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I have become a celebrity of sorts.  I am a prospective renter.

One day I was roaming the streets looking for telephone numbers to call and the next day  there are people leaning from balconies, waving at me to come and look and others  clustered around me giving advice as I wait for the landlords to show up.  The town character, Antonio, whose conversation is totally unintelligible either due to speech impediment or lack of teeth, is my constant companion.  Intermittently he hollers at some unknown person, presumably telling them to come and pay attention to me.

The kids vie for my attention.  “My Dad has a better place.  There are TWO beds.”

I hate to make a decision because the fun will stop.  And truly, the decision is hard.

I can opt for the easy way out, which is to stay where I am with English couple for another week and then move into a nearby apartment (which is waiting for some repairs) for the last period of time.

I have been offered an apartment at the very top of the hill by a lovely Italian couple whose son has emailed back and forth (in English) with me from some other country.  They also have some American neighbors.  And she has a garden.  The drawback is the interminable stairs to get my bags to the house.  And then there is a narrow steep flight of stairs going up and down to the apartment (with bags), and another narrow steep flight of stairs to up and down to the bedroom.  In return there is a small balcony looking out over the sea. And it’s a little isolated, too.

I looked at a bit of a skanky Italian apartment yesterday that is okay.  But then, the only interior stairwell is a narrow spiral of iron.  The landlady didn’t even ask me to climb them; she just took me outside and through another door to the bedroom/bathroom.  Not the best, huh?

I’m looking at another one today.  I’m hoping for the best.  It’s in a neighborhood of Italians with kids, family wash hanging over the streets, and people coming to their balconies at the sounds of footsteps in order to check out any activity.  I’d love to be a part of that.  I imagine myself leaning out from my balcony and talking to la signora next door as we smile knowingly at the bambini playing in the narrow street.

I have all of the options in the world.  At the hotel where I sit in the afternoon and use the internet, my friend has offered to make room for me.  I think she is worried, but I’m not.

We’ll see.