Casting: Dad and son, family from Cittadella, indistinct multinational crowd (with national flavors)
Music: Julie London (Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me), Dean Martin (On an Evening in Rome), Mavericks (Rolling Along), Steeli Dan (Rikki don’t lose that number), Reba McEntire (How Blue), Glen Campbell (various titles), Ciara/Chiamillionarie (Get Up), Eminem (The Real Slim Shady)
As usual, our morning starts somewhat later then all the others, we rush to the breakfast room, where all the seats are taken and half the food gone. We share the table first with two Asian girls, then with an aged Asian couple (evidently, we are slow in eating too).
Back to our room for the last packing before starting the day, then in the car park ready to go: we are the last again!
Off we go and head immediately to the entrance of Arches, the first visit we want to do in the morning (later we understand we did very well in visiting the dead horse point yesterday evening). The first scene is a very classic one for an Italian (thanks to this one, we for sure are not homesick any more, if we were): a double line of standstill cars waiting to pay the entrance fee to the national park. The experience with similar situations we grew up with, helps us to find a way to enjoy these moments too. Our car is in the line right next to an old VW Golf where the luggage piles up to the both headrests, in from we see a girl at the driving place and her companion on the side seat, they share a joint that is at this point down to the real end of the butt, the couple seem not to care and keeps passing it with religious sweetness, using different parts of the car body to remove the excess ash.
This image, added to the line we were stuck in, tells us that this is a different day: Ferragosto exists in the USA too! We will be dedicating the visit to the natural beauties for sure, but we will not want to miss the national flavors offered us by this so colored crowd.
We immediately are blessed by an unexpected gift: an Italian family leaving the first path nearly at the park’s entrance. The boy (aged maybe between 9 and 12), not so lightly obese (nearly heavily I would say), with a shockingly pinkish skin and a sad face, is walking in front both of the mother and the father (lonely child it seemed to us, like a very classic contemporary Italian family), screaming loudly to his mother “dovete morire” (“you both must die”), to which the mother is readily answering “non preoccuparti, succedera` anche quello!” (“don’t worry, that will happen too!”). After this very private scene, openly and loudly exposed to the public, trusting the privacy of a locally unknown idiom, we are not able to resist going around the park and paying attention to other colored national expressions we can collect.
The immediate next one has been offered us by an undoubtedly American family: for these guys, in the middle of a desert, inundated by the hot light of a strong sun, the main subject is debated with strong convictions and documentation (Americans love to prove their enunciations, their statements, supporting them by a large statistical base), the season for college visits is very close, the plans made by this family evidently still offer some space for adaptation, last minutes tuning, negotiations.
Next we hit a British group, very busy in discussing the events that will characterize the next football world cup competition (it will be held in 2018!). We also cross a German family (this one very silent in comparison to all the ones we have seen around), the reason we understand they are German is not only because we payed attention to their soft voices and detected their language, more evident was the decoration of their cow boy hats: they all had a short feather on the side (most likely they were from Bayern).
It was impossible for us to miss other groups of Italians, but the one we decided to stick with was for us irresistible: they were from the Venetian region, we spotted immediately and with no doubt their accent, I need to say we have been lucky to meet them. We met at the point where we had decided to give up the walk under the strong sun to reach the “Delicate Arch”, we stopped and chatted shortly with the lady, her husband after not too long, impatient, pushes her to resume their walk. The lady invites us to keep walking and chatting with them, so we do it and reach the arch all together. On the way back the sun is really strong and we see many tourists trying to hide under the low branches of the desert bushes, we hear a young French group, hidden by the branches, rave about “baguette avec du beurre et un verre de Beaujolais” (“French bread with butter and a glass of beaujoleais”, I would have added some French cheese, or some saucisson, maybe they wanted to adapt and not pretend too much, keep in mind, we are in Utah).
Other French families (they were outnumbering every other nationality, even the Italians) were often busy in analyzing the geology and the history of the place.
After we left our friends of today to their continuation, we headed to the dead end of the road in the park and reached a tree (short as all the ones growing in this desert) and prepare our picnic “table” in the shade, next to a Spanish family. This family was not so large, they were just five. I did not pay attention to what they were eating, distracted by the sound of their chatting. The tone is like the Italian one, the speed of the words coming out was so high that we could have been left breathless if we had concentrated too much in listening to them, other peculiarity (in common with Italians) is that they were nearly always all speaking at the same time, replicating (and amplifying) the sound you can hear under some northern Adriatic beach umbrellas in the summer. The subject of the discussion is the real estate market in Spain where Maria Dolores (a lady named by the group) insists in living in the rental place she has been occupying for a while, without paying for the rent, but still benefiting of the service of a Sri Lanka person that helps in her home. From the bare material side of the real estate market in Spain, the discussion moves later to new living styles that seem to have started in the country: cohabitation, home sharing also among more established families. Here the older man in the group breaks the discussion imposing on everyone his rule for this new model still not completely digested: after the second night “she needs to go back to her home!” (I missed who this “she” was, they were talking way too fast for me, and may be also for Pedro Almodovar).
While this discussion was ongoing, we completed our meal, finished also my bottle of rose` from Provence (the lady in the Spanish group, may be the mother, saw it and I detected a visible effort not to comment or ask about it to me, the stranger. I did not offer as it was enough for just one glass) and started getting ready to pack and go again. In getting up from the table I realized that one more couple was sitting at the other side of the tree, looking for any possible shade, this was a young Italian couple, most likely just engaged or just married: she was very busy in taking care of the acne of her partner during his digestion (this is very popular sport among Italian girls with their boyfriends, it usually happens only in the summer).
Asian families or groups with the typical colored umbrellas we always see on any square in Italy, during our suffocating summers, were not missing here, same for the chrome sticks that are today commonly used to take better selfies (in my times, asking to be photographed, or offering to take a picture, was a gentle way of starting a potential date, is the smart phone stick too a symbol of solitude?)
Groups of our New York Ashkenazic neighbors, with their inevitable white scarf under the shirt (but showing on its lower edge) were climbing with us, for the first time not overdressed in black (in the group we met, we have seen no ladies).
A crowd from Sturges was around here too, with their colored, large bikes.
The crowd in the parking, the lines at the restrooms, all was present to celebrate the proper Ferragosto. This has been our first real Ferragosto experience in the USA, maybe the Trump effect is this too: celebrate the birthday of Augustus the emperor, to forget about other, closer, things (for what other reason would Italians be so respectful of this date?