The mafia does exist

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Italy  ,
Friday, October 21, 2005

I was going to label this entry: Naples, what a hole! but I thought I should be a bit more positive than that! The word I think best describes the city is GRITTY. Otherwise known as dirty, graffiti everywhere, garbage everywhere, insane drivers, loud, and crime-filled. There is still a very active mafia, which was pretty mind-boggling for me! I stayed in only my second hostel so far on this trip, and it was very hard sue to lack of overt signage. When I questioned one of the staff on why they don't have a bigger sign, I was nonchalantly told it was mafia avoidance. Big sign draws attraction to a business operating there, and then the mafia will "tax" your income. Crazy!

On a positive note are the people. They are loud as well, but expressive, passionate, affectionate. Even the men kiss each other in greeting, and link arms while walking down the street. David (a guy I met at the hostel) and I both found it very disconcerting though to be walking down the street and have "gunshots" going off around you! In reality it was kids setting off caps or something to that effect, but they were seriously as loud as gunshots. David made the brilliant suggestion that maybe it was a mafia cover-up, they pay the kids to set off the caps as a diversion while they shoot people! Not quite what goes on, but it sure gets your mind running!

I have to say that it is the first place I have been to where I was on-guard for my safety, and never completely relaxed except in the hostel. I am glad I went though, it has a lot of character as TP would say, and originally I hadn't planned on stopping at all. The second night a bunch of us ended up staying in and making dinner, and two of the guys played guitar and trumpet of all things (with a thing that quiets it) and just jammed for part of the evening. It was great! People were singing, drinking wine, telling stories, great fun. Oh, and the wine is ridiculously cheap here! I think I will be forced to give up drinking water as it is too expensive.

And the pizza, of course is to die for. Naples apparently "invented" Margherita pizza, there is some dispute over this fact. Either way, the stuff they are serving is excellent! And don't get me started on the gelato. I think I will have dreams about it!! How can you not love a country whose staples are pizza, pasta and gelato? I walk a million miles a day already, but at this rate I will have to double to burn off all the carbs!
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