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Glimpses of Sicily and Calabria
Since i am in a boring, businessman's hotel in what appears to be the biggest tourist trap of Italy since Venice, i decided to upload pictures.

Here is a picture of the back-alley in Palermo where a bunch of local kids tried to intimidate me by throwing bottles and bits of smashed up CRT television.

I won't bore you with my pictures of the Valle dei Templi, though i posted a few on Facebook. Just google it. It is really stunning. Instead i will post another vain attempt i made at capturing the richness of the wildflowers as seen from the bus on the way back. I am so lucky to be here with so much color around.

And now on to Calabria. Here's what a beach club looks like in the low season:

Walking along the coast i liked the art on this abandoned kiosk, also in Reggio.

Over in Crotone, the last rays of sun hitting this faded graffiti caught my eye.

There was also some Communist party graffiti to add to the beautiful bleakness of the view.

I really liked Crotone. I had a great coffee and picked up some crusty brown bread this morning. The shopkeepers were rather bemused i was frequenting their establishments in the blue collar area on the way to the train station instead of going to the marina like tourists are supposed to. I was just happy to hang out with some easy-going people wearing simple clothes just like me. Everyone was up for a chat, and very patient with my ten-day-old knowledge of Italian.

Did i mention i saw a traveling puppet show last night? I saw a traveling puppet show. I didn't want to charge in and get pictures because i didn't want to ruin all the kids' fun, but you can get the idea over here: http://www.ferraiolo.it/ Crotone was such a nice break.

Now let's see what Basilicata has in store.

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I've never been south of Rome in Italy ... which is weird, because it really does seem much more interesting than the north.

I'm enjoying this vicarious trip a lot, though.

I'm not sure if it's more interesting, objectively speaking, though it definitely is more interesting to me. I think the north has a lot more in common with northern Europe, which is where i grew up and lived most recently, so perhaps i was less wowed by some of the cultural and historic sights there.

It seems like the Italian south is similar to the American south in that they are blighted by poverty and feel a bit ignored by the northern elites. Despite having several unique cultures in the region, the "southernness" seems to be a uniting factor. But i haven't visited the American south yet, so i am not sure how deep that comparison goes.

I imagine that might be a probably a really good comparison, though of course the southern US also has the racial issues derived from the heritage of slavery. I'd guess that the overall political attitude in the US south is substantially farther right than in southern Italy.

Back when I was traveling more, I quickly discovered that a lot of the "standard" cultural tourist destinations were a little underwhelming to me, and I preferred just aimlessly wandering around random landscapes, so the relative absence of cliché tourist sights actually sort of appeals to me ...

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