Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What Day Is It? Was It August?


     Today is Wednesday and I need to remember that, especially this afternoon.  The reason is that in my village and throughout the Veneto almost all the food shops will be closed in the afternoon.  I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten this hard and fast rule, walked to my supermarket and found it closed up and dark inside.
     This fundamental decision by shop owners is a tradition followed so that the workers could have a half day off, mostly as they also work all day on Saturday.  Therefore, after 12:30, one can expect to find a closed shop and if you are out of butter as I am today, you better head to the store in the morning.  
     Another tradition is that on Monday mornings the stores that sell clothes, appliances or mostly anything except food will be closed in the morning.  The same reasoning holds here, that the workers and shop owners need a half day off since they work on Saturday.
     The workers in shops mostly contend with long hours during the day without complaining.  There is not much of the 8 hour work day rule as found in America.  These workers are in this job for the duration of their working life.  Not many of them are working temporarily as they are paid a fairly good wage.  The system makes sure that they are covered by a great health coverage and that they are working towards their retirement called pensione.
     Workers also receive at least a two week paid vacation, sometimes three weeks, and a huge majority of them can be found at the beach in August as this is the month traditionally for all factories and businesses to observe vacations.  
     Think about this, all the factories and businesses in Italy are closed for three weeks in the month of August you will see a country of quiet towns, looking deserted, with few people walking the streets.  Only in tourist towns such as Venice or Rome will you find open  shops.  
    But also consider that every beach in Italy is lined with rows of beach chairs, thousands and thousands of them.  If you don’t believe me try Google Earth and take a look.  From Pescara to Venice, which is 478 kilometres (297 miles) there are beach chairs.  There are few open beaches in Italy. If there is flat sand you will see them taken up by chairs that you must rent if you want to enjoy the beach.  Two chairs and an umbrella between them for 15 euros a day.  People actually rent them by the week!   Don’t forget parking!

     I miss the California, Oregon and Washington beaches where you bring a car full of umbrellas, cooler, chairs and claim a piece of the beach for the day for free.  Near Venice there is only one beach open for this kind of activity and we call it the “wild beach”.  We have been there are few times, but it is not  so popular as the water is grungy looking because the current brings water from the river and canals there.  You will see lots of floating things on the surface, a lot of scummy, environmentally unsafe looking particles.  It is not possible to see the bottom when you wade over your ankles and I don’t see swimmers putting their heads under the water.  I must say that the area where those beach chairs are the water is a lot more clear.   So in August you have two choices, murky water and few people, or clear water, rental chairs and a beach very crowded with a parking fee.
     The photo above is  the weekend fish houses south of Venice.  Some are rentable and you can lower the fish nets in the water, wait awhile and then mechanically bring them up to a point where the fish actually roll towards the house and you can collect them and cook immediately.


Dee Stitcher said...

Why are they closed on Wendesays??? Is it every Wendesday??

What Fills My Plate said...

Every Wednesday....