Friday, August 14
Arrived in Positano exhausted and delirious. Umberto loaded me on to a golf cart at the edge of town as cars are not allowed on most of the streets. A happy little Italian boy drove me up and down the winding walkways where charming shops entice with jewels, sandals and all pretty things. White linen dresses dance in the breeze and the smell of lemons is everywhere. Bright flowering vines of fuscia and violet drip from window sills and over doorways. We pass under trees heavily laden with olives, lemons, passion fruit and figs.
Along the beach there are colourful fishing boats and all manner of beautiful tanned people strutting along. There are just as many fat corpses lounging and baking in the sun. Looking up toward the hills, the houses look like coloured marshmallows randomly squished and stacked upon each other. The smell of pizza baking entices as we pass a row of beach cafes. My apartment is fabulous. It's the entire bottom floor of a gorgeous beach house. As he drops me off, the boy felt to gossip the Princess of Spain is staying in the other half, and to inform me I owe him 20 euro for a half mile ride. I fork it over and pretend that bit never happened.
I have a porch that looks over the sea? I have no idea what water I am looking at, but it's beautiful. It's only 4pm, and I cannot wait to unpack, get into my swim suit and hit the water! My body is aching from Vesuvius. I don't remember using my arms or teeth on the trek, but everything hurts and I am sure the water can cure me.
So this is how the swim went down;
Everyone feels a little uncomfortable the first time they put on their bathing suit. It takes a bit of convincing before one gets comfortable. We wear big hats and cover ups and don giant sunglasses to hide our identities. But when it is a thousand degrees all bets are off. Body image is no longer an issue. It becomes a simple matter of survival. So down to the beach I march.
There are translucent masses and rolls of dimpled white flesh taking every opportunity to ooze and escape from my sausage casing. My hair is frizzed like a fur ball and flying in as many directions it can. I have worn no cover, no hat, no glasses no shoes. It is what it is and I have come to frolic.
A little wooden planked path leads to the shore. It's hot, but there are puddles and wet footprints so I try to prance from one to another. The path runs out, I take my first step and finally experience the beach of Positano.
The beach at Positano is bullshit! My feet already hurt from Vesuvius. Now I have jammed them on to stones that feel more like shards of glass. Shards of glass fresh out of the fire. I consider going back to the path, but the water is so close, I hobble and dance my way in. The water is as cold as ice. I am in so much shock my body doesn't know what to react to and I try to levitate. I cannot, and my feet refuse surrender to take all this, surrender and throw my wobbly chubby body into 6 inches of water. Icy jagged little stones poke my fat so hard I expect to start oozing butter like a sieve. I can't stand up and I can't swim in 6 inches of water so I flounder and flop around a bit and try to crawl my way into deeper water. The flopping continues for 20 feet or so and finally I am free. I am freezing, but I am free.
I look back at the shore at faces debating whether or not to save me. I give them the all clear by dazzling them with a brisk swim, a quick flip and end with a seductive back float. I have become a mermaid. I drift along, watching the clouds, letting the paralysis of the cold numb the flesh wounds. I float for a long time. I love the water. There is something quite magical about how water accepts me. It soothes and restores me. I have some of my most beautiful thoughts and daydreams while floating around like an astronaut. I bump my head on a dock, stand on one brave toe and consider how to navigate my return to shore. I don't think I can. I think about climbing up on the dock, but there are fishermen there so it's not a good idea to flop up lest they think I am the catch of the day and hack me up before they realize I'm just a fat lady.
I have no choice but to drift in as far as I can, wobble up and make a run for it. I think of those fire walkers. I think of Magnum PI in a bath of hot water with his chinese wife telling him to accept. Accept. So I ride a wave like a giant Mozzarella ball being pushed ruthlessly along a grater. I stand up and check if my nipples are still in tact. I make a run for it, fall, flub around a bit, and make to the shore. I swear my way back to the path, gather my composure and strut like a boss back to my apartment.
As I walk along the side of the house, I am pelted with a fig. I look around for a smartassed brat and am immediately hit again. The wind picks up and I am peppered by flying figs from the trees around me. A sole passion fruit joins in the fun and I begin to resent the fruits of Positano.
The building is incorporated into a mountain, so part of my hallway is just rock. It's very cool and I suddenly feel like a legitimate explorer.
Sat out on the beach eating spinach ravioli and drinking limoncello watching the sunset. I wonder how God might top this when a random little kitten wandered by. There are stray cats all over Positano. They are adorable little orphans who get an enormous amount of affection and add to the charm of this lovely little place. I can watch the sky for hours. It's dark now and the sky is filling with stars I have never met. I love being alone for this sort of thing.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 15
I adore these little shops. I don't buy anything, but I appreciate their efforts. I resent they are all on a mountain and it requires going up and down ancient stairs all day, but they are so full of curious things I spend hours wandering and then hours more trying to figure out how to get back to the beach. I am tempted to buy a linen dress and hallucinate parading around looking like Sophia Loren.
It amuses me how my insides never seem to really accept the aging of my exterior. Once upon a time I was young and cute enough. I don't remember having any body issues. On the contrary, my friend Sonya and I used to sit in a ditch where pervs would leave their old Playboys and we would compare notes and measurements. We were both arrogant enough to agree there was nothing these women had we didn't and they were so much older, so the whole concept of girly magazines was completely lost on us. That said, we did get older. Sonya still looks like a million bucks. I look about $17.50 and I am, for no good reason okay with it all. I decide not to buy a dress. It's too hot here for clothes. Spectators can suffer and I can't see me, so I channel Sophia and carry on.
I went down to the beach to dip my shoed feet in the water. I thought about pirates and perhaps taking a boat tour. The beach is so much better with shoes. I looked down and a little gold ring washed up at my feet. The sea loves me after all. By the way, it is called the Tyrrhenian Sea. According to mythology, the cliffs above house the 4 winds. Said winds throw fruit.
There are big market stalls full of candy on the beach. I did not understand this until this afternoon. Is weed legal here or are the cigarettes just horribly misshapen? The scent suggests there is a lot of pot smoking going on in Positano, and the stairways are dripping with bikini clad Margot Kidder look-a-likes giggling and swaying with their own words. There are also a lot of straw hats with lemons on them. The two things are not connected, I just noticed and thought you should know.
Tonight there was a festival in my honour. Fine, not in my honour but by serendipitous coincidence, it happens once a year and I happen to be here, so clearly some Roman God wanted me to attend. There was music and a firework display rising over the water which lit up all the little boats and massive yachts anchored in the darkness. Not to be outdone, when it was over God decided to put on a show of his own with an awe inspiring storm. I feel warmed and loved by this beautiful world.
I attached the last sighting of my diary. I attempted a panorama. Note the note I left myself.
TO READ MORE OF MY EXPLOITS CLICK ON THAT TINY LITTLE ARROW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE. THEY ARE IN REVERSE ORDER SO THE LAST PAGE IS ACTUALLY THE BEGINNING. ENJOY!