A Saturday night in Italy. (Im sure one of my Italian friends will let me know if I butchered the spelling!)

I have been staying with my friend Paola’s sister, Giulia, in a nice flat in the town of Brescia. Giulia is a single mom, speaks pretty decent English, and travels quite a bit. Like most Italian women, you do not want to cross her — they actually own rolling pins (the old wooden kind that weigh eight pounds). You know, the ones that come in handy for making pizza crusts as well as breaking the occasional man’s skull. 🙂 I am just south of the Alps and not far from Lago di Garda, a huge and beautiful lake here in the north of Italy. The weather has been quite miserable, (it was nicer in London!) but not only is there sun in the forecast but also some major craic!

Tonight, I went out with Giulia and “a few friends.”

At least 26 people came for her friend’s birthday. I should have known — lunches, dinners, families, nights out…Italians do things big.

Everyone seems to have a table in their dinning room that will seat at least 10 people for the late, sometimes 9 p.m. or later, dinners. We met at a pizzeria, and by the time we got our hot and unbelievably delicious pizza, it was around 10:30 p.m. Everyone was nice, and a few spoke some English, but all made an effort to be friendly and accept me. I think that I was one of the only men without a shaved head (it’s very fashionable here) and leather boots seem to be the trend for the women.

After eating a pizza each, I was expected to somehow represent myself on a dance floor, so we went to a Latin disco. Most of the crowd are Salsa students, so despite coming from a town that boasts a multitude of Latinos, and being a sober white boy, I didn’t have a chance at the dancing. I did learn the Bachata though, which originated in the Dominican Republic, and I loved it!

The club was large and busting with people, a majority of whom were slick with sweat from the energy of the dance. Highlights of the night include speaking Russian to the Polish bartender (which delighted her enough to give me some tab credit) and using the Thai-style squat toilets in the latrine! I guess squat toilets aren’t just an Asian thing.

Everyone was dressed the part (classy and sexy) and I felt a little awkward standing there in my jeans and Keen sandals. My sandals are the most functional footwear for adventure that I have ever found, but I think they have a special team of ugliness engineers that make sure sandals are as fashion-repulsive as possible before they leave the factory.

It was also interesting to see a team of Polezi (Police) come into the disco for some reason, all decked out in military style dress uniforms, with submachine guns hanging around their necks. I guess the police here also don’t play games. We left around 3 a.m. and did not go to sleep until around 7 a.m. — not bad for a first weekend night in Italy!

Tomorrow, I recover, (if possible) and Monday we go to Venice. Woohoo!