|Italy, Apulia, Basilica di San Nicola, Bari. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Cinquanta cinque giorni (Day fifty five)
Bari is quite the place. Every street lines on a vertical axis parallel to the ocean. At the right time of day, around 19:00, the sun bursts with bright red and orange rays rushing fiercely through each vertical street. It is as if the sun is so big that it stands alone behind the entire port city of Bari. All the men with their hair slicked back, their Gucci shades, suit and tie look dressed to impress as if they just stepped out of GQ. Gawking, kissing and beeping their horns, the men here aren't afraid to let a woman know they want her. The women are on pare as they walk down the busy streets, clicking their heels and pucking their lips. Finding stores such as Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana are as easy to find as the next gelateria.
Back at the hostel I am greeted by a cloud of smoke puffed in my face from the "mummy" who shows signs of death as she inhales her 27th cigarette of the day. She smiles with her cold black teeth blending into the darkness as the runs her fingertips up and down her pink and dark veined skin. She then allows her 1 inch long ash tail hanging off the end of her cigarette to fall to the ground, assuring me that the toxins of the ash clean the floor. As I walk up the winding stairs she is there to greet me at the door in her black cloak and long dark hair. She said not a word as I walk down the hallway only to see her staring at me through the mirror and the end of the hall.
Before lunch the "ghost", a Spanish 55 year old 7ft tall homeless and heartbroken man with a brow lift, cheek implants and surfer hair orders me to stop eating my morning toast and mop the floors.
As I sing, "the sun will come out tomorrow", I scrub away until he too is fully satisfied. In a hurry while cleaning the shower I manage to second degree burn the palm of my hand and at that point decide that my cleaning spurt was over. Later that night a couple from India arrives to the hostel. They happily offer to make an Indian dish for dinner for us all (12 people) to enjoy. His hostel has no license which poses risk of a police (or mafia) invasion if people are here. Francesco (the owner) ignores this issue and continues to invite guests for dinner.
The Indian husband in his white jacket and balding, braided pony tail proves his unpleasant marriage status by gawking at me (and the other helper, Healther's) breasts the whole night and at the dinner table. As he entertains us with his Ayurvedic reading glasses filled with many microscopic holes, he makes a point to be crude by making jokes about Indian women massages and how he'd love to see us while receiving one. I swallowed each bite and almost regurgitated every other. Between the senile old lady, the crazy cleaning freak, the Indian man and his crudeness, Francesco's illegal establishment, mold, bed mites, asbestos and toxic waste... I was feeling very out of my element.
Heather and I receive an unpleasant confrontation from Francesco after dinner.
Immediately after making Heather cry and myself outraged enough to run a 7 minute mile in flip flops at 12:00 midnight, I packed my bags.
By the end this is my viewpoint of Bari: Rubbish filled streets, unsanitary living situations, Mafia related activity, good gelato... but not worth a visit of more than a day.
Next Stop: Rome, Italy
Article Source: Bari, Italy