I’ve been doing a lot of writing about how great life is in Europe and all of our wonderful travels. Well, life always has a sour side that goes along with the sweet, and I have been remiss for not mentioning it in previous blogs. Now, I don’t want to sound like I am bitching about living in Italy, I actually really like living in Italy. Naples provides Melissa and I with amazing travel and cultural opportunities. But to live and work here day in and day out you have to live in this Neapolitan society and it is really a…. special place. Special because of all of the culture and history associated with Italy, but also Special in that riding the short bus, wearing a helmet kind of way. Here we go.
Last Thursday afternoon, I’m driving my car up to the Support Site to play some Ultimate Frisbee. As previously mentioned the driving in Italy is really special, but I have already talked about that. The Support Site is another special place, it is the Navy-housing complex, built on Cammora land (the Italian Mafia) and signed to a 99-year lease by the USA. Now, I’m not saying that the US Navy is doing business with the mob, I’m just saying that we rented some land for them for 99 years, I’m sure that it is all perfectly legal, in a special kind of way. So, I’m driving up the Domitz, and I exit onto SP 162, “hooker highway” heading toward the support site. It’s called “hooker highway” because of the numerous hookers standing along the side of the highway for a 3-kilometer stretch.
As I get past the hooker section of “hooker highway” I notice smoke rising in the distance. Again, this is not an uncommon thing, like may other third world countries Naples burns their trash out in the open. It is a fairly tall plume of black smoke rising off to my left and I don’t think much of it. The road bends left and the smoke plume drifts across my field of vision to my right side. At this point I start to think that a car might be on fire on the road up ahead, but traffic is still moving and highway speed. (Highway speed in Naples = 50kph if you are driving a three wheeled vegetable cart, or 210kph if you are driving a BMW). I probably was doing 110kph, or about 70mph.
By this time it is clear that the plume of smoke is covering the highway, so I pop on my hazard lights and start to slow down. Smoke is billowing across the highway from something but I can’t see what it is. There are no flashing lights, no emergency responders, and there doesn’t appear to be anything on the road. (Which also isn’t uncommon in Italy). I am going about 30kph as I head into the cloud of smoke and I immediately realize that I am on an overpass, and there is a large billowing fire under the bridge that I am driving over. Smoke is billowing up on both sides of the 4-lane highway and also in the gap between the two lanes of traffic. And then I came out the other side of the cloud and continued on my way.
So this is just one example of the interesting things that you encounter when you are living in Naples. I’ll keep you posted. Ciao, Joe