Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 6 (Thursday): Last evening in Genoa

My fellow travellers gathered at the hotel lobby. On our way to the pizza restaurant last Tuesday, we discovered ‘Coop’ tucked away from the main road near our hotel. It was a little supermarket. Actually it was a chain of supermarket, very similar to ‘Giant’ in Malaysia. We walked to the ‘Coop’.

Since it was our last evening in Genoa, we wanted to buy some souvenir from Genoa. Genoa is not really a touristy place. Unlike Pisa and Florence where you can easily find ‘touristy’ souvenir, we couldn’t find any in Genoa – you know those souvenir that screamed ‘from Genoa’. So we settled for the next best thing, we bought Olive Oil. According to my friend, at Euro 5.00 even after conversion to Malaysian Ringgit, it was still a lot cheaper. For the same price, in Malaysia you would get a tiny bottle. In Genoa, you’ll get a big bottle! We must have stood out in the crowd of Italians. None of us speak Italian and the Italians don’t speak English either.

After making our purchases, some of us decided to return to hotel, some continued wandering. I didn’t want to spend the last evening cooped up in my hotel room. I joined the wandering group. At our first alley, some of the guys decided that they want to have dinner at a fish and chip restaurant. The rest of us continued walking down the little alley.

I stopped at a camera shop along the alley:
Me: Inglese?
Man: A little
Me (showing my dSLR): Power? Quanto costa? (Power? How much does it cost?)
Man (looked my dSLR): Si. Euro 50.00 (Yes. Euro 50.00)
Me: Grazie (walking away as I realized I can’t afford to buy it in Italy!)

(I had earlier discovered that my telephone charger was not working. I tried plugging my dSLR battery charger into the power socket in my room, the lights didn’t turn on. I had both items in the checked-in luggage. Didn’t want to risk accidentally discharging whatever power left in the battery, I didn’t dare to slot the battery into the charger. Lucky for me I had the battery fully charged before leaving Malaysia.)

We reached a little square. There were some street vendors there. But most were packing up their things. With the help of my T5, I managed to haggle the price of a leather glove to Euro 6.00 (RM30.00). It was not the furry kind (like the one I bought in Florence) but that was okay. After my mishap, I intended to use the glove as my biking glove.

We continued wandering. We found a shop selling leather goods just for female. From leather boots to leather jackets. Handbags, glove and what nots. Very cool shop. Too bad I was on a tight budget. Otherwise I might have bought a complete set of leather attire to wear while riding my two wheeler.

We went in another leather shop. This shop specialized in bags. Small handbags, purses, travelling bags, you named it, they got it. But none of the bags carried any well-known designer labels. The bags must have been locally made. One of the guy bought a wallet. The little shop accepted VISA and MASTERCARD!

We continued down the alley and found yet another square. By now, looking at the map we were 'lost'. We didn’t know the our location relative to the map. My guest: we were in Piazza Banchi. At the square, there was a newsstand. Among the things sold there was a box of vinyl records. The vinyl records were sold as low as Euro 3.00 per piece. I don’t know if you could still buy vinyl records in Malaysia, or if you remember how it looks like. But a fellow traveller bought one as a souvenir.

After that we continued into an indoor ‘market’ area. Not exactly a market, more like shop lots in an old building. We walked along the corridors. I spotted a halal sign outside a restaurant. We went in, while looking at the menus on the wall, I spotted some sort of a ‘halal certificate’ issued local Islamic centre. It was a letter in Italian and a few Arabic characters with picture of what looked like a mosque. I ordered a ‘falafeel’ – some what like a kebab but instead of meat, substitute with vegetarian stuff. At the counter:
Me: Inglese?
Moustache man: Yes, a little.
Me: Mosques nearby?
Moustache man: Yes. 3 (mosques). 5 minutes walking. Tomorrow, 12pm come here.

So the man must be a Muslim for he understood the underlying intention of asking the mosque. Some of the guys were wondering if it was possible to perform Friday prayers before leaving Genoa tomorrow.

After buying dinner, our group split into two. Two of the guys returned to the hotel. Three of us continued walking. This was after all our last evening in Genoa. I particularly want to see their Aquaria – reputably to be one of the best in Europe. Yes, I got to see it, but only from far, from Piazza Caricamento. Crossing the piazza, we reached Porto Antico (Port Antico?). The view was great! So was the wind! With the wind blowing, the temperature could have reached zero degree – if it didn’t, it sure felt like it. While we were taking photos – very touristy – we saw people jogging along the port. There we were, dressed in multiple layers of clothing and still had our teeth chattering because of cold, these joggers jogged calmly in their simple jogging attire!

We must have almost circled Porta Della Marinetta before deciding to turn back. Though the road was well lit, it was deserted. The guys was scared that we would get mugged. Somehow we managed to get to Via San Lorenzo which ultimately brought us back to Piazza Matteoti. We went into Palazzo Ducale. There was a little photo exhibition going on. The subjects were mostly Asian people. Looking at the photos, I realized, I could have similar photos back in Malaysia. Sorry, no photos of the exhibition or the artwork in Palazzo Ducale as I don’t want to infringe any intellectual property law.

We exited to the now very familiar Piazza De Ferrari. Fiftteen minutes later we were back in the hotel. I packed most of my things. The following morning, we were suppose to check out before going to work.

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