Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sienna?....not quite

This morning started with heavy clouds and drizzle. We decided to chance it and drove out toward Siena.

Siena is only about 40 km from here and our decision to take the back roads was rewarded by scenery straight out of a Tuscan painting. The light had begun to come through the clouds and spotted the landscape with bright colors and muted hues of green, yellow and an iridescent chartreuse.
By the time we arrived in the outskirts of Siena, a huge city built inside walls dating from the 1200’s, it was time for Diana’s fix of cappucino. Since it was nearly 2:00 we were getting hungry…noi fame!

We drifted into the town of Castel Nuovo. Immediately, we spotted a little Italian deli and decided to try for lunch. This little “deli” is operated by two beautiful Italian ladies (who speak less English than we do Italian. They told us that they are not a ristorante but they set a table up outside and we began choosing cheeses, prosciutto, a local chianti, salami and confettura picanta di cipolle (an onion “marmalade” for bread and cheese) and a lasagne funghili.

They presented it to our table in a beautiful setting on a bread board. It is almost too pretty to eat…but we managed. (Have you noticed that everything here revolves around food?) We had the bottle of local Chianti poured directly from the cask. Marone! It was so good. Not at all like the Chianti in the States…smooth, light and fruity. We bought a bottle to take home.

We took pictures of the ladies in front of their deli on #10 Strada di Sestano and our suggestion is that no one should miss this! We proceeded from here out of town to find the golden light of Tuscany. This is truly an experience of a lifetime. The light is so special it is easy to understand how the Renaissance began here. The colors, light and perspective are breathtaking.

We stood at the rare turnouts watching the light as the clouds opened and closed to reveal multitudes of varied greens and pastel colors that can only be seen to be understood. It is unfortunate that we do not have Photoshop here to work on some of the photos we have taken but that will have to wait until we get home. As it is, just downloading the hundreds of photos everyday is a job!

We tried to negotiate the walls of Sienna, however the complex narrow streets, crowds of people and lack of parking made us turn our attention back to the beautiful landscape outside of the city. We will try taking the train there on another day for a closer look.

We arrived home around 7:00 (an early day for us) and had homemade ravioli with Bolognese and asparagus.

Now how is that for a day of food supplies? We bought two decks of cards (cost was 12 Euro!) so we can play cards. What we thought was funny is that two decks of cards cost more than two bottles of fine wine. Hmmm. Seeing how card playing here is almost a national pass time as is wine, I am wondering about this disparity.

Italy like Portugal, Greece and Spain is in a major upheaval of financial woes according to the world press, but everywhere we have driven so far there is an amazing amount of restoration going on. Homes are being built, castles and churches being restored and people enjoying shopping. In every town thus far, we cannot find any evidence of this financial difficulty.
My only observation is that the Euro has been a mixed blessing for these countries. The upside is that the Euro is the same everywhere. The downsides (too numerous to mention) is that many people (outside of Germany) are having difficulty living in their own country. Currently, the exchange rate is 1.54 Euro to the American dollar. Gasoline is 1.55 Euro per liter or roughly $10.00 per gallon! I don’t care where you live that is a huge cost.
If we allow the same thing to happen in the U.S., allowing the banks (IMF and the Federal Reserve) to dictate our currency (as they have already done since 1916 in the U.S.) we will be in deeper trouble than we already are.

The Italians don’t complain much, at least not that I can tell with my limited understanding of the local conversations and newspapers. All I can see is that politicians still promise what they have no intention (or ability) of delivering. Life among the common people goes on. I think it is just a matter of time before the banking system goes into full collapse. No amount of so called bailouts will help because, like the medieval times, the serfs will rise up and tell the powers that be that enough is enough and by sheer weight of numbers, the bankers will have to give in. There just isn’t anymore left. I listen to idiots like Timothy Geithner advise the U.S. Congress to raise the debt limit “for our own good.” Whatever happened to monetary prudence? Good Lord. This is advice from a notorious banking failure! When will we learn that you cannot borrow your way out of debt?

Another thing we noted; Farmacias or Pharmacies. While they appear not to be as stocked as American Pharmacies (thank God!), they are well stocked. They do claim to have Omeopathicas although we didn’t see any signs of natural products like vitamins. In fact, we have not seen a vitamin store yet. Not one! What we did find though was huge assortments of fresh food. Hmmm. Italians, and probably Europeans in general, have a higher health rate than we do simply because they do not have the crap in their food that we do and overall do not seem to stress out as we do.

Their dottores (Medical Doctors) are not as ubiquitous as the States and that might be a result of their lifestyles which not only include healthy eating habits but good mental health habits. For instance, as I noted previously, most stores close at 1:00 and reopen at 4:00. Restaurants usually do not open for dinner until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. They do not, as we do, run to a doctor every time they have a little ache or pain or some undiagnosed disease.

I did not see but one psychiatric hospital (in Siena) and few people with mental disorders. If the pharmaceutical companies have their way, Europe will go the way of the U.S. But this will take time. Europeans just do not seem obsessed with drugs as we are. I have not seen one commercial for a new disease or drug here. That is something we could learn if only we could get Congress to repeal this money driven infatuation with the drug companies. I doubt it, but we can hope.

I finish with this statistic; the U.S. represents 1% of the world population. We consume 50% of the world’s pharmaceuticals yet we are listed by the World Health Organization as dead last in overall health! Hello!

O.K. No more pontificating. I am just in one of my moods. I am getting into the swing of writing after 10 days here and look forward to collaborating with Dr. Marzetti. We both have a passion for health. We both see the need to address the huge issue of parasites. Dr. Marzetti has purchased a new addition to her CytoViva ‘scope that will allow her to spectrally identify parasites in live cell blood samples. That is a huge move forward and I only hope we can accomplish a significant advance in the treatment of disease and parasites. Medical science is not at all a science but (at least in the U.S.) a science of how do we get more research money for something we already know? How do we produce more diseases and more drugs? When research stops being $$$ driven and science driven, we will solve the unsolvable and that is true science.

I foresee the day when many diseases (especially mental diseases) can be addressed by treating for parasites. Epilepsy, Parkinson’s, ADD, bi polar disorder and schizophrenia are just a few that have their basis in parasites. I also see the day in which parasitologists will be taken from their basement laboratories and allowed into the light of day where they belong. The day will come when people will simply get it.

Until tomorrow. Buono notte.

1 comment:

  1. No soap boxes while in Italia! (However, I do love your soap boxes and do happen to agree with you.) You aren't seeing BigPharm ads because the US is the only country that has not outlawed BigPharm from direct marketing to the general public. Enjoy it while you are not Stateside!
    Drink more Chianti!! LOVE YOU