We have a maid. Two maids really, a mother and daughter, that come clean the apartment every Monday. Now before you get all huffy and accuse us of being so lazy we needed to hire someone to clean let me just say that yes, we are incredibly lazy, but that had nothing to do with hiring a maid. No, we hired a cleaning lady (that’s what I prefer to call her) because neither of us likes to clean and if there is someone on this earth who would take money in exchange for scrubbing the toilets they are welcome in my house any time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s weird having a total stranger come in and do housework. You feel like some kind of idiot who can’t get their act together enough to wipe down a countertop or fold some clothes; so how do I get over it? I leave the apartment while she’s here! Seriously though I just feel like I’m in the way of her doing her job so vacating for a few hours is the least I can do. While having a cleaning lady (or man, I’m not discriminating) is not necessarily commonplace in the US it’s quite common in Naples and perhaps the rest of Europe. Being a part of the European Union means that citizens of EU countries have a much easier time moving between countries in search of work than, say, and American trying to live and work in Europe would have. EU nationals are allowed to work in any other EU country without a work permit and can live in said country as long as they register their presence (though this depends on the country). Because of this freedom to move around many people from less well off areas move to wealthier areas to work as house cleaners, nannies, etc. It’s not unlike people from Central America moving to the US in search of jobs. So because of this we have two awesome cleaning ladies who do an excellent job cleaning up after us lazy people.
This past Monday I went out for a few hours so I’d be out of the way and went to check out the shops at the top of the hill. We live in Vomero which is considered a somewhat fancy part of town and as such there’s a main drag, via Scarlatti, that is home to a lot of really nice shops, both chain and specialty. My favorite clothing store is Promod, they have some really cute clothes that aren’t crazy expensive. Another favorite is Zara, which is easy to find in the US as well. Finally is Benetton. Rarely can I afford anything in there but I like to wander through and admire everything. It’s always so colorful and bright. Continuing on there’s a bunch of shoe stores with gorgeous shoes and boots that are definitely worth the money if you can stand to part with it (and Chucks for 79euro! That made me throw up in my mouth a little.). There are toy stores, sports stores, cafes, bag/luggage shops, lingerie stores, and a couple children’s stores. Down around the corner on via Luca Giorgano is Fnac which, if I had to guess, is probably Greg’s favorite store in Vomero because it sells English language books and tech gear. Think of it as Best Buy crossed with Barnes and Noble. I like to hang out there on Mondays because it’s got AC and you can spend hours without anyone really noticing. They have a huge camera department with all the high end gear and all the lo-fi stuff as well. They have an Apple bar, music department, and a cafe. I spent a couple hours at the cafe writing thank you cards (yes the cards will be mailed soon, keep your pants on) and people watching.
Another place that I frequent is Villa Floridiana, a park that houses a huge villa turned museum with paths that lead all over. You can also walk to a cliff wall and overlook Chiaia, Mergellina, and the bay of Naples. Parts of it have been closed off periodically because of lack of maintenance. Recently some large trees have fallen which resulted in other areas being considered unsafe. In the past I’ve come to meet quite a few of the cats that call the park home but this year there seem to be quite a few more. While wandering through newly opened parts of the park I happened upon a women giving a bowl of milk to a kitten and her mother. I’ve never seen kittens in the park before which makes me wonder if someone has been taking them and adopting them out so the population stays in check. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself.
The weather’s been pretty nice since I got here but I fear now that I’ve said something we’ll get a crazy heat wave.
Hasta la pasta,