Info Hostels photo 61 © Magnus Lundberg

Escaping death in Naples

How I learned to stop

I hereby confess that I love chaos, and the lot of it I had thought I had
found in Rome, finally revealed it's crazy head in Naples. What energy,
what general madness! The remarkably ugly dog with teeth from another planet
showed me it all, lying perfectly still on his back for way too long. Style
is the difference to everything and has nothing to do with beauty. The
napolitans know their style, the style of a Vespa carrying a box twice it's
own size, the style of constantly narrowly escaping a certain death, the
style of gangs of small children burning big bonfires in the street in the
middle of the night. Bukowski once said "to do a dangerous thing with style
is what I would call art." Behold, Naples gotta be the definite human art
centre of the world.

Arriving at Giovanni's Home, the hostel I stayed at during my minivisit,
was like arriving in one of the many joints I have lived in through the
years. It is small, offered a very homely atmosphere, and at my time of
arrival I think it had more workers than guests. It also provided a balcony
great for window-watching the everyday napolitan life; the little fat man
sitting at his table doing something nobody can see, the young girl doing
piruettes around around and around on her little chair, the napolitan
teenager (probably a gangster) doing his homework (or a thorough study of
The Anarchists Cookbook) and the young man with Bob Dylan hair coming out
yelling something in a language I cannot understand, before finally closeing
his shutters to be alone, or not.

As I walk down one of the many narrow, dirty, dark alleys, smoking my
cigarette in the cold cold night, an arie finds its way out through an
invisible window. What pleasures might lay within? I would never know, as
this is the night Giovanni himself is taking me to the place that invented
the calzone (the baked-in pizza), and by some strange kind of coincidence is
said to be the best pizza place in Italy (and thus also the world..). They
also provide some extremely handy toothbrush and condom vending machines in
the toilet. Giovanni had a trick up his sleeve as he gave the chef a little
jar of what I would later be introduced to as 'Nduja, a traditional salsa
from Calabria. So was it that the first pizza I ate in Napoli actually was
from Calabria. But it was one hell of a pizza, and one hell of a good bottle
of wine.

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