Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't Drink the Water in Mexico

We made it out for our walk pretty early this morning, but still not early enough.  It was unbearably hot and we cut the walk short to avoid passing out.  The grapes are starting to develop on the vines, and right now they're about the size of raisins.  We passed by a small vineyard on our walk, and I know it's hard to see, but here they are:

There's a ditch on the side of the road in Santissima that always has at least 5 of the most beautiful, vibrant dragonflies, and today I was able to get a picture.  Everything is blue, from the tail to the wings to the head.

Christine and I leave for the weekend in Venice tomorrow afternoon, and, as you know by now, I could go on and on about the city built on water.  There's never a shortage of water in Venice, but how do they get safe drinking water to the city?  The drinking water is actually funneled in from the nearby mountains, and rests in a vat underneath the buildings.  As the water is used, more water flows from the mountains to fill the vat again.  Venice takes pride in its clean water, and encourages the community and tourists alike to drink the tap water.  Italians are actually the world's biggest consumers of bottled water, and in 2008, Venice ran a campaign trying to encourage the 19 million yearly tourists to re-fill free empty bottles with water from one of the city's 122 fountains.  The water runs at a slow drip constantly, so the birds take advantage of the clean water as well.

You can also find water fountains all throughout Italy, but the only ones I've seen running are in Venice. I read on the internet that the fountains connected to buildings are the property and responsibility of the person who owns the building, so they don't run them to avoid the cost of water and repairs.

While we're on the subject of water, Venice has, on very rare occasion, suffered from the non-volatile, compound substance that can take form as a liquid, solid, or gas.  Or lack thereof I should say.  Several times throughout history, the low tide has gone so low that it has drained all the water out of the smaller canals, leaving nothing but the 100 feet (yes, 100 feet!) of mud, making it impossible for boats to pass through.  AANNNNNDD, only twice in the history of Venice, the water in the canals and surrounding area has actually frozen solid, turning the entire chain of islands into a giant ice skating rink.  People were actually able to walk on the ice from Burano ALL the way to the Rialto bridge, which, at the time, was completely unnecessary because you could walk right underneath!

Christine and I are still waiting to see someone fall in, and it would be SUPER cool to see 2 boats run into each other, but apparently the latter of the 2 happens very rarely.  The gondolas are so agile and quick to turn that they hardly ever run into anything, and there's an unspoken respect for the gondolas amongst the other boats on the water, so the motor boats often get out of the way for the gondolas to pass.  The gondolas are built so precisely and specifically for the city that there are only 2 places in the entire city that they can't pass through.  Every single corner and maneuver between buildings can be made in the 36 foot long boat except 2!

We'll be on the lookout this weekend for water activity, and I'll also keep my camera handy for some more amazing people watching photos.  Venice seriously is the best people watching place in the world.

Today my favorite thing about Italy is:  The recycling system.  I was thinking today how weird it will be when I return to the states and no longer have to scrape my food into the bio bin before putting it in the sink.  It's such an easy task and is so good for the environment, but yet we don't do it in the most technologically advanced country in the world.  We also recycle all of our water bottles, and receive a credit for each crate full of empty bottles we set out for the drink man.

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