You know you’re living in Italy when…

A taxi driver asks you if it’s ok to stop & grab a coffee with him & if he’s “your type”… Um awkward!!

You get mugged blind without even noticing!

You get asked out on a date walking out of a tabaccheria (smoke shop)

Cops stop mid way through giving someone a fine to check you out & say “buongiorno signorina”

You can buy a bottle of good wine at the supermarket for €3

Even better, you can buy smokes for €4!! & 24/7 at machines on the street (& you can smoke just about anywhere!!)

Everyone from shop keepers, street vendors, kids, taxi drivers, tour guides, beggars, you name it… strikes up a conversation with you about the state of the world & the global financial crisis “ehhh la crisi” (& by world, I mean italy – clearly the only country to have been impacted!!!)

The marocchini (spruikers / gypsies) are strategic sales marketers – one minute they’re trying to sell you a laser gun, then a bracelet, then a stuffed toy… But as soon as it starts spitting rain, their stock changes to umbrellas… And as soon as 2am hits they’re selling the morning paper “Il Tempo”… Bloody useful actually!!

Summer – as in the actual season – is actually a daily news item. Reports from where Italians are taking their august vacations … To beach reports …. To how holiday traffic is doing!

Simple dinner at a suburban roman restaurant without a menu is one of the best meals you’ve had! (in fact even the mediocre meals here for me are better than average food everywhere else in the world!)

Hydrofoil crew check your ticket / boarding pass & you still end up on the wrong hydrofoil at the wrong destination

Better yet, not one hydrofoil or catamaran in south italy connects with a flight to any major city (example in point, a few weeks back it took me 12 hours to get back to Rome from Lipari (In the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily) inc a 5 hour stopover at Reggio Calabria airport (no JFK let me tell you!)

Speaking of RC airport…. With decor reminiscent of communist Russia… think grey, concrete wall to wall, 1 bar, 1 smoke shop (a must in italy), surprisingly has a phone charging station!!! The irony!!

Public displays of affection between a couple is standard & more often than not excessive! Ahhh l’amore!

You pay for a plastic bag at the supermarket & have to pack your own shopping… But at least you’re greeted by a commessa (cashier) who exhales but then smiles at you & starts telling you how much she can’t stand her job & she’s had the week from hell! I mean.. like I fricking care!!!

I don’t get asked how to spell my surname – ever!!

Nobody flinches at the idea of a complete national strike – transport, etc! This occurred a few weeks back in Rome & things just progressed… A little delayed but seriously any other city would have been brought to it’s knees!! Strike (lo sciopero) is just a way of life here!

Trastevere signing off for now…

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