Bacoli – virtually Naples, Italy
Have you ever watched those travel documentaries or family-goes-to-find-their-dream-property-in-Italy programmes or read books of the same ilk? We’d read the books, but have heard the televised version exists too. However, I’m beginning to wonder if all the literature we happened upon was actually romantic fiction disguised as travel stories. Nowhere did we ever see a comparison of Italy and Cambodia. Isn’t Italy La Dolce Vita and Carpe Diem?
Yes, it may be those things. And it is also straight lines of olive trees marching up a rocky mountain. It is grapevines and deep blue sea beaches. It is pasta and pesto and wonderful gelato. But it is more than these things.
Today it reminded us of Cambodia.
We ended up taking photos to do a comparison. If only we had got snaps of the big fishing nets hanging across the river – Just The Same. If only we had thought early enough to take one of the chickens we saw scratching round in a yard. We got these ones though….can you tell which is Cambodia and which is Italy?
In both countries mansion-like buildings are surrounded by high concrete walls punctuated with spikey-pronged solid metal gates.
In both countries it’s easy to find houses that are disintegrating.
Both countries sell an abundance of cheap fruit – actually even more in Cambodia, but the peaches here are kissed by God Himself. And only 50 cents a kilo.
Both countries suffer under intense heat.
Neither country has a road system to be proud of. Admittedly, Cambodia’s is far worse, but Italy’s is not exactly a smooth ride if you’re off the autostrade. And in both countries dirt tracks protrude from the main sealed roads – yes, even in Italy. I can’t decide which country possesses the worst drivers. We witnessed more accidents in Cambodia (almost one every day), but they were mostly of the *inconsequential* motorbike-dings-motorbike variety. Directly in front of us, sliding to a stop slightly behind us, on the road to Rome we saw three cars smash into each other, totally crumpling the long bonnet of the middle one as it made that distinctive sound not unlike a thousand coke cans being crushed by a giant hand. A gut-wrenching sound that made Rob check his wing mirror to see what was happening (he was just in front) and me to check my wing mirror to see if we had room to escape if any of the cars would swing towards us after impact. The further south we have ventured, the worse the driving has become. Today we realised these guys do not drive with fierce aggression, they drive with complete abandon. I’m not sure you would believe the tales we could tell of the total idiot manouvres we almost got tangled up in today. Too often my heart was racing and our vans swerving. Maybe Italy takes the prize for maddest drivers!
It feels uncharitable to make such comparisons, especially when books-n-blogs and other people’s reality shows are about romancing the good life, but this is a record of our experience and so we tell our tale….we saw some similarities.