Thursday, November 17, 2011

The human Zoo

I have been Home to Italy for only three weeks this year.   But I am still targeted as a tourist even if I do not speak and carry my shopping bag.   But I am targeted by the homeless and those asking for money.
Perhaps I notice them more this year since I am traveling in November and there are not as many tourists
walking the miles of lovely streets and alleys. 

But after saying no or nothing endlessly over the past weeks it struck me yesterday that the homeless, beggars, street beggars and disabled asking for money often try to out do each other with their pleas or needs.  But watching others (including myself) pass by without taking any notice, the needy could be  exhibits in a human zoo.   The more unusual or unique zoo resident gets more attention.

The idea of a human zoo stuck me with such force that at once I felt the Italian Catholic guilt heavy on my back.  It would be impossible to give to all of them and if you say no they do not harass or press their case.   But I saw a server at one of the cafes today push a "Gypsy" away from the entrance.    I don't know what the woman was asking the patrons for.  She was  eating a paninni or a sandwich so it was not for food.  But the  emotional brutality of the pushing (not physical) was a shock. 

I wonder if Italy has shelters or food banks for the needy.   Does the church help them?  There are enough churches in each town to cover the small town in New Jersey I live in when I am not Home to Italy.  When the tourists leave, who will care for the human zoo?

this years adventure to Italy, solo

I try to return Home To Italy every year.    With our employment situation in the USA today it has become more difficult each year.   But my sister reminds me "I could be dead next year" so I find a way to continue my  yearly adventure in Italy.

This year I found a 1/2 price sale on the only ship going east from NYC and arrived in Great Britian 7 days later.   A separate post will share with you how a "back packing train rider fits in on a luxury cruise ship".  

I had not be to London in many years and thought it would be a good begining to my Italian adventure.
Fast forward to arriving by plane in Florence Italy.  I had no idea the air port was so close to the city.
Within 1/2 an hour i was back in the city where all my adventures started more than 30 years ago.
Yes Florence is still a tourist destination and very busy but it is also a medival city if there are no cars.  The buildings are old palazzos converted for current uses.  But I am always amazed at the intense blue of the sky as I peer up between the grey stone canyons.

You come alive when you live in Italy.