Italy 6: April 22, 2007 -- Brief update between train and bus in Palermo, Sicily

By Bob Corbett

Greetings folks, from lovely Palermo, Sicily. Last night we took an over night train to Palermo and I was surprised that they only have FOUR bunks in the compartment. Normally, on every other trip I've ever done, and that's many, they have 6 bunks. Two fellows had the uppers and Sally and I had the seat level. However, one of the guys had a computer with him and watch (and listened to) a dumb Italian movie into the later hours. No matter, we are very well rested.

At noon we will take a bus to the small village out on the west coast tip, Terrasini, home of the Sharamitaro family, and we're going to see who and what we can find. We will also be looking for Bommaritos, since Giuseppe was married to Rosaria Bommarito and they came from this village. this could be lots of fun.

Today we got here right on time at 8:10 Am and after some breakfast hopped a bus in front of the bus station just to sightsee. We are simply lucky people I guess. We had no idea what bus we were on, there were 15 or so in front of the station. this one went way up into the hills to a different village, just like the one did yesterday in Naples. But there wasn't much of a village, just stunning views of the mountains and of Palermo from above. And since we had out backpacks with us, we didn't get off to walk, just rode. It is Saturday morning and there are dozens, literally DOZENS of street markets with the freshest looking fruit and produce (the country side coming in was packed with lemon and orange trees and the markets bore that out. but, mounds of delicious looking fish, and veggies of every sort. Huge fennel plants that look so good....

A bit more about the Naples pickpockets. Their style. They seem to travel in threes. Others have confirmed this. Older men, burly. They get on terribly crowded buses, normally, and with a target in mind, typically someone they single out as a tourist. They manage to get on three sides, left, right and behind. the standing person must have at least one hand holding on, and they push and bump (which is normal on the bus anyway) and in that confusion go through pockets. If Sally and I hadn't had these simply AWESOME travel vests we could have lost tons. but, there are four open pockets at the bottom, and one zippered pocket. We keep nothing of value in those. Inside the vests are several zippered pickets with no access from outside, and then up at one's chest, again, not practically accessible to a pickpocket, are large zippered pockets with the zippers near one's neck. There we keep passports, tickets, money, all the things of real value.

As best we can tell from the two adventures all that was lost was the one small and quite unimportant pamphlet on Assisi. It was BEFORE those encounters that I lost my credit cards, and in a period when we had absolutely no contact with other people. Still can't figure that one out. However, the evidence of absolutely no attempt to use either seems clear evidence they were not stolen, but lost. Last year when I was robbed in Costa Rica (which led me to buy my vest, and when Sally saw it last year on our trip to Greece and Turkey she purchased one too), the thieves began using the credit cards in Costa Rica within minutes after the theft, and I called the companies within an hour. Only four charges had been made that time, two on each card (one for $4.95 at McDonald's) but the two companies wrote off those four charges.

On to Terrasini!




Bob Corbett