Over the past two weeks here in Sicily, I've met more than my fair share of locals. The main contact has been during my morning visits to the local coffee bars in town — but I've also struck up conversation with them at tourist sights, in supermarkets, and in hotels and B&Bs. Usually, the first thing they ask is: "da dove venite?" (lit: "where do you come from?"); and then when they see my bike, they invariably proceed to give me a wide-eyed stare, and to ask incredulously: "dall'Australia, in bicicletta?" (lit: "from Australia, by bike?"). After about 5 seconds, they realise just how hilarious the notion of cycling from Australia to Italy is — at which point they proceed to burst into laughter, as though it was the funniest joke in the world, and as though they were the first ones ever to think of it. Which of course they weren't, since I hear this exact same joke 10 times every day, and since (therefore) I find it neither original nor amusing at all. After that many repetitions... I'm sorry, but it's just daym lame.
It's amazing that literally almost everyone — i.e. about 90% of the people that talk to me, and that see me with my bike — thinks of this exact same amusing notion; and that all of them think themselves 100% original, 100% comic genuises, and 100% masters of perceptive deduction. Anyway, I've now gotten used to answering this standard joke with the tired response: "no, ho comprato la bicicletta qui in Italia, io solo ciclo in Sicilia" (lit: "no, I bought the bike here in Italy, and I'm just riding around Sicily"). This always seems to disappoint them — although surely none of them actually believe that I rode the daym thing all the way from Australia.
Apart from this standard line of humour, I also seem to be getting the same set list of questions from most people that I meet. Where are you from? Where did you start cycling from? How long have you been cycling? Isn't it dangerous, what you're doing? Where do you sleep at night? Aren't you worn out from all that riding? Who are you, anyway, you crazy sonofabiscuit? And so it goes on. It's all getting a bit repetitive; and the fact that the barrage of questions always attacks me just when I've collapsed into a new town, exhausted from several hours straight on the road, really doesn't help. But anyway, I do appreciate that people are interested in what I'm doing, and that they care about me enough to express their curiosity, and to reach out and communicate. I just wish that the communication would take on a bit more variety.