It was just a week ago that I woke up in Venice …”Venice keeps its secrets until first bird song just before 5. You know this because you are already awake and thinking about where to walk today. A steady drip of song, startled momentarily by sea gulls caterwauling like cats in heat or anger. Pigeons stay silent, busy vying over the garbage day heaps, ready to pounce before the official scavenger man comes with his large silver buggy. Just detritus, hanging all night in colored bags hooked topsy turvy against the black grating of dark windows. But before the official scavengers, motors purr as boats move up through canals. A steady slice of waves. And soon the tap of high heels on stone, as Venetians start their morning passagiata, ahead of the church, which tends to sleep until 7:45. Every parrochia has its own bell summons. Nothing too insistent. A little subdued and abashed at still making the same fuss after all this time.
Before long, without questioning why, the vendors closest to the tourists, the train station, St Marco, repeat the ritual of erecting the same displays of masks, ceramic pins, glass jewelry, scarves, and the necessary souvenirs, just as they always have, day by day by year and year. A rack of postcards maybe. Something glittery and golden hued. Something Malaysian, perhaps, crafted in sweatshops in Mestre, or other dry land.”