Today has been a bit of a downer- the earthquake which hit eastern Lazio, in Italy, and pretty much destroyed the village of Amatrice is upsetting. Those old buildings weren't designed to be earthquake resistant, which explains the extent of the destruction. The timing of the earthquake, after 3AM, was really bad- the poor sleeping victims of the quake were sitting ducks.
While I've never visited Amatrice, I have been to similar small villages in Italy, tiny towns where all the residents know each other, where turisti on the passeggiata stand out, but are taken in, and shown a hospitality that is second to none on earth. It's the sort of place celebrated in song, a place similar to the village which formed the values instilled in meby il nonno mio, my dad's dad, whose parents grew up in a town not dissimilar from Amatrice in most respects. The fact that the very beauty of the place, the quaint, antique architecture and the dramatic tectonics-produced mountain geography, combined to up the casualty count, is particularly horrific.
Il cuore mio is with the people of eastern Lazio and western Abruzzo tonight, and I need to send something to the NIAF for the relief effort. Bad as it was, the timing of the earthquake could have been even worse- a major pasta festival was scheduled for the coming weekend, which would have resulted in a large influx of visitors. In the meantime, I need to make myself some bucatina all'Amatriciana for dinner tomorrow, it's hard to grieve on an empty stomach.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Myanmar was also hit by an earthquake today- it's a part of the world that is often forgotten, but I'm not the kind of guy who likes to think that his admitted Western biases go unexamined.