I have discovered (the joys of hopping on a plane with little idea of exact destination) that we are in Pordenone, an industrial city some 50 km from Venice, up closer to Trieste. I say, if this is industrial, Bridgeport needs it badly. There’s a series of great, open plazas, filled yesterday with cafes and sophisticated – looking men and women enjoying espressos and cigarettes – heaven on earth for this caveman. Today, Saturday, is market day, and those same plazas are crammed with vegetable and fruit stands, cheap shoes for sale and every sort of household item you might or probably don’t want. Picture Greenwich Sidewalk sales Days but fascinating, not dull.
The people are warm and friendly, the food is fabulous. Last night at dinner the head waiter rolled up the fish cart on which, bedded on ice, were beautiful whole fish, eyes glistening, and offered us our choice. We ordered a black sea bass, baked in salt (I do this at home – make a paste of rock salt, bake, and at tableside, remove salt coat, taking along with it the skin. Excellent). Before the fish came a series of appetizers: one shrimp bedded on artichoke, bay scallops on shells, etc. certainly one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed, and again, this is supposed to be some industrial laggard of a town.
It’s strange to be half-way through the day before New York wakes up, but there you have it. We’re off to lunch at a more modest place than last night’s restaurant, then more sightseeing and tonight the opening of the film festival. Had breakfast today with Jean Darling, the child star of “Our Gang”. My mother remembers her, and the rest of Our Gang, showing up at my mother’s fifth birthday in 1929 back in Hollywood. Both ladies are still going strong.
Here are some pictures I snapped on this morning’s walk. Notice that we have a Scientology office even here – Scusie reports seeing John Travolta inside, applying electrified cans to the temples of Frank and Cathy Lee Gifford but I can’t say I saw what she did. We’ll have to wait for Greenwich Time to give us the official word. Venice later in the week.