When we got back on the boat once it was in the water, one of the bathroom cabinets had opened, probably during a wind storm in the winter and the mirror had broken. So, we needed a replacement one. John and I had forgotten most of the Italian we had learned on the previous trip, and even then, our vocabulary was not exactly extensive. With a lot of sign language, showing photos and Google translation, were able to establish that there was only one mirror/glass replacement store anywhere near us, and this one was about 17 miles away. Since we had a car for a few days, we headed over there to get a replacement mirror. After many twists and turns, we eventually track down the store. It is closed – we are there during the time that stores are normally open. There is a phone number on the door, so we call it. It rings inside and we can hear it. No-one picks up.
The next day, I try all through the morning and eventually, when the stores normally close, around 1pm, someone picks up! I just hear a gaggle of Italian, and of course, don’t understand all except one word, pronto. OK, I say to John we should just drive there as quickly as we can. We get there around 1:30pm and of course, the store is closed. We stand outside and knock on the door and just decide to wait and see what happens. About five minutes go by, and an older gentleman who lives across the street starts talking to us in Italian – (duh, we are in Sicily), and pointing upstairs. We figured out from the sign language that the man who owned the mirror store lived upstairs across the street and was eating lunch. He would be down at some point.
While we waited, the lovely old gentleman who was trying to help us, came out onto the street to chat with us and was not deterred at all that we could not speak one word of Italian. With all the sign language and understanding a word here or there, was able to establish that he was 79, that his parents had lived well into their nineties and one family member had reached over a 100 years of age. He has lived in the same place all his life, but had a son who lived near the beach where our boat was. He was amazed that the two of us were going to go on the boat up the coast of Italy for three months.
Some time later, another older, small in stature, gentleman appeared in an immaculate black suite and fedora and opened the store. More sign language, a lot of garbled Italian, and several young men showed up to cut the mirror and a second duplicate one for us. Now there were five people in the store, all helping us get our mirrors, including the kind gentleman from across the street. We paid our 20 Euros, yes, only 20 Euros, for our two custom cut mirrors and tried to leave, but the kind gentleman indicated he was coming with us to Portorosa and made it clear we were not leaving without him.
We all piled into our tiny little fiat, and he guided us back in the general direction of Portorosa. Turns out, he was taking us to his son’s house at the beach. He wanted us to stay, but we had to get the rental car back. It was now much later in the day. The son, who spoke a little English, told John his dad was googly-eyed for me and did not want me to leave! So, it took us almost a day to buy a couple of mirrors that would have taken 30 minutes in LA to do….. And I picked up an Italian admirer, but not much more Italian vocabulary. Getting good at sign language, though.