Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-10-02

Stayed the night in Perugia

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 21:48:32 +1000 (EST)
I was stupid enough not to have a shower the night before, and the water
was really cold in the morning. I had a luke warm shower with a trickle
of water (tap all the way to the hot side). Hate that place. The
breakfast was at least fresh this time, but not any bigger.

Paid for the train to Naples, then got on a faster service to Rome. We
were in a six seat cabin with a tiny window (trust the airconditioning
and close the window it said). It was non-smoking in name, but there
were people smoking in the corridor who we had to tell off and point
down to the other end - and worst of all, the airconditioning system
pumped stale smoky air directly into our faces for the whole journey. It
seems that they cycle air through the smoking sections first, then down
to us. I wish that I could believe that complaining would help, but if I
ever find the engineer who put the smoking sections of the carriage
where the air goes first, I will personally be annoyed at them. It's
just so stupid.

The train to Perugia was much nicer, but we had to pay a reservation.
There was a woman talking on her mobile phone and getting SMSes all the
time. Can see the point of the 'quiet carriages' a lot of trains are
introducing now - though the fact that you can get put in a quiet
carriage without wanting to be there sucks.

Perugia is built on the top of a hill, and our hostel has fantastic
views. Apart from being in separate rooms, everything else is
fantastic as well. Giant rooms with few beds, enormous kitchen, good
showers (the guys toilets aren't quite as nice as Kate assures me the
ladies are - but such is life). There's no smoking allowed inside. The
cost is only EUR 12 each, the cheapest since Belgium. No breakfast,
but with a kitchen like that, we can make our own. The supermarket
down the road is good, and everything is so pretty here (except the
ugly naked guy in the window of a building across from Kate's room -
which by the way had a much nicer view than mine apart from that one
problem). We like this town!

Kate's one and only room-mate in a room of 6 was going to a free concert
at the University, and we tagged along. The concert was a German Cello
group, and a local kids group playing recorders. The Cellos were
absolutely fantastic, but the audience was crap. They wouldn't shut up.
At the start of the first piece, the Cellos just sat there waiting for
silence... holding their bows and concentrating. After nearly a minute,
someone took a photo, and one of the cellists jumped. The whole group
burst out laughing, as did the audience. They tried again, and
eventually just gave up and started, despite the noise.

This set a pattern for the rest of the concert. One piece had three
movements played by three separate ensembles. The second started quickly
after the first had finished to avoid the noise problem, but the third
(all very young - the youngest player was 12 years old) waited for the
noise to stop. Some moron decided that it must be the end already, and
started clapping. We held our heads in our hands and cried for the poor
performers up there trying to be professional. They just sat their
looking frustrated, and were so distracted that I don't think they
played that piece as well as they could have.

This was followed by an amazing cello solo (Popper Requiem), and then
the final cello piece. The audience started clapping for the final piece
before the bows had finished their last note - no lingering sound here.

The recorders did a piece by themselves (with piano and a few
violins, including one very young boy looking quite the man in his
white shirt and tie! He looked very proud to be there.) and then two
with the cellos. The conductor was really bad, starting them playing
before all the cellos were even seated, and half the cellos didn't
have the right music in front of them. He proceeded to tell them off
before the last piece, and you could see the cello leader sitting
there fuming. The last piece was 'Ode to Joy' - in Italian, with a
small choir as well. The applause started before the last word had
even been sung. Silly audience.

Oh, and mobile phones went off frequently. One went off at least 3 times
- the same phone - as well as receiving a message. We just couldn't get
  over how rude the audience was to these fantastic visitors.
  Afterwards, we found the cello soloist and gave her our email
  addresses, offering better audiences if they ever come to Australia,
  as well as congratulating them all on their fantastic playing. Their
  tuning and timing was impeccable, even with no conductor and up to 15
  of them on stage. Wow! It was so good for a free concert, indeed, so
  good for any concert. We want to see them again!

We're nearly caught up again, and paying for internet here, so more
diary some other time. Please send us emails. We're getting all
excited all the time because there are messages in the 'Adventures'
mailbox, but it turns out some spammer has scanned the website and put
the list address on a spam list. You won't get spammed because the
list protects you from messages that aren't from us, but we get
notified about the attempts. I'll have to turn that off if I get any
more of them. Nasty spammers.

Anyway, we're having a fantastic time. Just about to go check out the
charms of this great city we're staying in, and we want to hear news
from home! See you in less than a month...

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