Marilyn Geary

Journeys Illuminating the Old Ways

Marilyn Geary

2014 April Day19 – Palermo and Genova part1


Good-by to Palermo today. A driver takes me to the airport at 2:30pm. At breakfast I said good-byes to the remaining tour members. We all agreed we couldn’t have asked for a better group of 9 people. (Wendy, they weren’t at all like the SE Asia country club crowd.)

So what to do until 2pm? Today is Pasquetta, the little Easter, which calls for more celebration. Many places are closed, but the tourist office gave me a list of open sites.


I have seen most of the major site in Palermo, resulting in a choice between the Palazzo Chiaramonte (two stars in the Michelin guidebook) or the Ballaro, a market I have visited before.

My intuition led me to Ballaro, and I was pleased with my choice.

I immediately met Piña, who had spent 19 years working in New York before returning to Palermo to marry and settle down in a nice house built with his savings. He liked speaking English once again.

As the butchers hacked away at carcasses, I could hardly believe how quickly and proficiently they worked.

Many more immigrants than when I was here last, and it’s good to see some integration.


The Chinese are more introverted and probably less assimilated than the Ghanans, the Indians, and the rest.

Beautiful music emerged from this barber shop. “It’s from Ghana,” the barber said, and I wish I had asked the name of the artist.


Back towards the hotel, I asked two guards I had seen In the same car for the last two days what they were guarding. Giuseppe, from Naples, and Andrea, from Bari, are guarding the anti-mafia judge Roberto Scarpinato, who lives in the building right across from the hotel. It’s a little unnerving to think that the Mafia is still so strong here, and that one of their targets lives so close to the hotel.

The hotel does not advertise this unique feature of its location.


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