by Melinda Gallo

Niente zanzare a Opio

Our days in Opio have been full of sun and cool breezes. We've been able to have all the windows and doors open during the day and even the night in our room. It's the one thing we can almost never do in Florence in the spring and summer because of the zanzare (mosquitoes). I would've thought we'd be invaded by various insects in the French countryside, but there seem to be very few.

Our days are long in Opio. We get up at 7AM, get breakfast in the restaurant, and begin our sessions at 8:30AM. The day lasts until about 6PM and then we have an hour and a half before dinner. We are never in bed until past midnight because we've been working after dinner each night.

On our last evening, Wednesday, we had a big gala. They had a Bruce Willis look-alike to host the evening and a cloned Blues Brothers Band. For that one night, we were able to sit down and have dinner served to us. Every meal we've been having to go to the big restaurant area, walk around the different areas, pick food to put on our plates, eat it, and go back for more.

Our gala started at 7:30PM with drinks and appetizers on the terrace. We ate dinner and listened to a few presentations. We ended the meal at midnight. Dave wasn't feeling well, so I had to go alone. When the president of the company decided he was going back to his room, I asked him if I could tag along too. I was counting how many hours I had to sleep before I had to be up for breakfast.

It was wonderful walking outside in the cool spring evening and not be bothered by zanzare. I almost forgot what it was like.

I got back and Dave was feeling a little better. He had missed dinner, but he woke up for breakfast and we made the rounds of the restaurant like all the other days.

We got a bus ride back to the Nice airport where Marc, the guy who was renting us an apartment in Nice, was going to pick us up. He drove us to Nice, which is only a few miles away, double-parked in front of the building, and lugged the heaviest suitcase up three flights of stairs. I had seen the apartment in pictures, but I had no idea what part of town or how big or small the apartment would be. I was a little disappointed. It did look like the pictures; however, it wasn't in a nice building or a nice neighborhood.

We went around the corner to a small Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant and had dinner. We walked to a small grocery store and bought water to bring back to our place. We were so tired from our lack of sleep, talking to loads of people, and eating so much, that we just went back and went to bed. We couldn't wait to sleep and not have a fixed time to get up at.

We put the air conditioner on and left it running all night; another luxury we generally don't afford ourselves back in Florence. We couldn't open the windows at night because the streets below are quite noisy. But, there were niente zanzare a Nizza (no mosquitoes in Nice) either!

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