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Venice & Pistoia – To Go or Not to Go According to Plan

Shaquasia Myrie

Last weekend, I spent the entire day in Venice on a day trip I booked through FlorenceforFun. Sean was supposed to come through as well, but he didn’t show up. Later on I found out why. He never did have much luck when it came to traveling out here. It was kinda funny though. You can ask him what happened.

Francesco was a great tour guide. He was an older Italian man with a head of gray hair. He had some jokes up his sleeve. Also, the way he spoke about things was amusing as well.

We took a 3 hour bus ride to the train station to catch the train to Venice.  At first sight of the water and boats I was in awe. Its a completely different experience from seeing pictures of Venice and seeing it in person. We took a private water taxi to Piazza San Marco where we saw a glass blowing demonstration. The man molded a vase with a handle as well as a cat. I used the free time we were given after the demonstration to explore the Piazza.

My plan was to visit the museums in Piazza San Marco. I found the Mueso Correr towards the end of our allotted free time. I was contemplating whether or not I should go on the gondola ride or stay behind to look at the museums. I decided to go on the Gondola ride because the chances I would get the opportunity to do so again are slim. I’m glad I did. The gondola ride was so relaxing. At one point I covered my eyes with my green “Italia” hat and snoozed a bit. It was a solid 3-5 minutes before I had to get up because the ride was over. I was taking pics and observing scenery for most of the ride.

Towards the evening,  we had another free time period near a bunch of shops to get souvenirs. It was my first time hearing of and trying hot wine. It was good. It had some spices in it as well. We all continued with the walking tour of places crossing multiple bridges as we made our way back to the train station. We ended up leaving two guys behind in Venice because Francesco didn’t want us to miss our train. They stayed behind to see the cathedral in Piazza San Marco. On the bus ride back, we made a quick stop to pick them up at a different station.

There was a delay on the bus ride back to Florence because of an accident. We were supposed to get back at 10:30, but didn’t arrive back until around 11:30. The next train was at 12:35, so I went to Burger King to grab something to eat first.

It was hard trying to see signs through the train windows because it was close to pitch black outside. I ended up missing my stop and ended up in Pistoia. The next train to go to Prato from Pistoia was at 5:16 am. I also ran into a guy who looked to be around my age maybe older who missed his stop on the train to Florence. We walked underground to track 4 where the train was supposed to be departing from. He boarded the train to take a nap. I stayed outside on the platform and started calling people to let them know where I was. Sara was the only one to answer her phone. I texted Jen as well. Then I called my mom to make time go by faster. She was more worried for me than I was. I ended up going back to track 1 where I initially got off to sit down. There was also more light over there.

Then I called the emergency number to ask for a cab number I could call. I was not about to stay in the station by myself all night. On top of that my battery was low and I kept received this unnecessary text message that was written in Italian. It took some time, but I eventually got a cab and made it back. It was $50. $50 that could have been spent elsewhere but it is a loss I can deal with.

It was a trip for the books.

Water Taxi Ride - http://youtu.be/BmbeV00I0kY

scenery from water taxi ride

scenery from water taxi ride

 

Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

A stand serving hot wine
A stand serving hot wine

scenic evening pic

scenic evening pic

 

Cooking Class Fun

Shaquasia Myrie

This evening I attended a cooking class at a vocational school here in Prato. The entrance to the school reminded me of the MTV TV series “Awkward” the way it was set up.  We were introduced to the students and the menu and got started right away. We were split into three groups. Doug and Kevin were in my group with two culinary students. Each group made something different. We made Prato del Biscotti, which is a biscuit made in Prato. The other culinary students helped the other two groups make tortellini with tomatoes and mushrooms and salty crepes stuffed with spinach and cheese.

 

I got a chance to mix the powered ingredients together, roll the dough and cut the biscuits after they were done cooking. Some parts of the process the culinary students had to do, and I watched. After cooking, everyone ate. The food was Molto Bene! I took a few candid pictures.

 

Afterwards, we ended up walking all the way back to our destinations from the school. It was a 30 min walk which wasn’t too bad given all the walking I’ve been doing out here. The initial plan was to catch a bus back, which is how we got to the school. However, things didn’t go according to plan. I personally didn’t mind walking at all. I was listening to music and got a chance to spot a few signs that caught my attention. I didn’t take any pictures because my memory card for my camera ran out of disk space. I didn’t want to delete any of my previous photos either. It was nice to see a different area in Prato. Overall, it was a nice experience.

 

Biscotti del Prato

Biscotti del Prato

Candid Pic of Culinary Students

Candid Pic of Culinary Students

 

Salty Crepe with Spinach, Cheese, and Tomato

Salty Crepe with Spinach, Cheese, and Tomato

 

Just Design

Shaquasia Myrie

So today I bought new headphones because my previous ones broke. They ran out of headphones in the store I usually go to, so I decided to go to the store that recently opened across from Manessi called Just Design. I  dont know why, but I thought the logo on the bag was nice. The bag itself is transparent and the color of the letters are light silver. When you hold the bag up to the light, the letters take on a dark gray color. I also found it appealing that under the light, the logo is seen on both sides of the bag.

The letter forms themselves are joined together by a a single top bar acting as what could either be  the cap height or the ascender for all the letters. Im not too sure why the letter “S” differs from the other letters. It is more so the negative space around the letter S that is profound.  There is a boxed shape forming on the left side. The only explanation I can come up with is that the J, U, and T are letterforms that are created utilizing straight lines. The letter S is formed only through curved lines. The colored area on the left side of the S unifies the design a little better.Given the gray space to the left of the letter S wasn’t there, there would be more white space between the letters U and S than between the S and T.

The items inside the store itself is colorful, so I understood why the store may have gone with a transparent bag. The color of the bag would change depending on what was purchased at the store. The headphones I bought were yellow, so one could see a spot of yellow at the bottom of the bag.

I also noticed as the bag was held up to the light, one can see and uppercase J with the bar extending out on both sides. On the other end the J only has the bar extending out on one side. The letters of the bag itself are not aligned on the baseline. In not too sure if this was done purposefully or not.

 

JustDesignPost

Late Post, Late for Dinner, I’m Embracing Italian Common Courtesy

Shaquasia Myrie

Two days ago, I had dinner with the Italian family. At first, I was under the impression that the dinner would be small and intimate. I ended up being put in the largest group. It was about 10 of us. The family we had dinner with was Rebecca, her mother, and Rebecca’s cousin. Rebecca and her cousin invited other Italians as well so it was a small gathering of people. There were about 15 Italians that came through. My first thoughts meeting the Italians were, “Well we’re underdressed.” They legit dressed up nice for this dinner gathering. I made it my task that night to try and talk with each Italian there, which I did. However, I only remember a couple of names.

I remember Fillipo because of his mario brothers’  looking mustache. His best friend had a mustache too. I thought they were brothers, but they are just good friends. Also Giorgio was nice to talk to. They seemed pretty chill.

I enjoyed conversing with Giovanna the most. She seemed like a really down to earth person. I found it interesting that she lived in Switzerland and Germany prior to Italy. She also speaks many languages: German, French, English and Italian.  The only thing I said in German was “I speak very little German.” Its making me reconsider taking up German again now that I am meeting here in Italy that speak German.

For dinner we had homemade lasagna and pesto as main courses. The lasagna was heaven sent. The pesto was good too. It was my first trying pesto with the type of noodles they had. Im not too sure what I had as an appetizer but it was good. For desert they had different flavors of Gelato and tiramisu. I definitely had the ultimate gut after eating all of that food.

Karaoke was cool too. It started off kinda slow but people eventually go into it. I sang Destiny’s Childs’ “Say my name.” Other people sang were R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Tyga’s “Rack City.” Andy sang rack city. He was pretty good too. Throughout the night I also managed to lose at chess to James. Besides that, I really enjoyed myself and glad I decided to go. I was having last minute doubts about going out of pure laziness. I would have missed out on a great opportunity.

Lucca Wall Walker > Tightrope Walkers…Just Saying

Shaquasia Myrie

This past friday, I attended the school trip to Lucca. We visited a few Piazza’s. The one I found most interesting was the piazza that was formally an arena. You could see the ovular shape of the former arena as well as the 4 main entrances. In another Piazza, there was a statue with Mary and her son with gold rays protruding outward behind them. The rays were actually colored gold and gave some contrast to the white marble. The rays were curved which is a personal touch I really liked about it. I snapped the usual scenic as well as some pics with people in it. I made sure I spent a good amount of my time at the walls because that is what Lucca is known for. I walked on the trail where people were biking, running, walking their dogs etc. After seeing some teens walking on the actual wall, I decided to give it a go as well. I took a quick video of myself walking on the wall. You’ll have to excuse my elevator music in the video. I have a habit of doing that while I walk sometimes. http://youtu.be/CGSVnUxnXl0

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Ill Have A Sign With Extra Semiotics Please. Grazie

Shaquasia Myrie

While I’ve been out here, I’ve noticed some signs that literally stopped me in my tracks. I could not help but snap a shot of them. The first of these signs I noticed was behind the Prato train station, next to the University of Prato. It was of a man’s silhouette carrying a white bar. At first I thought it was a real sign, then later found out it was a tagged sign. “What kind of graffiti…” was the first thought that came to mind. I spotted this sign a few times again during my weekend trip in Rome weeks later and in Florence as well. This was the most common tagged sign I’ve came across. Florence seemed to have the most diverse tagged “do not enter” signs. My most recent visit to Florence was this past Wednesday for my Italian Art and Renaissance class. This is where I came across the man in the sign again. This time, he was hammering into the bar which had a jagged edge. At first I thought the jagged edge was caused through wear and tear over time. I took a closer look and saw the jagged bar was intentional and took on the shape of a geometric face. I had Doug snap a photo for me because I forgot my camera that day. I was the only epic fail as usual. I stayed behind in Florence after people left to head back to Campus for class. I was walking around with Carlos and Raven when I came across this sign with a police officer hugging the white bar in an affectionate way. One could tell it was a police officer because the silhouetted man was blue with white stripes and a hat to indicate an officer’s uniform.

Everyone is aware these signs mean “do not enter.” I found it very appealing that someone could manipulate its visual connotation while still concluding to the “do not enter” message. I myself have tried to come up with possible scenarios as to why the actions of the silhouetted man fits with this sign in particular:

I personally associated the man carrying the bar as a sign indicating men at work. Although it does not take on the traditional colors of construction signs, one would usually avoid places where men are at work carrying heavy items, hence “do not enter.” The man hammering into the bar can be viewed as a sculptor at work who needs to be left alone. The one with the police man took a little extra creativity to come up with a reasonable explanation. It could be a pun that suggests police love the part of their job that involves security and restricting people from certain areas. In relation to the other two scenarios, the man could have put on a police outfit in disguise to publicly expresses his love for this bar, an inanimate object. In this case, one would say he is crazy, and conclude to stay away. Again, do not enter.

Whoever tagged these signs seems to be creative and would probably approve of  me using my imagination to make a connection between these signs. Special thanks to Doug and Raven for the wonderful photos. Also Chuck who sent me the man carrying the bar via FB. I had a photo, but his was better, so I used it.

 

barsign_carry

 

 

barsign_hammer

 

 

barsign_police

latoG

Shaquasia Myrie

This past weekend I went to Rome with a few other students from UNH. I took tons of scenic and candid photos on my trip. From time to time I snapped a photo of a sign that I found intriguing. One of the signs I took a photo of was of a Gelato spot. At first glance I asked myself “what’s a lato?” then I saw the capital letter G at the end. Then I read the sign again and caught on the second time. Under “latoG” was a subtitle in Italian. I didn’t understand it. With the assistance of Google translate I found out that its direct translation was “flavors of ice cream in the world.” I now understood why the G was placed to the right of the rest of the word. In reference to the world being round, reading the sign would allow the reader to re-read the sign in a rotation after the 1st encounter. I myself read the sign twice after my 1st encounter. This is an example of semiotics in graphic design where there’s a denotation and a connotation. The denotation is what one sees. The connotation is what one thinks. My research on the elements of semiotics brought me to a blog post that gave these simple definitions: http://jayce-o.blogspot.com/2011/05/semiotics-in-graphic-design.html

My denotation was the letters and words written in Italian. My connotation was my relation of the letters to the translation of the subtitle. Aside from type, color was also a tool to suggest a variety of gelato flavors offered at the eatery. The row of assorted colors at the bottom of the sign hinted at this idea, as well as the colors used in the subtitle.  The sign itself did not have an overwhelming amount of color. I personally liked the use of white space in the sign. Gelato it is a very light treat. The white area in the sign gave off a light feel, especially at night. That’s when I took the photo. White stands out quite well. As for the daytime the lettering would most likely catch someone’s attention. There was a good amount of white space to contrast with the black lettering in my personal opinion.

 

latoG

Luna Park Fail

Shaquasia Myrie

Today Chuck and I decided to go to Luna Park, an amusement park out in Prato. We got lost in the progress and I thought it was a good time to capture the moment. We found our way back and went to the Kebab Place by Toscana. I took a really long nap afterward because we were walking for a while, definately over an hour. It was a nice day out so I didn’t mind. I honestly do not know if Im going to gain weight from all this food I’ve been eating while out here or lose weight from all the walking that I’m doing. Im hoping for option 2 though.