Mumbo Jumbo Italiano

That’s how it’s feeling in Italian class. The classic “Mambo Italiano” sung by Rosemary Clooney (whose nephew has a house on Lake Como in Italy), was written deliberately in incorrect Italian, so it is no help when trying to learn Italian. As I noted in my last posting about Italian for beginners, much of Italian seems to be the opposite of Spanish and English, while much is the same. I’m not sure why, but I was sort of pleased to learn that in Italian one does not “mount” one’s bicycle as one does in Spanish. One “goes on” a bike in Italian. But, then I realize that Italian has eight (8) ways to say “the” and I’m less pleased.

In order to try and study, I make flash cards by taking snapshots of my study notes, like the one shown here. This was a day when we steered our teacher into restaurant lingo as part of our cultural education. The Italians have a word for “spaghetti dinner” — una spaghettata — but it means a casual meal of pasta (keeping in mind that pasta can be a separate course). As opposed to a more formal meal. The idea is that a spaghettata is while there will only be a pasta course, there will be lots of it. Also, apparently, one should not take a bottle of wine to a dinner as wine is the host’s responsibility. As a guest, one should take flowers, or chocolate, or cake.

I also learned that restaurants will not split the bill (check in American English). You have to figure it out on your own. Apparently, they don’t do doggy bags either — as most portion sizes are small in Italy so you probably won’t have left overs.

Bogota, D.C. is Dog City

An older sign.
An older sign about collecting what your dog does.

The “district central” could stand for dog city. Here in Bogota, I see lots of Rottweilers, German Shepherds/Alsatians, Golden Retrievers, and Golden Labradors standing guard, walking with their guards, sniffing packages, sniffing cars, and spending much of their working lives not on a leash (okay, not the Rotties — they are always leashed and muzzled even though they are calm and well-behaved).

Another sign.
Another sign about cleaning up.

Lots of reading... about the law.
Lots of reading… it’s your responsibility… and the law.

While there are some street dogs around, the vast majority of dogs that I see are well-cared for and well groomed. The wealthy have their dogs picked up for doggy daycare every day, and every morning, I see dog walkers with up to ten dogs out for their first walk of the eight-hour doggy day. I’ve seen all shapes and sizes of dogs. (Recently, I got a dog kiss from a passing Retriever as he pulled his child along at the other end of the leash. So, although I wouldn’t approach strange dogs, they don’t seem to feel the same way about us humans.)

Here are some dogs patiently waiting for the next dog in their play group.
Here are some dogs patiently waiting for the next dog in their play group.

No pets allowed here.
No pets allowed here.

As Bogota is also a city of constant signage and cleaning, there are many signs about cleaning up after your dog. I’ve included some here.

It's branded by the city.
It’s branded by the city.