June 26, 2008

Health Hazard??? YES!!!!!!!!

Filed under: Italy — laurenwenker @ 2:43 pm

One of the guys that works with Josh over here took this footage. We live off this street!!!!

You may have already seen this because it was picked up by CNN.



June 23, 2008

some of the trash is gone…

Filed under: Italy — laurenwenker @ 11:55 am

Remember our trash discussion…..and the endless smoke discussion? Some of the trash has disappeared… only it disappeared by being burned. Here are some pictures captured by another family that lives down our street.

June 17, 2008

Offer your garbage man a refreshment!

Filed under: Italy — laurenwenker @ 3:23 pm

After my flood post, I received several messages of laughter and some of concern. I promised to get some pictures up of the trash situation. My friend Amanda did a “reality check” post on her blog, so I thought I would do the same. I have plagiarized her material since it is nicely written…and I’ve added to it with more of our experiences. I’ve had quite a few people say they are jealous of us living in Italy, so here you go… Be thankful for what you have in the US!

As you can see above, the roads and towns are not manicured like we have in the states. These are roads between Lago Patria where I live and Varcaturo, a neighboring town. Both of which are where many Americans live. Trash really is a problem. The mafia controls it and basically prevents it from being handled properly. The new Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi pledged to help solve the problem during the last election process, but who really knows. The pictures above of the trash are actually somewhat under control! Josh and I witnessed a single garbage truck doing a pick up over the weekend. For instance, the road leading to another local town, Cumae, is littered in trash… both sides piled up to about 8 or 9 feet! The smell is atrocious. You will see the gypsies picking through it for salvageable items. We, among many others haul our trash daily in the car and dump it along the road in places like above.

Here are some more things to consider:

1. Trash. Burning trash. Yes, that is how they often get rid of the trash. For the past several days I have not been able to open my windows for outside air. Why? The endless smoke that fills our house. Wonder what the old lungs are taking in? The military is actually conducting air quality tests around here to make sure we’re not all going to end up with lung cancer. Hmm…

2. We have very little grass; mostly weeds. Our gardener comes once a month (after multiple calls to our landlord for a reminder) to weed-whack the tiny bit of grass that we do have. Keep in mind there is no such thing as American grassy yards here. At least there is enough for Rosco to go potty.

3. No central heat or air, just radiator units and one mounted air conditioner per floor. Lots of windows though…at least they are useful when we can open them!

4. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t hear an alarm system going off. You must have them here, along with metal shutters that close and lock on every window and door. Burglaries are a way of life here, especially in the summer when low-lifes are trying to fund their August month off (the city of Naples shuts down during August because of the heat…it has been their excused vacation time for hundreds of years). I’m constantly opening and closing shutters (to get light and air in, but closing for bedtime and every time I leave the house). It’s a shutter battle.

5. Fireworks are fun, except when you have them almost every day, all weekend, and sometimes at 1 am while trying to sleep. The Italians LOVE fireworks and shoot them off for all kinds of occasions: national holidays, birthdays, christenings, or just because. They can last as long as 20 minutes, and can be quite a display.

6. The roads here are terrible. No sidewalks (I have to take Rosco to the military park about a 10 minute drive from our house). Pot holes that could swallow your front end, no joke. They don’t have efficient road crews here… or road maintenance plans…or working lights… or crews to replace broken – critical – signs that let you know where to go. And did I mention the crazy drivers? Naples is considered one of the wildest places to drive. Many women here — I’m talking Americans, Brits, Germans, some Italians, etc. Do not drive here. Refuse to. Some Americans live on base simply to avoid the crazy roads. I have not found them so bad, but I do fear an accident. Ambulance response times are not fast around here. Vigilance is critical. You must pay full attention, always watching behind you as much as in front of you. A car will pop up in front of you going 1/2 the speed-limit, but you will not be able to pass them because another car will zoom up on you left going 3x the speed limit. It is exactly that unpredictability that makes it quite stressful. Did I mention that cars back up on the highway quite regularly if they have missed their exit… Or, make a 3-lane road into 6? Oh yes, these things are an everyday occurrence. There are no leisurely Sunday drives around here.

7. Electricity… what a nice thing. Ours goes out 2 to 4 times a day. Wonder what it will be like in August 😦

8. Oh yeah, did I mention that we live by an active volcano? Vesuvius. You know, Pompeii’s nemesis.

There are many other “inconveniences” that we experience daily… So, why live in Naples? Because it is still Italy, and all of Europe and Eastern Europe is out your backdoor. Because less than 1 hour away, you can be in the most amazing places. And, because we don’t have a choice!

June 15, 2008

Happy B-day Kendall!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurenwenker @ 8:45 pm

Today is Kendall’s Birthday! Have a good one!! Miss you 🙂


June 6, 2008

the big rain…i mean flood…i mean rain………………….

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurenwenker @ 11:09 am

When I left for the store this morning it looked overcast. On my way home it was pouring down rain. By the time I got to our exit in Lago Patria havoc had begun. The streets were so flooded that the tiny little fiats and such were stranded on the side of the road. Believing in my Mazda, I drove on. There is a side street that we turn down off the main road to get to our house. When I say it was flooded, that’s an understatement. Not only was it flooded, it was rushing down like the amazon or something. Those of you who live around Norfolk might be thinking….ahh, I’ve seen that before. Not so much! Picture a rushing river plus garbage floating down with the water. And, I don;t mean garbage here and there, I mean 5 garbage trucks worth of compressed garbage coming toward me.

By the time I made it to our parco (gated housing neighborhood) I opedned the gate and my neighbor was backing out. This lady has one of those tiny little Italian cars I was talking about. When she backed out in to the street her hood disappeared. Yikes!

I made it back, and I hope the Mazda didn’t suffer much…………… we’ll see what Josh thinks. Sorry I didn’t have a picture for you. Of course, all I could think about was my camera sitting on the table in the house. If I didn’t think I was risking my life or disease, I would get back out there to capture this.

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