer season. It has been a pretty chilly year so far and it has left the locals slightly confused. Normally, by the time July rolls around, everyone here is sporting a nice shade of molasses on their skin. But this year, it just hasn't been hot up until the last couple days. And even now it's thankfully not as hot as it usually is. Although this chilling affect made my winter a total nightmare, I am now loving it. We are half-way through summer and we haven't been awakened at five in the morning gasping for air and covered in a layer of sweat. We still get awakened at five, but it's from the neighbor's relentless rooster! But my husband, Leo and I have been plotting it's demise...stay tuned for that one.
Anyway, back to the beach. Leo and I like to come to this fairly remote spot just outside the city. It's nice and calm and the shore has a long shelf, knee deep for at least 50 feet. It is also a little more wild and natural than the other beaches and the only trash is what the sea spits out. The other beaches in the city are always packed with people, cars, noise and trash. Trash is a hugely terrible problem here. Well, I think it's hugely terrible. Others don't seem to mind going to a beach filled with plastic bottles, broken shards of glass, plastic bags and mounds of cigarette butts. Sure, they notice and they complain about it, but they are also the ones making the trash. It's yet another Sicilian dichotomy.
When people here go to the beach, they set up shop for the whole day, bringing picnic tables and chairs, big umbrellas and tons of food. The beach staple is pasta al forno, or baked pasta, in a huge pan to feed twice as many people as they have. Then there are secondary dishes like shrimp, salad, watermelon and then all the chips and sweets for the kids. Can you imagine how much trash that generates? They bring everything but the kitchen sink and it's a wonder how they fit it all. Sometimes when we see people unloading their car, we wonder if they'll start pulling couches and TVs out of their little sub-compact cars!
The two of us, however, prefer simplicity. A quiet spot, a couple of sarongs, a little cooler bag with some water and a good book (or journal in this case). When we first came to the beach together, years ago, we would take long walks with a garbage bag and clean up as much trash as we could. But now, we don't have to deal with it--we have to drive 25 minutes to get here, but it's so worth it.
Today is a fantastic day--a bright hot sun, a constant cool breeze and the sound of the sea gently lapping on the shore.