Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Changes





People who know me for years probably won't believe what I'm about to write here. They know I'm prideful, vicious, selfish, inflexible and very - very - stubborn. I don't help a blind person cross the street unless I get something in return. If I'm unsatisfied I take it out in the world, blaming friends, family, cats, dogs and squirrels for my misfortunes then I just sit down and cry my eyes out and get depressed for weeks without really finding a practical way out.

I was like that the whole year of 2005 and the first few months of 2006, but then suddenly I decided it was time for a change. I've done many things and I'm going to write about all of them.

To start I'm getting back to 2005, I read my diary to make sure I was really that dumb and remember exactly what my worries were. First, I just studied and worked in college during the night (in the end that 'job' was proved useless, but that's another story.) and I was always complaining how tired I was and how much I hated to go home late and have to share the computer with my sister (who is as selfish as I am).

I worked a lot for my grades that year and that was the only thing that really gave me satisfaction. I went to college, had classes and quickly returned home before my sister got the computer first. Most times that rush meant refusing several invites for a cool lunch somewhere or even a few minutes to spare a chat with my classmates. Because of that I don't know half of them as well as I was supposed to. Anyway, after getting home and spending my time in the computer I'd sit down on my bed and read all texts and books I had, either for a class or for fun.

Of course that routine tired me down a lot. I was always stressed, quarreling with my sister and yearning for something different to happen. Anything. My hopes for changes were higher in the weekends, but since I haven't established a true strong friendship for years I found myself without a friend to go out with, which meant I had to go with my mother and my sister, which made me furious, obviously.

Then I had this great idea: if my sister bothers me that much, I can always stop talking to her. And so it has been to this day. I felt relieved, but not completely because I still had to share the computer with her, so we quarreled without words, shooting hate glances to each other.

Other than that emotional side, I realized I was getting really fat. Nothing too dangerous, but it was enough for me to want to hide even more under baggy skirts and loose jeans. I did hate looking in the mirrors. Maybe I was a little overweighed for my size, but even if it was a self-image distortion it bothered me a lot. So I got rid of my bikinis and small skirts and low cut shirts and was sure I was never going to wear those again because... 'that's not me, I wasn't born to a top model so to the hell with all of it.' I really wanted to be happy the way I was, without caring about something as superficial as appearance.

That was when I last posted here before starting the trip journal, all depressed.

Then in 2006 I had enough of it. It wasn't a sudden change of mind, I just fell ill with depression. Really. I spent ten days locked in my room, crying and only going out to grab some food, not making eye contact with anybody and finally my dad decided to do something about it and took me to a psychiatrist.

I think I took one of those weird medicines for about a month, but it only made me feel nauseous and then I decided that my problems weren't the medical type so I started going to a therapist. That didn't help much at first, but eventually I've noticed some good changes and the sessions were really light so I didn't have trouble enjoying being there and having those awkward chats.

Let's just say that through the sessions I've told the therapist all my depression problems and mood swings and how much my family disturbed me (my stupid sister!!!) and how much I hated it when my parents accepted my widow grandmother living with us. The fact that my grandma lives here still bothers me; she's really an outsider here and her mere presence annoys me because it feels like my privacy was endangered becoming even harder to get. After all, my grandmother is a nosy woman! She spies through the window and tell my parents which time I leave and when I return home! How can I look for a change in my routine if everything is daily reported?

Anyway, I didn't solve my problems with the therapy, my grandma still lives here, I still don't talk to my sister (I'll return to this subject later) and I still sort of live in a routine, but I've become a little more tolerant towards the situations that oppress me. Instead of shutting myself in my room and wait for the others to go away, I shut the others outside the house. Somehow I stopped being bothered by every small detail.

To solve my problems with the rush of going home and to stop my daily fights with my sister, my mother gave me a computer and it was installed inside my room, with a printer, scanner and everything I'd need, so I didn't have to share it with my sister anymore. With that, I could stop talking and looking at her at all. It's been years since we shared a word other than accidentally answering the phone.

When I started ignoring her my mood swings and irritation became much better! I'm more cheerful and carefree now. It's amazing to realize how much she bothers me. When I started ignoring her everything just got better. I'm not even in a rush to go home and protect my territory.

The routine inside my house became bearable enough, but I still had to do something about my self-image; I found out I couldn't look in a mirror without breaking down in tears, thinking I was ugly, unsexy and fat. That was the hardest block to overcome. I really hated my looks, my hair was wild and there wasn't any clothes that fit me perfectly.

I was tired of complaining, thinking that it was something I had to accept and not just change. Well, it's a little expensive to change the appearance, but... why not try to change at least? Three months ago I decided: I'm going to lose weight. I had never started a serious diet before, but this time I faced it.

I already lost twenty pounds! I confess it's a little hard. I suffered a lot of abstinence in the first weeks. I became restless, walked around the house and had this huge urge to open the fridge in between meals. A couple of weeks later I got used to the diet and completely changed my habits for good. I spent weeks without a piece of chocolate at first, but now I can eat those, as long as I burn the fats fast.

Loosing weight was good, but not quick enough. I bought a treadmill and another gym equipment for the abs. I'm running every day for an hour and it made me feel a whole lot better to have something else to add to my routine.

Then, another change: I started taking birth control pills to regulate my circle and my skin suddenly got cleaner. I haven't had a pimple in months! Those really bothered me, but I had gone so many treatments and none of them worked that I had given up... and magically I was cured.

Since I felt like I could show off a bit more skin... I've done something I've always wanted, but was to coward to do... I gathered all my courage and got a tattoo! A butterfly, on my back. When I was getting it done I found out needles don't hurt that much and my needle phobia vanished. Maybe I just found out I'm a little masochist, but the pain I felt to get the tattoo was a little enjoyable.

My hair was the next step, I got it straight and had it cut in a stylist way. I'm in love with my hair now. I'm wearing it loose while before I just wore it in a ponytail.

Thinner, with a good hair and flawless skin, I went to the shopping mall and crazily bought everything that looked good on me. And guess what? Everything fit perfectly! I was a little reluctant to buy a bikini for a small trip to the beach, but when I tried it on I found out it didn't look as horrible as I thought it would.

I admit I got a little carried away with my last visits to the mall. I bought perfumes, lotions, dresses, skirts, shirts, purses and HIGH HEELS! I learned how to walk in those! I also took my chance to change panties to thongs, even if my mom gave me a weird look when she saw them.

My mom is enjoying this new side of me a lot, it even got us a little closer. I even gathered my courage and invited my friends over for my birthday. That's something my mom wanted to do since I entered college, but I never did because I live far away from everybody else and I didn't want to be disappointed if they didn't come. But they did and my parents were really happy about it.

I should have realized it before. I always liked those futile things, I always liked to dress up and feel pretty, but I didn't see that until very recently. I do think worrying only about the appearance is a ridiculous and brainless attitude, but being a nerd doesn't exactly mean being careless towards the body. Brain and appearance don't have to be rivals, at least not in me. I can carry both my intellectual and my girly side just fine like I'm doing now. This way I don't feel like a pretty empty shell.

So, after all, I came to the conclution that I was bitter about my looks and tried to deny it. Since I have a huge pride with my decisions and theories it was a little hard to notice and fix it. For the moment I'm very content to feel beautiful for the first time since I left childhood. There was one of the things missing all this time.

Along with feeling good about myself I started going out more often. If my friends are busy I just take my car and go to the movies by myself, but of course this year I've been going out more than ever. I have at least one party invite each two weeks, which is very busy if considered I've only had two nights out before last January.

I'm feeling good, people actually look at me! It's a satisfaction I never had before. I found out I enjoy the attention other than being offended by it.

This social side made me add the practical side with my theories. I have this feminist and liberalism philosophy. I think girls should go out and do whatever they want, without depending on parents, boyfriends or any kind of male chaperone. I didn't go out before so I just had the idea of how it worked on my mind, but now I see how it is for real... and I feel that my philosophies are entirely right. To my liberalism side I confess I had to go a little further and try booze and drugs. People should try everything and decide later if that's what they want or not. You have to know how it is like before making a decision. I saw it and made my decision already.
My career upgraded a little too. I graduated in college. Now I'm a filmmaker! I'm directing my first short animation film, but I worked also as Art Director and Production Assistant in another two films this year, which adds three movies in a year time.

I had a cultural progress too. I've always wanted to go to a Cirque du Soleil presentation and I finally could this year. I went on the top VIP, Taps Rouge. That was fantastic. The best experience I had in a long time.

I confess I didn't read much this year. A total of eight books while last year I read fifty. I went for three trips, though (I'm going to the third a few days) and met new people there. I also wrote a lot of stories and started an animation course, which is brilliant!!! My Italian course is ending as well, I'm in the conversation level now.

To make it simpler I'll make a list of what I've done:

- 9 fanfics
- 2 scripts
- 1 tale
- 1 poetry
- 12 illustrations
- Got in the Animation Course
- Getting along with my parents
- Directed a short film
- Art Directed another short film
- Helped with the production of another short film
- Read eight books
- Got closer to my friends
- Started therapy
- Lost 20 pounds
- Started exercising
- Started going out
- Got a computer
- Got a tattoo
- Grew over my fear of needles.
- Cirque du Soleil
- Birthday Party
- Learned how to wear makeup
- Went to Monte Sião
- Went to Paraibuna
- Went to Gramado
- Went to Florianópolis
- Clean skin
- 5 family reunions.
- Started drinking socially.
- Watched 75 movies
- Kissed a lot!

If compared to 2005:

- Went to Italy
- Read 50 books
- Wrote 3 fanfics
- Wrote 2 Scripts
- 1 night out.
- 3 family reunions.
- Bee Gees Show

Yep, I've improved a lot...

Anyway, to finish my update with another list I'll write down here my New Year resolution:

- Fix my teeth.
- Finish my book
- Start another book
- Write 3 scripts.
- Start working.
- Either start another college or get my Master of Fine Arts degree.
- Read more than 20 books.
- Send my film to Movie Festivals.
- Subscribe my script for Cultural Sponsorship.


Merry Christmas everyone and have a great New Year!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tests and Quizzes

I've spent a year without writting a single thing about myself in this blog. I really didn't want to because 2006 was a year of transformation to me. It was a great turn and I intend on making a post explaining exactly what happened and how it happened.

But for now, as an introduction to my next huge post, I'm going to let the futile and useless tests and quizzes I've taken along the year to talk for themselves.

This blog needed a little of unintelligent fun.








What Civilization fits You?



Rome,most powerful of ancient empires took over most of the eastern known world(europe), but how I hate them they were lusty,greedy, glutoness, and Prideful.
Take this quiz!








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Vivian, when it comes to love or money, you're a Gold Digger

How do I love thee, let me read the pre-nup. You've got dollar signs in your eyes, your checkbook's all aflutter, and your net worth is beginning to rise ? ahhh, to be a Gold Digger in love.
Seduce, spend, and split, that's your motto because, let's face it, old-fashioned love doesn't pay. Or at least cover the expenses you can rack up. The only person worth hanging on to is a good divorce lawyer. People change, relationships go bad, but the love of money never gets old. So if someone wants to drop a few hundred dollars on dinner for two, sure, you might show up. If they want to buy you a new car, house, and pool, all the better. But you really know you've found a special someone once they utter those three simple words you love so much: "transfer of funds."





DisorderRating
Paranoid Personality Disorder:High
Schizoid Personality Disorder:Moderate
Schizotypal Personality Disorder:Moderate
Antisocial Personality Disorder:Moderate
Borderline Personality Disorder:Low
Histrionic Personality Disorder:Moderate
Narcissistic Personality Disorder:Moderate
Avoidant Personality Disorder:High
Dependent Personality Disorder:Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:Moderate

-- Take the Personality Disorder Test --
-- Personality Disorder Info --









Your French Name is:

Felicite Dumas




Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"Nice doggy."




You Are Impressionism

You think the world is quite beautiful, especially if you look at it in new and interesting ways.
You tend to focus on color and movement in art.
For you, seeing the big picture is much more important than recording every little detail.
You can find inspiration anywhere... especially from nature.




Your 1996 Theme Song Is: Ironic by Alanis Morisette

It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
Who would've thought ... it figures




You Have OK Karma

You try to be a good person... well, sometimes you try!
While you are caring deep down, you don't always show it.
You're very focused on yourself, and others come second (if not third).
Which is fine, but don't expect others to focus on you.




You Are Best Described By...

Farbstudie Quadrate
By Wassily Kandinsky




You May Be a Bit Schizotypal...

A bit odd and socially isolated.
You couldn't care less of what others think.
And some of your beliefs are a little weird.
Like that time you thought you were Jesus.




You Are 96% Cynical

You're cynicism borders on paranoia.
Worry less. You're out to get the world as much as it's out to get you.




You Have A Type A- Personality

You are one of the most balanced people around
Motivated and focused, you are good at getting what you want
You rule at success, but success doesn't rule you.

When it's playtime, you really know how to kick back
Whether it's hanging out with friends or doing something you love!
You live life to the fullest - encorporating the best of both worlds




You Should Be a Painter

You have the vision, patience, and skill to bring your unique visions to canvas.
And you're even tempered enough not to cut your ear off in the process!




Your Five Factor Personality Profile

Extroversion:

You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.

Conscientiousness:

You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.

Agreeableness:

You have low agreeableness.
Your self interest comes first, and others come later, if at all.
In general, you feel that people are not to be trusted.
And you're skeptical that anyone else really feels differently.

Neuroticism:

You have high neuroticism.
It's easy for you to feel shaken, worried, or depressed.
You often worry, and your worries prevent you from living life fully.
You tend to be emotionally reactive and moody. Your either flying very high or feeling very low.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.




You're a Wild Drunk

You can get enough drink. Seriously, you'll just go puke and start pounding them back again!




You've Changed 64% in 10 Years

Compared to who you were ten years ago, you've changed a great deal.
In fact, you're probably in a completely different phase of your life - and very happy about it!




You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!




You Are a Liberal Lady

Like Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore, you don't shy away from your liberal causes.
You may consider yourself a feminist, and you definitely trust your heart to tell you what's right.
You are likely to have a million issues you care about - and not nearly enough time to devote to them all.




What People Think of Your Mouth

People see you as both seductive and intimidating.
Other women are especially put off by your womanly powers.
And men either fear you or obsess over you - sometimes both.
No way to fight it - you're a natural vamp.




You Are 85% Independent

You do things your own way, and most people respect you for it...
Not that you'd care what anyone thinks of you!




You Are 59% Bitchy

Generally, you're an average woman, with average moods. But sometimes... well, watch out!
Sometimes, you let your mean side get the better of you. And you enjoy every minute of it.




You Are 60% Girly

You're a little girly, a little boyish, and probably a whole lot indie.
You have your own unique style, and it pretty much defies gender lines.




Not a Player, But You Dabble In the Game.

Sometimes a girl just wants to have fun- and when it's fun you're after, you get it.
But when you want a relationship, you seem to score that as well.
What you want changes from day to day? and from guy to guy.
Luckily, you've got the skills to get whatever you want - and pass the leftovers on to your friends.




Your Famous Movie Kiss is from Gone With The Wind

"Great balls of fire. Don't bother me anymore, and don't call me sugar."




Your Spicy Score: Medium

You are hot enough to make a lasting impression, but you strike a balance.
You know when you're being too fiery, and you also know when to bump up the temperature.
Naughty and clever. Sexy yet down to earth. You know how to work both sides of your personality.
Men find you hot yet approachable - the perfect combination!




The PJ's You Are Most Like: No PJ's

You're a bit of a hedonist - opting for comfort over everything else
You have an understated, easy sexyness that men love
You'll risk that for the feeling of sheets against your bare skin!




You're Part Diva

You know that a girl's gotta work it to get her way in the world.
And while you aren't about to throw a tantrum at every turn...
You do amp up the drama when you know you need it.
You mix charm, honesty, and kindness to get ahead.




You are Slinky Heels!

You're an uptown, well put together woman
But you're not too uptight to enjoy a hot club
You're always the best dressed chick in the room
And you'll only settle for the best in men




You Are a Classic Beauty!

You have a timeless beauty that looks great in every decade
Instead following trends, you stick to what works
And this means you never skimp on your beauty routine
Upside? Your classic looks tends to attract gentlemen - not boys.




You Should Date An Italian!

You love for old fashioned romance, with an old fashioned guy
An Italian guy is the perfect candidate to be your prince charming
If your head doesn't spin enough, just down another espresso with him
Invest in a motorcycle helmet - and some carb blocker for all that pasta!




You Don't Need a Man ... or Want One!

Generally, you're very happy being a single woman.
And anyone who has a problem with that... well, that's there problem.
Not that you wouldn't share your life with the almost perfect guy.
You simply won't settle though. Your life is too good to share with some substandard man!

Travel Journal, Part VIII - Final

Palermo


07/25 - Monday






The train arrived at 9:30 am in Palermo's central station. I had a few troubles finding the hotel because Palermo is huge and the information I had was wrong. I had to get in a subway to arrive at the hotel (that was distant from the historical center).

The Sicily was the scenario of many important history facts, since it was called home for Arabs, Greeks, Romans and it was the ring of many bloody battles and the stage of many artistic developments.

Today I was so tired that I just decided to take a walk around Palermo, stopping at coffee shops as lazy as I could get. My legs hurt because of that climbing yesterday. My intentions before arriving were to walk to Monreale, but I just couldn't. Hopefully tomorrow I will feel better and I'll go.

Everybody knows that Sicily through the last two centuries has developed the famous Mafia stories (yep, The Godfather), that something you don't see just walking around, you don't see Don Corleone having his hands kissed on the streets. Not that I expected to see that, but it would be interesting. But that's just the fairy tales taking over my rational mind for a moment or two.

Anyway, from the Central Station starts the most famous shop street of the Palermo, Via Roma (If you noticed almost all cities I've been have a street called Via Roma.) Since it's Monday most shops don't open, so I visited the squares and churches.

The Santa Caterina church is a great example of the changes the baroque style had in Palermo. Right in front of it there's the Piazza Pretorio, where it's places the Fontana Pretorio, built around the XVI century.



It was great, but not amazing until I found the Duomo di Palermo. It's one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in this city. It's huge and it has a golden sparkle around it.







Above there's this arch that conects the church to the Bishop's Palace. It's the first time I saw an arch like that.

Inside the Duomo, the decoration reminded me something a little Islamic, fascinating, with an altar of silver and purple velvet. The tombs of Sicily Kings are there like Frederico II, Henrique IV and Rogerio II (with their wives).




There's a room with the imperial treasure which I reached through a thin and small staircase. Everything was deserted except for the lady that sold me the tickets to enter the church and the treasure room; it was almost like a haunted church, it's the first time I didn't see tourists walking around. I was alone in that huge, magnificent church and it excited me beyond comprehension.







The treasure room has not only the king's jewels, but also the all the Sicily bishop's treasures. Giant golden crosses, golden bibles with precious stones, diamond and ruby rings, crowns and clothes made of gold. There was an emerald and silver ring that must have around two inches (I'm not exaggerating!) with the imperial symbol from the XII century. The Queen's crown was also magnificent.




From the treasure room I walked straight to an empty room with a huge table because I thought it was the way back to the main isle, but then I found myself lost in another room and then another and there wasn?t anyone to guide me out.

And then I saw a sign written 'this way to the crypt'. Somehow my inner desire to be in a creepy horror movie just surfaced inside of me, blocking all alerts that what was left of my superstitious mind must have sent me.

I was obsessed.

I found this hole on the ground with a thin staircase and dusty and dark walls that lead me under the church foundation. It felt like a vampire movie or even a mummy movie because of the colors and torches hanging on the brownish walls. The roof was low was almost suffocating, but what made me smile was to see more than fifty dusty tombs right there in front of me and there as no one around, so I could explore and touch everything I wanted.




I didn't even care of there was worms and insects around there. I was blind with ecstasy! I read all the scrimptions that was written in all tombs. Some had been buried around the XI century and the most recent ones just two hundred years ago. Some scrimptions had been removed by time so I couldn't read all of them, but basically all the bishops of Sicily were there inside their stone, vampiresque tombs.






It was really dark in there, but I yearned for even more darkness and creepy things. I found this small door, which I had to enter lowering my head and I couldn't see a thing in front of my nose as soon as I entered there... but I couldn't resist. I turned on my camera and walked through that thin corridor describing the deafening silence, how the walls felt like and the old dusty smell. Then I hit something. I couldn't see what it was so I touched it with my hands trying to figure out what it was. It wasn't something very high, it just reached above my knees and it felt like another stone coffin.




Why would a coffin be there in the end of a dark corridor? Was it because nobody was supposed to see it? Who was inside there anyway? But I couldn't find my answers. I tried walking around the tomb so I could continue through the corridor but I reached a dead end. It was like that corridor was built just to hide that one tomb.

So I walked out of the corridor, back to the crypt, saw a few more tombs and left. I found my way back to the main isle and left the church. I spent maybe an hour sitting around in that beautiful garden just outside the church. I'm so very tired because of my activities yesterday that I barely had the strength to go back to the subway station.

Maybe it was around 7pm when I managed to return to my hotel room. The sun was high, but I needed a long bubble bath to get my energy back. I had a mint ice-cream for dinner and now I'm ready to sleep, right at 9pm... with the sun still on my window.


07/26 - Tuesday

Agrigento

Today I've got in a train for the last time. Agrigento is a city just one hour and half away from Palermo, so I left my begs in the hotel and at 7am I was already traveling all the way down to south Sicily to meet the most famous Greek temples that they have here.

Other than the Greek Temples, Agrigento has an infamous inhabitant: the novelist Luigi Pirandello.

The temperature was amazing, 110F at least and I was dressed in a skirt I bought in Rome and a black shirt that almost made me faint. It surely is the most hot city in Italy until now (thank goodness that since I come from a tropical country I can stand a lot the hot weather or I'd be already dead).

Anyway, my only objective here was to see the archeological ground of the Valle dei Templi (The Temples Valley) and indeed it was worth coming here.




As soon as I arrived I saw the temples on top of hills and the ruins all around the place. This city is really small (just 57 thousand inhabitants), the Greeks lived here around two or three thousand years ago and the myth says Dedalus was the one who founded this city. It remained out of the conflict between Athens and Syracuse, passing through the hands of the Byzantine Empire after the Roman Empire fell.

The region of the valley looks more like a desert. It's arid, dry there's sand everywhere. It's a complex of ruins and some structures are amazingly preserved even after being plundered century after century, mainly by the Christians in the VI century who accused the temples of being labor of pagans. There nature didn't help much because of the earthquakes that destroyed what as left.

First I went to the Hephaestus Temple that is completely destroyed, except for a few columns on the ground, then the temple of Castor and Pollux that was reduced to three columns on the edge of a cliff. The temple of Zeus must have been immense because I saw a few huge statues on the ground, unrecognizable if you?re not an archeologist.

The Temple of Concord is the most intact, but obviously the tourists can't walk inside there. Historians say that the only reason why the Christians didn't destroy it was because it was converted in a church. When it was built, it was made of pure white, but now it's brownish, completely covered in dust. In one side there's a cliff and the sight of the shore with the blue Mediterranean Sea. The Temple of June is a little further up and just like Concord, it's pretty much intact, high in the hill, far away from the mere humans and accessible to the gods.



I was already dying for water and a shower when I climbed down the cliff and to my relief, down the catacombs there are toilets and running water from fountains for the tourists. I practically bathed in that fountain. I was dripping wet when I left and was refreshed for the rest of the day.

The catacombs are another messy field, almost impossible to walk through, I fell on my butt twice and after that I didn't need much encouragement to leave. I loved the temples, seriously, but I just can't walk around it for more than six hours after climbing the Vesuvius.




So, I got the bus back to the station and then back to Palermo for more an hour and half of trip, leaving the beautiful Agrigento behind.

I stopped in a bakery on my way back to the hotel and had the biggest slice of bread with chocolate drops in my life! Then, after that, I fell dead on my bed.



07/27 - Wednesday

I wanted badly to visit Monreale today, but since it's my last day here, I decided to be a little generous and buy my family and friends a few souvenirs (I just bought things for me until now). So I woke up late, had breakfast at the hotel and left for shopping explorations.

I bought shirts, skirts, books (I found this huge library and I didn't want to leave it!). I walked back to Via Roma and then I took an alternative way through Via Maqueda where's the La Martorana, a medieval church built around the X century. Those streets are very famous for their typical Sicilian shops. The Vucciria Market is a thin smelly street where you can find all kinds of hams, wine, fish, cheese and homemade Sicilian dishes.

I passed through the Oratorio Di San Lorenzo, I really wanted to go in there but there was a wedding so I decided it wouldn?t be nice to have tourists walking around in your own wedding, so I just looked at it from outside, besides I was carrying around twenty bags, I couldn't explore a church like that.

At 3pm I remembered I haven't had lunch, yet so I decided to have my last meal in Italy in a fancy restaurant with the typical Sicilian cuisine (I haven't have dinner for days now). I had this meat in a stick with so much pepper that I had to drink two coke cans with it, but it was amazing! One of the best things I tried here. Then the second dish was spaghetti with a Sicilian sauce that I loved as well! I looked so delighted with all that food that even the waiter asked me if it was the first time I tried those dishes (my Italian was so good at that point he hadn't noticed I wasn't an Italian girl!). It's needless to say I befriended with the waiter and he sat down on my table to chat while I ate.

I was so full I could barely walk (and carry those stupid bags) back to the hotel. When I got there it was past 7pm, which means I only had ten hours left to enjoy Italian grounds.

I still had one task in hand before falling asleep, though. I had to put everything back in my luggage and make it fit inside the bags. I wrapped everything made of glass (so many perfumes!) in the middle of my clothes? by the way, my clothes were filthy! I hadn't realized until I took a good look at them. They won't get clean ever again!

I had to sit on top of the bag for it to close and I still thought I forgot some thing or another.

When I was finished it was around 9pm and my plane leaves tomorrow at 8am... so I must wake up at 5am, call a taxi to go to the airport.

At least I know I can sleep on the plane...

07/28 - Thursday

Oh no! I'm in a plane back to Brazil, that stupid, boring, artless, cultureless country!

The first plane left Palermo and stopped at Florence, then I changed planes and flew from Florence to Madrid (Spain). I waited there for three more hours, wishing I could just walk away and grab my last chance to never leave Europe again!

I found some Brazilians there chatting about their vacations and I spent my last hours in Europe people-watching. This is so depressing.

Right now I?m on the plane back to São Paulo (Brazil) and I have some ten hours of flight ahead of me. If I count the time since I left Palermo it would be an 18 hours trip.

To return to Brazil's reality is going to be harder than I presume. You can't just get used to the glamour, the lazy afternoons walking through coffee shops and museums and then just return to Brazil, where you spend two hours stuck in the traffic every morning to get to work, where people look at you like you're a piece of meat and where you can be the victim of a robbery or even be kidnapped at any second because of a couple of bucks.

I made my decision that I will return to Europe and live there for the rest of my days. It's the goal of my life now.

Adesso mio cuore è italiano!!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Travel Journal, Part VII

Naples, Pompeii and The Vesuvius.

07/23 - Saturday

I around seven in the morning and got in a train to Naples. I still can't believe I'm leaving Rome without seeing half of the museums that are here. I believe that to be real satisfied I'd have to remain in Rome for more fifteen days. I feel quite sad to leave and as I saw the flowers and trees through the train's window I got even sadder; I don't know if I'll ever be back.

A few hours later when I arrived in Naples I was starving (I didn't risk eating anything in the train, I know I go sick quite easily) so I entered the first restaurant I saw at the station? MacDonald's. I wonder why Italy's Big Mac's are leaner and bigger than Brazil's.

Anyway, I got in a Taxi to the hotel and unpacked what was necessary for the day. The time is passing really quickly today and when I finally made it out of the hotel it was nearly 3pm, and since the museums close at 5pm I didn't have the time to visit any of them. In the port there weren't any more boats to Capri's Island, so I just gave up and walked around the city.

I didn't see much in Naples, just walking around the port isn't enough to know a whole city (it was enough to get tanned, though). My priority here is climbing up the Vesuvio volcano tomorrow, if there's time I'll go to the archeological museum and the Duomo, but I won't count on that.



Above is a sight of Naple's port with the Vesuvius on the background.

07/24 - Sunday

Once again I woke up at seven in the morning, but this time I caught the Circumvesuviano train (means train that circles the volcano). I bought this ticket that gave me the right to take the train to Pompeii, the bus to Vesuvius, the entrance to the crater and a lunch in one of the several restaurants that are along the way up.



The picture above is of the creepy train station of Pompeii, The Mystery Village.

I first climbed the Vesuvius before going to Pompeii. I never thought I'd ever be climbing a volcano in my life! That was awesome! The bus took me up the geologic park, through the burned trees and dried lava. It's quite an experience to see the dried rocks and the dried herbs finally managing to grow around the lava after more than sixty years of eruption. Somehow all that destruction was... beautiful.

Anyway, the bus stopped around ten meters before the crater because up there is only ashes, impossible to climb by car... it's very hard to climb even on foot! I had to get a stick to help myself up.




When I first stepped on the way up through the ashes my foot was buried seven inches into the dust. That was the hardest part because the ashes were slippery and I almost rolled over the crater three times because of that. I ended with a bloodied knee because I'm clumsy like that.

The Vesuvius is about four thousand years old and usually is quiet for long periods, having a small eruption once in a hundred years. The biggest eruption was two thousand years ago when it destroyed Pompeii and a few cities around it. The scientists say that another big eruption just like that one happens once in two thousand years, which means it's about to happen again sometime in this century.

There is an old man that lives in a small house with a shop right there. He calls himself the volcano's guardian because he was born there and studied the volcano, he even wrote books about it, seeing personally a two eruptions; until today he tells the tourist some of the stories about the volcano he witnessed.

Anyway, enough for digressing, back to climbing to the crater, I almost died the last time I slipped because my foot was left there, hanging over the cliff. A polish man who was near me held me up before I fell over. After that I was a little scared, but I continued climbing until I reached the crater, climbed in a rock and looked inside.







That crater is absurd, that's something I never thought I'd see and it was completely up to my expectations. I didn't imagine it was so wide and high, it was like a huge slide, just like a bow and I imagined myself having some fun in there. I continued walking forward because I wanted to walk around the whole crater and see the wonderful sight of Naples and Pompeii from up there.

The sights really were breathtaking. The Mediterranean must be the bluest sea ever. It was as blue as the sky and it was impossible to know where the sea ended and where the sky started. I thought I saw flying ships and white thin clouds on the water. That's something I'll never forget along with only two purple flowers that managed to grow right up there in the crater.

The way around the crater got even more dangerous as I walked further, I only had four feet of stable ground to step on and since I already had slipped three times I decided to not risk anymore and returned to where it as safe.

After that, I took the bus back and stopped at the restaurant. When I entered the bathroom to wash my hands I was taken completely by surprise. I had to wash myself from head to foot. I was all gray, completely covered in ashes.

I had the best spaghetti until now in that restaurant with the special Vesuvius sauce, which means a lot of pepper! That was simply delicious. I had a mint ice-cream for desert and finally returned to Pompeii because my surprises weren't over for the day.



In Pompeii I got a map and spent five hours walking around through the ghost city. The burned houses were open for us to enter and the temples too. In one of them I saw the painting in the walls. That was the only example of roman painting that was left until today; first because the Romans didn't have the tradition to paint; the Roman Art consisted in building huge temples and theaters and honoring the Caesar with sculptures. The only way to have real painting was if it was for decorating temples walls... and that's exactly what I saw there.








Pompeii was buried in about twenty feet of lava in the year 79. It was discovered in the XVI century and people started digging it back in 1748. This city is huge; there were about two thousand habitants when it was destroyed. I walked to the Villa dei Misteri (Mystery Village - where it was intact a sculpture in the wall to the god Dionysius) and Via della Fortuna (Lucky street), I visited the Viccolo dei Vetti (Vetti's House where there was more panting!) and walked through the houses until I reached Fauno's house, that has a small statue of Fauno on the ground.





Following the streets to the west I found this place where the archeologists kept the pieces they found while digging. I saw three humans that were intact through all those centuries. The lava kept them just like they were in the moment they died. One was kneeling on the ground praying, another was laying down screaming in pain and still there was one that was completely relaxed, probably died while slept. That was very impressive.








The theater was a perfect example of the Roman Entertainment, I had only seen the Colosseum, but this one was smaller and it was obvious how good the acoustic is around the theater. Some people say that even if the actors said a line in a small voice in the center of the stage everyone around could hear it.




Unfortunately, I had to return to the hotel. I took a shower and headed to the station. At 10pm I was in a night train to Palermo. I?m going to arrive there around 9am. I'm really lucky there are beds and covers in these night trains.

Today was one of the best days until now.