A long long time ago when I was in the Coast Guard I got transferred to Libya. Before I got to the base in Libya I had to go through Naples where the central command headquarters for the Coast Guard in the Mediterranean area was located. I spent a few days there before I got flown down to Libya.
My first night there a few of the guys that were stationed in Naples (lucky bastards) offered to show me around to a local “ristorante” and “taverna”.
Our first stop was the ristorante who’s main claim to fame was it’s pizza. The waiter came over and I said that I wanted one with pepperoni and onions. My new friends rolled their eyes and laughed.
I said “What?”
They explained that it only came one way and that’s it. So we just ordered pizza.
I asked where the mens room was and got pointed to the “toilette”. When I got inside there was the funniest looking urinal that I had ever seen. It wasn’t up against the wall. It was on the floor and had some funny looking plumbing sticking up a little ways from the bottom.
So I peed in the “urinal” and finally found the little handle to make it flush and when I bent over and “flushed” it, it squirted me in the face.
When I got back to the table and told my new pals about it they almost fell on the floor laughing. It took a few minutes for them to recover and they explained to me what a “bidet” was.
Way in the back of the ristorante I could see a huge furnace looking thing that was made out of stone and obviously had a fire going on inside of it and a guy was putting raw pizzas in and taking the cooked ones out. Nothing like the pizza ovens that I was used to seeing back in New Jersey. It was explained to me by my “guides” that there was a wood fire burning in the back of the oven.
Then our pizza showed up and it looked something like this!!
Besides not looking like any pizza that I had ever seen before it wasn’t even sliced. We all had plates, knives and forks and it was explained to me that we each would cut off our own pieces.
Well, it was delicious! The crust! Wow! I could have made a meal out of just the crust.
I asked, “Where’s the oregano and what are those funny looking leaves”.
That got some more eye rolling and I was told that the leaves were basil and that oregano wasn’t used on pizza there in Naples.
Later on I met a cute “signorina” at the taverna and she also taught me a few things.