Today I went from grumpy to elated. I'm really struggling with jetlag and that is making everything more difficult than it would be otherwise. When i compare this trip to last year, it's been a breeze. I haven't even had to break out a map. Arcadia has taken care of everything. This morning they sent a driver to pick me up from the Hotel in Rome and take me to the airport. He wouldn't even accept a tip - gave me a rather fatherly pat on the shoulder when I tried to slip him a few euros. Then when i arrived in catania, there was a sign with my name on it! I felt very important. Once again, i was swept off in a black Mercedes, nothing to worry about.
Arriving to ortigia was like stepping into a fairytale. My hotel is right by the water - I can hear the waves now - and there is a beautiful soft breeze blowing all across the island. No rain or horns or heavy traffic. It's magical.
There's also a laid back pace here that I am enjoying. My schedule has been fairly loose. As soon as I got in today I had lunch with Lucia, the director, and suzie, an art history professor from Scotland. Yet another huge and delicious plate of pasta, downed by yours truly. The conversation was fascinating. I learned a lot about contemporary Sicily and yet we also talked a lot about human universals - those traits and characteristics that seem to be common to people at all times and across cultures.
After lunch lucia discussed the courses with me, and I had a terrible struggle to stay awake. Not at all because I was bored, but the combination of the huge meal and jet lag hit me like a Mack truck. I'm hopping she didn't notice how many times my eyes closed. My notes are indecipherable. Then, blessedly, I was allowed some free time before dinner so after catching up on email i went back to the hotel and took a nap. At 8pm, Franca came by and we had a wonderful seafood meal right by the water. A stray cat came by begging for food and after Franca gave him a scrap I felt i had full license to continue to feed him. We walked for a while after dinner and i noticed several other cats running around.
This city is beautiful, the people are warm, friendly, and interesting, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I just hope i can sleep tonight so I can fully appreciate it!!