Light at the end of the tunnel?


Did I mention I washed my laundry in the bathroom sink yesterday? Then strung it on the railing of the balcony.

Today, was looking like deja vu all over again. Since I didn’t get to see Giuseppe’s apartment yesterday, I needed to walk some neighborhoods looking for apartment rental (apartamento affitto) signs. First, however, I went to the Web site I’ve been using that had rental classifieds for Catania (in Italian). Previously, had e-mailed about a dozen listings, saying I was looking for an apartment. None of them responded. Today, I sent e-mails to those same listings, as well as a dozen more. By late afternoon, I had not received a single response.

I targeted a section of town north of the hotel (Hotel Catania Centro) because it looked residential on the map and just walked down one street after another. All of the apartment buildings I came across did not have an obvious office for a building manager, nor did they have any signs about rentals, or phone numbers. They were just big, blank buildings with windows and doors. A couple of times, I found an open door and someone inside. For these, I had an index card prepared with an Italian translation for “apartment rental for me” (apartamento affitto per me). No luck.

I kept thinking that something would change for the better. I reminded myself about similar situations when I first arrived in Costa Rica and Croatia, and how they turned out fine. Something would happen; it always does. I kept looking for an Italian angel.

Finally, my stomach was telling me it was time for lunch, plus it looked like rain was on the way, so I headed back to the hotel. Stopped across the street for a salami/mozzarella/lettuce pita sandwich and a beer ($4.50) to take to my room. Guiseppe was not at work yet.

Finished eating, I decided to go to the lobby, fire up my laptop and see if anybody had responded to my e-mails. Giuseppe was at the front desk. He had been too busy yesterday to meet me to show the apartment, and said he called but I was not in my room (dud, I was out front of the hotel waiting on him). He is keen to rent the apartment.

Apparently, this is a large apartment his grandmother used to rent to students. It has multiple bedrooms, kitchen, bath and living room. Furnished but it has no TV or Internet. The TV is not a problem as all the stations here are in Italian and there is no cable in the apartment anyway. For the Internet, Giuseppe says he will buy me a SIM card. That will allow me to do everything on the Web I currently do, include watching videos. I can download movies and TV shows through iTunes for entertainment, as I do now.

Tomorrow, at 10, I will meet Giuseppe at his apartment. It’s about a mile away, an easy walk. If I like it, I will pay him three months in advance so that I can forego a two-month deposit. He’s asking 350 euros a month for rent, which is at the low end of what I’m seeing for apartment rentals here. That’s $190 more than I paid in Costa Rica, and 50 euro more than Croatia, but I knew Italy would be more expensive.

Also today, I stopped in a supermarket to check out the prices. I’ll have to do a more thorough analysis but it looks like food will be more expensive, as well. It is what it is.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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