Monday, May 24, 2010

Around the Campo: Knife Sharpening Guy

I spend half of the year living and working in Rome, Italy. (I know, life is tough.) And my extreme good fortune is compounded by the fact that my apartment is located right on the beautiful Campo de' Fiori, one of the most picturesque and entertaining places in Rome. During the day the Campo is a huge open-air market - fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, spices, jams and jellies, olive oils, and yes, flowers, are artfully arranged beneath rows and rows of large market umbrellas. It is colorful. It is alive. It is loud. Vendors hawking their wares, the chattering din of tourists, the street musicians and singers ... but I love it. Living on the Campo is like having a front row seat to a live theatre performance every single day. And there are so many interesting characters on this stage ... I hope to introduce you to few of them ... or at least show you a few of them, as in the case today.

Early this morning, directly below my window, a man in the Campo was sharpening knives on his bike. Yes! sharpening knives while riding a bike. (Well, the bike was stationary, but still.) This man has turned an old bicycle into a knife sharpening machine - take a look:

This man obviously has skills and does a bang up business as evidenced by the stacks of knives, scissors, files etc. that are awaiting sharpening, and the crowds of Campo merchants who flocked out the minute he arrived. But he did not like tourists taking his picture - you can see him shoo'ing them off in a few places in the video. (Little did he know that I was filming directly above!) He is a regular fixture in the Campo and Jennifer tells me there are 2 other men who have similar sharpening bikes. What I wouldn't give to have one of these guys ride up to my house in Seattle!


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