I spent the past weekend in Sicily visiting friends. My perception of Sicily prior to visiting, frankly, was that it’s the armpit of Italy. So I was kind of curious to see what it was actually like.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. It was much nicer than I expected, as the landscape is downright stunning, and I found the Sicilians to be friendly. The food, not surprisingly, was excellent as well.
That being said, it’s also charmingly run down, almost comically so. Most buildings are sufficiently run down to the point that you’re not quite sure whether they’re UNESCO World Heritage Sites or just suffered a fire at some point.
But there’s one aspect of life in Sicily I found most difficult — naps, or lack thereof. The Sicilians don’t seem to sleep a whole lot at night, but instead take naps in the early afternoon, between 2PM and 5PM. I love sleeping, so I immediately thought I’d love Sicily for that, if for no other reason. But I quickly realized that the Sicilians are extremely intolerant of people that don’t sleep on their schedule, because they’ll make sure you’re awake when they are, one way or another.
Due to jetlag I was
napping trying to nap a bit later than the norm, at around 4PM, thinking I’d get up by 7PM, with plenty of time to spare before dinner. My gosh was I wrong.
The first day I had the biggest grin on my face as I finally went to bed shortly before 5PM, thinking I’d get a few hours of shut eye. I was dead tired, and I think we all know that feeling where you’re so tired that you actively smile as you lay down. Literally less than five minutes after laying down, World War 3 erupted, or at least something as loud. I don’t know why, but for at least 30 minutes fire crackers were going off through the entire city, for seemingly no reason. What the…? I tried to go to sleep, but the birds in Sicily are among the loudest and most obnoxious, and they seemed intent on keeping me awake.
The next day I decided to try and nap at around 4PM. Again, less than five minutes after laying down I suddenly heard what sounded like a huge parade. I figured I was going crazy and that the noises were in my head, though I went outside, only to see this:
Of course the slowest moving parade/flash mob isn’t complete without the slowest moving marching band I’ve ever seen.
The best part of it had to be seeing the reactions of the drivers. In Sicily driving seems to be a bit of a game, as the drivers there are among the most aggressive I’ve ever seen. So watching them being forced to wait for a parade for 15 minutes was priceless. I was about as amused as the bus driver.
So I learned my lesson. Next time I go to Sicily I’m sleeping on their schedule.
More about Sicily with the trip report…