"You come all this way and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair. We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”
I am now in Florence, having rung in the new year just hours ago in a quaint piazza, many carabinieri milling about. I asked one where the party was going to be after finishing my meal of linguini all’astice and Negroni. He responded, “Nowhere. There is no party. Go home and go to sleep,” though laughing. Whilst walking back to the 19th century hotel on the banks of the Arno, I realized they were actively breaking groups of people up, Covid etc., but this being Italy, the party happened anyway.
Back in Los Angeles, a different sort of party was taking place on the banks of the Pacific as 4 million gallons of untreated sewage escaped from a 48-inch wide pipe, fleeing into the Dominguez Channel then losing itself in the ocean.
Beaches all over the county were immediately shuttered as water safety inspection teams raced in to assess the damage.
This is the second major sewage spill in the region in the last six months after 17 gallons of sewage spewed into Santa Monica Bay this July. Officials say “climate change creates perfect storm of raw sewage and rainfall in the cities that can least afford it” but the sentiment does nothing to salve the wounds of tourists.
Sandi Williams, who traveled to Southern California from suburban Massachusetts for the holidays, told the Los Angeles Times, “You come all this way and you don’t get to play in the sand or the ocean? That doesn’t seem fair. We were so looking forward to this change in scenery, but like everywhere, there’s catastrophe.”
There’s no catastrophe in Florence. Things very wonderful and Ms. Williams should think about just coming here.