mercoledì 25 novembre 2009

Foggy and smoggy and dull... Oh my!

Milan is not the place to be in November - it's official. Cold, damp, foggy, grey and generally depressing, the city appears to have gone into hibernation. Its inhabitants are permanently wrapped up in black coats, black scarves, black boots (they like black here), and everyone has some sort of sore throat / swollen glands / croaky voice issue... And think that when I tell people in the UK that I live in Italy, their first reaction is almost always "how wonderful to live in such a sunny climate!" Noooooooo invece...
On a more positive note, the next few weeks will be packed with days off (many thanks to Saint Ambrose for the long weekend!), family dinners, christmas parties, and on the 23rd December, the annual repatriation to the motherland! The black cloud covering the silver lining, however, comes in the shape of threatened strikes by British Airways staff, starting on December 21st. They should be aware that I will personally hunt down and seriously injured anybody who gets in the way of my christmas trip home... BA, you have been warned!!!
I've started a new project a work which involves contacting hotels across the world to negotiate tariffs on behalf of a client, and I have to say it has (once again) opened my eyes a little bit. I now have a little chart in my head as to the relative friendliness and efficiency of each nation / city. Top of the leader board is Amsterdam, followed close behind by Dublin, and then Helsinki. Nice, friendly, relaxed people to deal with. Where does Italy come? Where do you think?!! HA! Back to the old favourite of Italians having NO IDEA of client care (one place even refused to put me through to the corporate booking office because they pope was due to arrive the following week, and they were all busy praying - or something like that...) and answering calls with a "What the hell do you want from me??" tone of voice...
So, I've complained about the weather, I've complained about Italians... What else?
Ah, I'm planning an Open House christmas party, which is a new concept to most Italians I know (provoking the fear that they'll all turn up at 14:00 and stay til 20:00), but I have no idea whatsoever as to what to cook / prepare. Anyone have any ideas of good party/finger food, preferably with a UK / US theme to it?