Saturday, May 7, 2011

Round-a-bout Bologna

Bologna is much like most large Italian cities…..busy with little parking. It took us several more hours than we planned to get here (Incidenti on the A1...of course).

Believe it or not, everything and everybody is moving in this photograph and everybody seems to understand where the other is going.... traffic is very frenetic at the least!

We found our hotel, the Atlantic, on one of the many side streets in Bologna. Parking is a huge problem and at the hotel we had to purchase a ticket for parking (within the blue areas). We did manage to find one right in front of the hotel. (The Fiat is staying there until we check out!) We dare not move.

Carla’s lab is an amazing bustle of people. She does live cell of course, but also allergies. We have had an amazing three days so far discussing our individual approaches to health.
We have had lunch and dinners at several wonderful little trattorias.

Last night we had dinner at the oldest trattoria in Bologna. We finished dinner off with a gelato and walked through a shopping mall filled with Gucci, Vuitton, Fermi, etc. (A purse here averages 1200 Euro! Yikes.) We had dinner with Carla’s accountant who confirmed that Italy is in financial trouble since the Euro. Tax rates here are over 60%. Add to that the bureaucracy of permits, licensing and a plethora of other charges, it is no wonder this country is in trouble.

Another problem seems to be the decrease in tourism dollars and the Euro problems as well as outsourcing with which no Italian can compete. A car that costs about $20,000 in the States is over $35,000 here! We may have problems in the U.S., but it is nothing compared to Italy.

The city is a maze of porticos and churches. We climbed one cathedral of 999 steps only to find it closed. Whew! The view overlooking the city will take your breath away. Trust me, after 999 steps, you have no breath! The difficulty taking photos here is that you have to drive to so many places due to the sheer size of Bologna and we are not driving and losing our parking place!

Today is a general strike in Italy preceding upcoming elections so all public services are shut down. We are going into the streets to shoot. We are having dinner again with Carla after working in her lab today. We’ll report later.

Today, we met with several of Carla’s staff and doctors. One gentleman in particular, a doctor of urology Dr. Daniele Grassi, was a particular joy to meet. It is always a breath of fresh air to meet an M.D. who truly cares about his patients and does not refuse to believe what is front of him. In many ways, Daniele reminds me of my good friend, Dr. McClelland, in San Diego in that he actually thinks out of the box. It is so refreshing to have a conversation with open minded and intellectually hungry medical doctors.

We spent many hours sharing information on our independent research and worked out a brief outline of our proposed joint book re: parasites and their importance in chronic illnesses. This is going to be fun…and important. We plan on writing two versions; one for the lay person and one for doctors.

Carla gave us a card for her write in as a candidate for office in Italy. We began calling her Il Duce Marzetti. She thinks she may get 10 votes. Too funny. But, given Italy’s low usage of the internet per person, (they are a good 10 years behind us) the individual power exerted by the information explosion will eventually be found and Italy will (in my opinion) take a huge leap forward in their political issues.

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