Talking with locals I have come to realise that yes, Sicily IS different and there is a lot to admire about the people, landscape and culture. First and foremost, people here consider themself Siciliano above Italiano . With that they like to speak Sicilian and some don't even speak Italian - like the man trying to tell me something at the bus stop. I felt so loooost.
There is a great mix of people here after learning of the many different cultures that Sicily formed from and the many invasions that took place within her borders.
And of course there's the mafia...did u know that the safest places are usually the ones with the hightest mafia control? They like to keep their 'regions' in order and quiet so as not to draw attention to any business happening. I think I have experienced 2 mafia 'conventions'.
One happened about 5 pm as i walked into one of the churches. Granted this church didnt look so spectacular from the outside that you'd almost miss it. I walked in to 2 men conversing in the pews. The thing is, i really scared them cos one nearly fell off the pew he turned around so quickly. Now i guess in all reality, maybe one was telling the other of his affair he was having with the local hairdresser and maybe he thought i was his wife or the priest. HE actually scared me - because he was so scared i figured i might be at the wrong place at the wrong time so i said a quick prayer to save me from being at the wrong place at the wrong time and quickly exited.
Then there was the one at the local archeological park. It was the first SUNNY WARM DAY in FOREVER. I entered atop the Greek Theatre to picnic on the grass and get some sun on my retinas to rid myself of 'SAD'. To my left two men were standing close and conversing, then the chipmunk like voice from a taperecorder being rewound is heard. Then I hear the deep voice of a man talking through the speakers...'oooooh what godfatherly-like things are goin on?' I wonder.
Apparentely my genereation of Italians are strong anti-mafia. I had the whole story from the memeber of an anti-mafia group on my bus ride - there are some interesting stories out there.
I seemed to have gained quite the hobby - shopping. Here in Italy there are not so many big box stores. So clothes are usually varried in the stores.
WHile en route from a small fishing village I met what I thought was a nice 'farm boy' . He repaired tractors with his family run business. New Holland is number 1 followed by Case and last John Deere. He took me for a drive around the sea and then we parked for a swig of his home made limoncello then he drove me home. However my phone fell out of my pocket in his car. I didn't realise this until i was ready to set the alarm on it for the morning. I tried phoning him in the morning hoping i could get it before i left for Palermo - 2 hours away. I was unlucky. Santo (from the hostel in Palermo) called this 'farm boy' in the evening to get him to send it on the bus the floowoing morning. The 'farm boy' refused saying he would not give it and that i had to go back to Catania to have dinner with him and he'd give it. I couldn't believe he was holding my cell ransom like that! After much panoic and a treatening phone call to him i received the phone. With a 'love letter' attacyhed. How sweet - blach!
Still a few more days here on the isle of Sicilia - ciao!