Monday, December 22, 2008

Trieste's Elderly

Trieste is an old city, not only historically, but by its own demographics. The last time I checked, over 50% of the city's population was over 65, and for Italy, that is quite a record.

One interesting characteristic of this segment of Trieste's population is that they so get around, more than their counterparts in other Italian cities. There are ongoing Universities studies that try to understand how is it that Trieste's elderly population, is the healthiest, most socially engaged and more active in most of Italy.

The sure go around. Cars and buses, some on foot, but the city bus is the cheapest, and more convenient mean of transportation they often have. It is fun to meet them, and to observe them. They are almost always quite vocal, so one can hear even if you don't really want to.

We lived in Trieste for a year without a car, so we had to use the city buses quite often, to go around, and we had our share of "close encounters" with "i veci de Trieste".
Old ladies started up conversations with us, every single time we had little Angelina with us.

Trieste must be a city with a big "baby deficit" for everywhere we went, our youngest kids were "old ladies" magnet. There was one, that we met two or three times near Piazzale Rosmini, she was all over us, went to the store and bought candies for Angelina, she was incredible.
She told us the story of her life, in 15 minutes.

Arguing over who is the oldest and who should give the seat to whom, is one of the funniest things you will hear. "No, you see, I was born in '29 so, I am practically young, don't worry, you take my seat" "NO, YOU don't understand, I remember when we had that bad cold winter, Mariuccia, when was that ..? " By the time they have settled the age argument, it's time for them to step off the bus, so you will never know who should have given up the seat to whom. Until they meet the next time on another bus... ;-)

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