venerdì 17 luglio 2009

Parli Italiolo?

After my mum left last week, my friend R. and her boyfriend P. came to stay. R. is Scottish, but she lives in Seville, and P. is Spanish. As I know about twenty words in Spanish, most of which make up bizarre curses which R. taught me when we were flatmates at uni, and P. only spoke a little bit of English, we spent the next three days testing the theory that Spanish and Italian are mutually comprehensible languages (that is, that Italian speakers can understand Spanish and vice versa). I came to the conclusion that this theory is exaggerated. While the two languages, like Italian and French, are very similar grammatically and many of their words have the same origins, differences in pronunciation and in many very common words mean that, while it may be very easy for an Italian speaker to learn Spanish, just as it was easy for me to learn Italian after learning French, everyday communication is not that easy. Interestingly, I found it easier to understand P's views on bull fighting and opening the market for illegal drugs than to figure out what he wanted for breakfast, but that may have had something to do with the amount of wine we both drank before the first two conversations started. At one point, though, P. and R. got into a very animated conversation about cock-fighting (la pelea de gallos) and I found myself wondering what people from Wales (el pais de Gales) had done to upset them.

On Wednesday night, I introduced them to aperitivo and Milanese cocktails and we had an evening of complicated but great fun conversation with two of my friends from work. On Thursday, they went sightseeing in town and on Friday we went to the beach. In Milan.

Technically, the “beach” in Milan, which can be found in Piazza Carlo Magno next to the Fiera Milano City, is My Island, an outdoor swimming pool surrounded by sand, artificial grass and sun loungers, which has been created in the middle of what would otherwise look like a building site. The pool is not enormous and it was full of children when we were there, and the bar staff were a bit grumpy, but in a city that has so little outdoor space where you can laze around in the sunshine, it was a nice place to spend an afternoon. As well as the pool, there are tennis and volleyball courts and the whole venue turns into a bar/club at night. Even the DVD of waves crashing on a beach that was projected onto a screen above the pool was quite nice...

until the credits started to roll!

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