Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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Travels of the mind (and one day, maybe, the body)

It all started with an impromptu sort of thing.
Meeting a friend after a long time. ┬áIt’s been quite a while since we spent some time together, we have a lot of catching up to do.
So we decided to meet in the next few days, in Turin, and spend a whole day rambling around the Egyptian Museum. We both love Egyptian antiquities, and the old museum was one of our favorite haunts..
And there’s climate control in the museum – so we could stroll among the mummies and talk, in the cool air. Then maybe a bite somewhere reasonably cheap but quality.
So, why not?

Well, let me tell you why not.
A quick check with the Egyptian Museum website tells me the ugly truth. Continue reading

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Still High & Dry (thanks goodness)

The emergency is now under control.
The Belbo river remained in its argins this time, and it’s not raining anymore.
And we have enough supplies to last a week without going to the supermarket (that’s five miles away).
The weather did hit hard both north and south of where we live – there were no victims, but lots of damage. People were evacuated from towns, areas were flooded, and in the very center of Turin we lost two river boats that used to do the tourist run in summer.

As a side note, the line of submerged lamp-posts at round minute 2:10 in the video is a place where I used to go walking with my girlfriend at the time of university.

Anyway, situation almost back to normal, there’s a lot of work to be done because in the past two days we had other things keeping us busy (like, taking books and electronics upstairs just in case – and today back to the ground floor again).


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Budgeting the Pharaohs

Just as an experiment, I’m trying to budget my trip to the Museo Egizio di Torino using various Internet resources.
As I am doing it I thought – why not write everything down and do a post on the subject.

Let’s see… I’m planning my outing for the end of this month or early the next, on a weekday to avoid the hordes of tourists. I’ll be traveling light – me, my camera, my cell-phone, a notebook and a bottle of water for the trip.

convention_torino_panorama_2

In this period Turin is also hosting the Holy Shroud exhibition, and the place will be crawling with people, while bars and eateries will touch up their prices to make more money1.

I hope for good weather – I’ll move early to spend the hottest hours of the day in the air conditioned rooms of the museum.
The idea is to travel light and spend as little as possible. Continue reading


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When you go fake you never come back

A few years back, my brother, fresh from his Japanese Language Proficiency exam, got in a job interview for a post in which Japanese was a requirement.

“Here it says you know Japanese,” the interviewer said, waving my brother’s CV. “Why should I believe you?”
“I have a Proficiency Certificate.”
“That’s just a piece of paper, for all I know you printed it in your basement.”
“Try me, do you have a text I can translate…?”
“I don’t know Japanese.”
“Well, if your company has Japanese customers, call one up and I’ll be able to talk to him to your satisfaction.”
“I won’t waste an international call for that. I’ll just assume you don’t know Japanese. CVs are always full of bullsh*t, anyway.”

This sort of self-mutilating preventive mistrust is bleeding into the literary scene – authors post artificially pumped-up bios, publishers doctor sales figures, and everybody seems to think positive reviews are fakes.

Now, my own bio is available by clicking on the link up there in the right corner. It’s not been doctored, fixed or pumped up.
And yet… maybe it’s fun.
Yes, It’s certainly fun.
So, why not devote today’s post to my Official Fake Biography?

Let’s see… Continue reading


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Taking a hike

Owen-Latimore-Desert-Road-to-Turkestan-p220-A-HALT-ON-THE-MARCH

Owen J. Lattimore did it the old way in Turkestan.

A few posts back, I mentioned watching the sky as a probably normal practice of ancient travelers.
Travel in the ancient world (and not so ancient, now that I think about it) was done on foot.
Walking.
Even if merchandise and goods traveled on the back of camels or horses, humans normally went on foot.
Walking is a way of going that’s close to the territory, it’s slow and tiresome.
It’s something else.

Now I was talking about health, and getting back in shape (or at least try to), a few days back, with my friend Claire, and she suggested Nordic Walking as a soft, pleasant activity.
I pointed out that here, among the savage hills of Astigianistan, finding people to go hiking together might be a problem – the standard leisure activity hereabouts is sitting in front of the bar, gossiping. Continue reading


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Edgar Rice Burroughs

Today’s the birthday of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the writer responsible for the creation of characters like Tarzan, John Carter, David Innes and many other friends that kept me company when I was a solitary kid in suburban Turin.

Edgar Rice Burroughs


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Writing Prompt – You don’t bring me flowers

Today’s prompt is from the cover of famous Italian magazine, La Domenica del Corriere

600full-la-domenica-del-corriere-cover

La Domenica del Corriere was a popular Italian magazine, published between 1899 and 1989.
It is famous for the color illustrations of its cover stories, which are today a much sought-after collector’s item.
This one, from the summer of 1958 is particularly interesting to me: 28 years old Guida Concetta Rinino was walking along a deserted path, on her way to see some relatives, when she was approached by an unknown man.
She refused his advances, and when he insisted, she scared him away by hitting him repeatedly with a bunch of roses.
Weird what could make headline news in those days, what?

And it all happened by Turin‘s Lingotto station – very close to the place where – nine years later – I was born.

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