Welcome to Naples
Sunset over Naples
Just trying to fit in!
I am sweating with anticipation.
Neghombo Beach, Ischia Italy
Startled last night by an earth-shattering boom, I woke up smiling because I knew that I was not being stirred out of slumber by a possible Taliban attack or suicide bombing. Tossing my legs over the side of my bed onto the cool, clean tile of the apartment floor, I ambled over to the window and rolled up the garage-like shutter door and glanced over the water towards Naples proper. When I opened my sleepy eyes, I saw a fireworks display more elaborate than the fourth of July in any American town; apparently this is an everyday occurrence in this part of Southern Italy. With a sigh of satisfaction, I thought, "Welcome to Naples!"
The past few days have been an exercise in extreme opposites compared to my life about two and a half weeks ago. Here, it is strange to see a women covered by more than a stringy bikini on the beach, or wedge high heels, shorts (or a mini skirt) and a tank top in the city. Topless little girls ride their bikes in the street; their curly, sun-bleached hair blowing in the breeze, screaming with glee as they remove their feet from the pedals and let gravity take them where it may.
The grown-up ladies are strong, beautiful, and loud, and nobody gives them trouble about it. American women can take a lesson from the Neapolitan women, no matter what their shape or size, the women of Naples can all be seen letting it all hang out on the beaches. My friend Jess and I agreed that there are probably very few eating disorders and body image issues in this area. Why?
Reason one: the food is too good to care!
From amazingly rich, yet light pastries, every flavor of gelato your heart may desire, to "mozerella di buffala," the pizza, OH! the pizza!, amazingly smooth olive oil, and mouth-wateringly-cooked meat of all varieties, all of it is too good to resist. Combine that with the crispy fresh produce and juicy summer fruits and you would stop restricting your diet too.
Reason two: the beaches are too good to care!
As you can see by the picture above, it is absolutely beautiful here. The water is clear and warm; the fish curious; and the beaches clean. Though beach guards (or are they beach salesmen?) attempt to charge you for everything from your chair and umbrella to the sand where you put down your towel, being on a beach in the surrounding cities and islands near Naples is a little slice of heaven. There is no time to think about your butt rolling out of that thong bikini, you just slap on some tanning lotion (or oil?) and run for the sea, pizza in hand.
That is what I will be doing!