Solanas, Cagliari, Elmas, Sardegna
In the event, upon our landing at Elmas airport, Cagliari, SouthEast Sardinia, landlady’s mum was NOT waiting for us in the arrivals lounge with the house keys and directions. This was a touch disconcerting.
Car Hire + unfamiliar car, different driving side, different indicators, different aircon, and handbrake works by foot, would you believe! Confusing or what? The trouble with different places is that they can be quite different from everything that you are used to.
Like you expect people to have a language in which you can communicate with each other; and you expect road signs to display information regarding place names & directions & distances. But it ain’t necessarily so. And speaking loudly in English or French or Spanish orGerman just doesn’t have any effect. Sardinia has been inhabited for 6000 years and they have their own languages quite independent of the successive waves of would-be occupiers from every corner of the Meditaranean & Europe & The Middle East. For next time around, we have decided to retain a batman – who will speak Sardinian, drive the car, know the routes, lead us to beauty spots, cook, clean & wash the bottles. And she or he will not get in the way the rest of the time: when not on duty, s/he will just sleep in a box in the yard.
The suburbs of Cagliari are challenging: several savvy-looking people we approached for directions, simply said “No, it is too difficult to explain to you; go away; go somewhere else; ask in a different place.”. We had 3 maps but no notion of where we were.
The roads misdirected us and motorists backed up behind us and traffic lights leapt out of the night to stop our progress, and nowhere to pause and no light to lead us on.
Christiane is rubbish at star-based navigation and orienteering. At one point, not knowing that we were actuajlly in the right place, i.e. in our destination village, we asked a cluster of elders sitting on chairs on the pavement, outside a dimly-lit convenience store, where was our street. And they said “go to the next village, it’s over there, about 3kms.” They were clearly possessed by a hostile spirit, but I will not hold this against them personally, (one of them runs our local minimarket shop, and I have, since that night, joshed with her light-heartedly, in a spirit of cheerful reproach).
SO, it was really lucky for us then, that, just when we were becoming most desperate, and resorting to truly horrible thoughts, a good angel was passing by and was moved by our distress., to intervene personally. The angel guided us all the way to the address of our self-catering accommodation and we met the proprietor’s mum and dad standing in the street in the dark, at 11.30pm!
The angel was not physically beautiful or impressive and did not show wings nor halo. But spoke English fine well enough for our predicament, and how kindly and helpful and caring and resourceful; a true problem-solver! Now I see why they say that actions speak louder than words. And, as soon as job done, and lost souls rescued, the angel moved on – in a very ordinary Fiat 500.
The most surprising fact about Sardinia, is that sardines actually come up very little, if at all! Not in restaurants, nor in supermarkets, nor on the beach nor around boats, nor in conversation. Just no sign of them anywhere! Cigarettes are very widespread – on the beach, in cafes, in the street, all around. And mobile phones are ubiquitous – especially on the beach, in cafes and on the street – with very lengthy, loud & animated conversations on all sides, probably while lighting a ciggy at the same time.
Next time, some archeology, stone buildings and a bit of culture. Shopping? Only if Im very lucky!