February 28, 2008

Palazzo Journal - Day 1


Lately we spent some days in Pizzo (Calabria) and I was thinking of writing a bit about our vacation on the 'construction site'. I am not going to post every day. But I am starting today. It is an experiment and it is documenting our process. The protagonists will have initials, unless they want their names to be mentioned. So CC is my Italian husband, L is our son, N is his nonna, my mother-in-law. And Angelo is Angelo, my father-in-law, he was introduced on this blog before. I plan to link to the previous and next day later on.

Day 1, 6.2.

We traveled from Beijing via Frankfurt and Rome to Lamezia in the South of Italy. Three planes, four airports and around 22 hours of journey to spend our Chinese New Year holidays on a construction site. It is already late night when we arrive at Lamezia airport. We are the only passengers that have to pick up the luggage on the international arrival conveyor belt. A customs officer switches on the lights for us. L sleeps and CC carries him in his arms while I am loading our suitcases on a trolley. Pushing a heavy loaded trolley with one hand and pulling hand luggage with the other hand, I awkwardly cruise towards the customs officer in the grey uniform. He is the only one and he waits for his only and last customers - us.
‘Anything to declare?’, he asks in Italian.
‘Only a couple of cashmere sweaters’ starts CC.
I am petrified… I have not briefed my husband, he is unprepared…
I have to put our suitcases through x-ray and the officer stares at the monitor,
‘What about all these metal tubes?’ he asks.
‘Oh, that’, this is my turn now, it’s my suitcase, ‘that is some bathroom equipment, a bidet faucet, a siphon ... ‘
Now he wants to know the value of these things and I am saying a number just below what is allowed to bring into Germany, hoping that this is fine in Italy as well.
Slowly I reload the suitcases on the trolley again, while he is observing me. ‘Slowly, not too fast’, I think…. I can see in his face, he is wondering whether he should let this young family with a sleeping child pass through and go home as well – or should he have a look into these strange bags and have probably a lot of questions and discussions….
It took him a moment. - Then we can go.

Angelo is waiting for us. We are the last passengers coming out. N was at the hair dresser as always when her son comes home. We are happily united and pack all items in the car. And off we go. After around 20 minutes we dive through Pizzo, our newly adopted home town. But the renovation of the palazzo has just started and there is no single livable room yet. So we stay with my in-laws in Vibo Marina, another 4 km drive along the coast. Finally at home everything goes fast. We put L to bed, we unpack briefly and go to bed as well. I feel cold and tiered.

Next Day
all Journal posts


  1. This is a great idea I will be reading avidly

  2. Eeek, I am constantly hassled by customs in Marrakech, staring at the faucets I am bringing in.

    PS Hope you got my email today about our bathrooms.

  3. Suzie,

    This is cool! I will be watching - your lemon tree is so cute too.
    We are still buried in snow over here and more coming today. The sea looks so inviting right now.


  4. Sounds like an amazing project!
    I look forward to hearing all your adventures.
    Buona fortuna.

  5. I've only been to Pizzo a couple times but we always seem to be the only ones waiting for international luggage in Lamezia. I'm kind of glad the rest of the world isn't in on our secret yet!