The Italians are one of the most expressive of people, with gestures, eyes and body language. All this gives talking about even things like the weather dramatic quality. Another means of expression is the strike. Strikes come frequently and unpredictably. Air travel employees like to strike. At one point Alitalia pilots were ready to strike because they were not given transport to the airport, separate from the other cabin crew. Buildings and public performances are closed without prior notice. Even the Sistine Chapel closes at 1:00 p.m. Museums are closed for no apparent reasons. Advice to the visitor when he sees a chiusoâ (closed) sign repair to the nearest restaurant and order a cup of cappucino, that is, if the restaurant has not closed.
Italians take a lot of kidding from other nationalities. A Russian satirist writes: All the Italians ever do is just sing and draw. I mean, an Italian will stand and sing and next to him another will be drawing the one who’s singing. And nearby will be a third Italian singing about the one who is drawing. It’s a sight to make a man sad. But they can’t understand that.â
Young girls traipsing about Italy are almost certain to be pursued, and vigorously, by young Italian men sometimes to the point of distraction. The introductions may be crude: Come on Bebe, let’s make a babe.â The tourist season is seen by some of the natives as the opening of the hunting season. A true incident: a visitor to Naples grasped the wrist of a pickpocket as he was making his heist. The visitor yelled for a policeman, who eventually arrived. To the astonishment of the visitor the cop was on the side of the pickpocket and berated the tourist, demanding he release the pickpocket with the simple logic: That’s his only way of making a living.â
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