Apr 16, 2006

SANT' ANGELO, Ischia, Italy – So I fell in this volcano. No, really. Fair maiden jokes aside, it scalded. A lot.

Properly speaking, it wasn't much of a volcano, more a geothermal vent. The fumarole – steam plume – heats Ischia's Maronti Beach. On a previous visit, Italians hard-boiled eggs in the coarse sand, singing Renato Carosone classics.

This 1950s giant mixed Neapolitan traditions with American hot jazz and a dash of Africa. His lyrics often are sly, as in Tu Vuò Fa L'Americano (most famous now as Matt Damon's star turn in The Talented Mr Ripley).

Tu abballe 'o roccorol
tu giochi al basebal '
ma 'e solde pe' Camel
chi te li dà? ...
La borsetta di mammà!

Tu vuò fa l' americano
mmericano! mmericano!
ma si nato in Italy!

You dance to rock and roll
You play at baseball
But money for Camel (cigarettes)
Who gives it to you?
The purse of mammà!

Do you want to be an American?
American? American?
But you were born in Italy!

I, on the other hand, seem to have the opposite problem...


Nevertheless, I'm faking my way through Easter on an island in the Gulf of Naples. I've donned silly big sunglasses. My friends – Louisa the British-Cypriot opera student and her fiancé Alberto, a Milanese lawyer – brought a blanket, radio and a foil-wrapped show-egg, complete with a bling surprise. We've basked in the spa park, cocktailed by the harbor, savored an overpriced holiday lunch: all the usuals.

And it's all going swimmingly until I flounder into the volcano.

I did not know beach paddle ball was an extreme sport. Or that one's foot could be hard-boiled like an egg.

But going native never was easy.


  1. Anonymous12:44 AM

    Amanda, I notice you gracefully omitted to post the picture of you and Lou playing (or rather pretending to) beach bats. That was just before you decided to step on the fumarola,remember? never seen you squirming like that, quite entertaining actually

  2. What are you talking about, kid? That was some hardcore paddleball ... aside from the fact I have no hand-eye coordination.

    But the action-shots shall remain safely archived. I've had enough media-bikini-humiliation for one year with the Quebec Snow Bath.

    Ciao, bello!

  3. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Wow, that must have been hard, man!

    I suppose the good side of it is that the Quebec journal is not really sold outside Quebec, you might have ended up on some national newspaper, doing something braindead...think of it...

    However, for the entertainment of the crowds, let me just say it took more than five camera shots before glancing some paddleball action between Amanda and Lou, which lasted for, say, 5 seconds.

    a clash of giants...

  4. Well, a different version ran in the Toronto Sun ... and the Associated Press archived another: superstardom is still a possibility.


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