Gavino's Uncle Enzo and his friend Giorgio arrived from Italy late Saturday night. When we met up with them on Sunday morning it became apparent that the two retirees, sans their wives, were up for an adventure in the Big Apple as neither man could speak a word of English nor possessed a map. One look at them and my first thought was these these two could likely end up in the back seat of a vice squad car.
We spent our first hour together trying to figure out how to use their new phone card at a public pay phone because Enzo's cell wouldn't work. Lucky Giorgio couldn't get off his phone long enough to enjoy his surrounding, taking calls from abroad.
The two men were right out of a Fellini film starring Marcello Mastroianni. They smoked long thin cigarettes while they video recorded their walking tour of the city. Smoking is banned in all eating and drinking establishments across the city, so they had no alternative but to smoke on the street.
I suggested we begin our tour down by Wall Street, Ground Zero and then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Every tourist had the same idea on Sunday.
Giorgio, a diminutive man who resembles a mouse with clear rimmed glasses and a mustache, commented to Enzo in disbelief each time an obese person passed us on the subway or on the street. It was as if they had never seen people build to such a scale. The phenomenon surprised them as the bodies seemed to get bigger and bigger with the passage of time.
These same guys, of course, wanted to order steaks (an American phenomenon representing excess)at a Greek diner but then ended up eating meatloaf and French fries, local beer from the Brooklyn Brewery, but leaving behind fresh broccoli they claimed hadn't been cooked enough. The portions overwhelmed them but they managed to clean their plates and order an extra spinach pie (Spanakopita) too.
Who knows what happened to them today as they ventured out into the rain.