I have been in Alessandria for 2 hours before Paolo and I walk to the grocery store where we purchase: pasta, gnocci, pesto sauce, bread, peccarino cheese, eggs, beer and wine. We get back to his place and make the pasta and prepackaged pesto sauce. The first bite was pure bliss. In all honesty, the packaged stuff you can buy at the grocery store here is better than what you could pay 20 dollars for in the best restaurant in the states. I inquired about this and was told that it is because the food, even if sold packaged, is made from quality, regional ingredients.
After my pasta induced nap and a shower where your only option is to sit in the bottom of the tub and hose yourself off with a ridiculously short hose (thus the sitting), we walked to the center of town, which immediately brought me back to 1998. We ate pizza at the same place I had ten years ago, and it was also heartbreakingly fantastic. The combination of cheese and olive oil is indecribable. I walked into the bathroom to face my old nemesis, the skid plate toilet. I was told later this was called a "Turkish Style" toilet, that consists of a porcelin basin set into the ground, with skidplates to place your feet upon as you lean back against the wall with your hand and let the bombs fly. Were I a military bomber pilot, I would have taken out Los Angeles trying to hit San Francisco. Sure in one case you destroy the wrong city, but in the other case you completely miss the hole in the ground with stinky results that you then have to clean up after yourself. SO I guess in that regard I am nothing like a military bomber.
Having slain the old beast that is the Turkish Toilet, it was time to begin drinking in the local bar. After a few beers a terrible Blues Hammer cover band started up, and I forced Paolo to leave. Speaking of Paolo, let me introduce my Italian host. He's about may stature and unshaven, and he's played in emo, indie, hardcore, metal and grind bands, as well as doing solo hip hop for over ten years. Walking around town with Paolo one would think that he is a god. Every young person in this city is in a band or fucking someone in a band, and Paolo knows them all.
And, they were all at the pub. Where after our drinks we had cafe, a horrible idea at one in the morning. We stumbled home and I enjoyed several hours of non sleepy cafe induced nothingness. It was nice because I had time to reflect on the local dish that I had inquired about, which I was told is a sort of ravioli made with donkey meat stewed in wine. Bring it. You bring me that donkey and I will eat it.