Today I bought new eye glasses. There is a shop just a block away owned by a very nice man who “tries” to speak English. We ended up speaking more Italian but that was OK as I understood most of it. I am sure I’ve mentioned the “culpo d’aria” or “hit by the air” notion here before but I am endlessly amused by it. The nice man who sold me my glasses was wrapped tightly in his scarf, inside his shop. It is not cold right now but Italians are terrified of being “hit by the wind” on the neck and getting sick. They also are still wearing their puffy coats with the scarves and it is near 70 out and warmer in the sun. To my chagrin I find I feel the need to wear a scarf much of the time now too! Grin…
I also did a bit of organizing this week. I ordered a bookcase from IKEA which took a month to be delivered. I have been juggling piles of papers since we came. It seems the idea of a filing cabinet is foreign here. They use boxes that sit like books on shelves. I finally decided to let this system into my life because the Capricorn in me could not stand to be so unorganized. The bookcase arrived and I assembled it. Then I purchased a number of these organizer books in various sizes and managed to get everything organized. Happy days!
While I was going through all my papers I came across the printed copy of “Italy, the Owners Manual” which I bought when we were contemplating our move. It has lots of useful information. I decided to go through it to see if there was anything we still needed in it. Most of the information was about things we had already done to get here. I was discarding these pages but came upon a section on taxes. Car taxes specifically. We already pay real estate taxes (€50.00 two times a year), and garbage tax (€76.00 two times a year) – TV tax (about €100 a year)…but we hadn’t known about car taxes which are called auto bollo. We actually should have paid them on both vehicles when we bought them last year but since we are clueless Stranieri that didn’t happen. It was no problem to go to the auto club to pay the Volkswagon taxes for two years. It amounted to about €500.00. The taxes on the Porsche, however were a bit of a shock. Shouldn’t have been I guess. The bollo is based on value. There is also something called a Super Bollo on high horsepower cars. Turns out the Bollo for the Porsche was about €800 per year. The Super Bollo was €1,200 per year. Ouch. What we pay for our toys!
Another interesting turn of events here in Umbertide is that they are building a regional Mosque in town. This, as you may imagine, has caused quite a stir. Our friend went to the town hall type meeting last night. It turned out to be a several hour shouting match where nothing got done and no real information was shared. The odd thing is that they have already started building this Mosque. I wonder at the timing here. We are going to get the Americans together and compile a list of questions. Luther and I have two primary questions. Where is the money to build it coming from, and who will the Imam be? Pressing questions…we have no problem with a Mosque but if it is financed and staffed by radical Islamism, well we DO have a problem with that!