Mambo Italiano (2)


Mambo Italiano (2)
by Faramarz

The Second Part of a Short Story about Italians, Iranians and a Romantic Night in Napoli!

Marco and Gino’s mom Signora Donadoni stayed with us for a month and before she left she made me promise to come to Napoli soon and visit the whole family. She told me in a motherly way that I should meet her daughter Paola and I said that I was looking forward to it. The last night before she left, she asked me if I was a Catholic! I knew that I couldn’t tell her that I was not into god or religion and things like that because to her that would have meant that I was a godless communist and that would have ruined our friendship instantly. So I told her that I was a Muslim by tradition. She didn’t know much about Islam so she listened carefully as I put the best face on Islam.

“Iranian Muslims are kind of like Sicilians! The women wear black and cover their heads when they go to church. We are not supposed to eat pork or drink wine around the religious holidays. Otherwise, we are like everybody else.” She was relieved.

At one point, and after having met many of my Iranian friends and watched them in action, Marco made the following observation, “Northern Italians are like Germans. We don’t even consider them as Italians. Iranians are more like Sicilians, the way you guys are protective of your women and are serious about certain things. Italians on average are more relaxed about life and don’t take things as seriously as you guys do, unless we are talking about football, food or wine!” I think that he nailed it!

I graduated a while later and got a job and moved to the big city. Marco got his degree and moved back to Italy with his brother and Gino’s Alaskan Husky. We promised to stay in touch and visit each other whenever we could.

A few years later I was on a business trip in Europe and took a few days off and headed to Napoli. Marco set me up at a bed and breakfast place and on a Sunday morning, the day after I arrived, he showed up at my hotel with his Vespa and took me for a tour of the city. First we had an espresso at a very popular place. It was the best coffee that I have ever had in my life. Then we drove around the city looking at the famous buildings and sites. Finally, we went up the hill to Napoli’s famous lovers’ lane where young people would come on the weekends to enjoy the view with their loved ones.

As we went up the hill and got to the area where you could see the entire Bay of Napoli, he pulled to the side and told me to look at the scenery and take it all in. I noticed a bunch of newspaper piles, spaced almost 10’ apart on the side of the road. I asked Marco what the deal was with the newspapers. He said, “In Napoli, almost all young people live at their parents’ homes and don’t have a place of their own, so most of the romantic action takes place in their cars! And on Saturday nights, the couples come up here to look at the moon and the bay and then they put the newspapers against the windows inside their cars to have the privacy and then they go at it! After they are done, they discard the newspapers on the street as you see.” I just couldn’t believe it! I’ve had my share of romance in the car but nothing as elaborate as this!

On Sunday night, I was invited for dinner at Mr. And Mrs. Donadoni’s home. They had a large apartment overlooking the Bay of Napoli. Grandma lived with them so were Marco, Gino, Paola and the Alaskan Husky, all under the same roof. There was a Polish maid there too that they had hired to help around the house. It was great to see the entire family, but the whole scene at their place was like a Fellini movie! The dog was running around from one room to another panting in the warm Napoli night. The grandma was hard of hearing and kept telling me “mangia, mangia (eat, eat)” and other things in Italian that I didn’t understand. Signora Donadoni was complaining to me about the maid who didn’t like pasta so they had to make a potato dish for her every day to keep her happy. Marco’s dad was serving Calabrian home-made wine and wanted me to sit with him in the balcony and watch the beautiful moon. And then there was Paola!

She was more beautiful than her pictures. She had the most beautiful smile and the warmest eyes that one can imagine. She was a few years older than I was, but she was at that age that women are the most dangerous, confident of their power and beauty, and have figured men out completely. A man doesn’t stand a chance in that situation. The best that a man can do is to walk away! But I truly liked her family and was falling for her beauty, charm and independence. I had to take a bite of the apple, even if it meant that I would be kicked out of my little heaven for ever!

She worked at a multinational company and spoke English fluently. It was love at first sight. She seemed very independent and confident and at the same time gentle and compassionate. She would be smiling in one second, and then turning serious the next as the topic changed to business or politics. We talked for quite a while. In a strange way, it felt like an Italian Khaastegari where neither Paola nor I were thinking beyond the first date, but the parents wanted to get things done quickly by traditional means! She finally asked me if I have had the true Pizza Margherita and when I said no, she said that she would take me to the place that the Pizza was invented on Tuesday night, before my departure the following day.

On Tuesday night at the pizza place we sat outside and enjoyed the pizza as it was meant to be and the wine. We just talked and laughed and I even told her how I had heard about her ass and all the arguments! She laughed, but for the first time I saw a momentary shyness in her reaction. After dinner, to my utmost surprise, she drove her little Renault to the lovers’ lane and parked in a nice spot. We looked at the beautiful moon and kissed and for the first time that night, there was no talking. After a while, she grabbed the newspaper from the backseat and told me how to put it against the windows. I didn’t tell her that I already knew about the scheme. Once the windows were completely covered she gently came over to my seat and I had one of the most memorable nights of my life in a tight seat of a small Renault.

After a while and with her in my arms, I was trying to figure what my next move should be, I noticed Maradona’s picture in the sporting pages of Corriere della Sera newspaper. It had been several years since Maradona had left Napoli but they still talked about him as if someday he might come back and return Napoli to its glory.

Marco took me to the airport the next day. We hugged and kissed and promised each other to stay in touch.

About a year later I got a Christmas card from Marco telling me that he was getting married to his girlfriend from Calabria and that Paola decided to get pregnant and have a child but she didn’t want to get married. The grandma was upset in the beginning but since she loved Paola a lot, she didn’t say anything. He also mentioned that Gino’s dog was getting old and did not move around as much. And finally, the Polish maid was beginning to like pasta and she was going to take care of the baby when Paola went back to work.

At the end, I came to the conclusion that the Iranians and the Italians have a lot in common. Italians come from an old culture with a glorious past, so do we. They have great arts, literature and poetry, so do we. They love bread, cheese, wine, pasta and rice, so do we. But the big difference is those bus-loads of female Swedish tourists that come for some sun and fun to Italy every summer! We don’t have anything like that in Iran. And therein lies the difference.

Here is Bahareh Eshgh by Sayeh



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more from Faramarz
Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Faramarz. AI is not getting married

by Anahid Hojjati on

He actually wrote that he can't think of marriage while Iranians are under these conditions (not his exact words but same meaning). Admirable indeed.


All's Well Anahid

by Faramarz on

No Need for Apologies.

Is All-Iranian really getting married? So he is taking the vows of celibacy too.

Very Admirable Indeed.

We need to get some before and after pictures for scientific purposes!

Anahid Hojjati

Faramarz, sorry

by Anahid Hojjati on

I apologize for the "tohmate beeasas". May be dinner was sangeen after all.


Forget the hills

by Monda on

Genuine bond is exactly what matters the most.

 Enjoyed reading both parts. Thank you.

Anahid Hojjati

Faramarz, I was a midfielder

by Anahid Hojjati on

If I remember correctly, In junior high, I sat in third or fourth row. In high school, my row became closer to the back of the class, but never the very back rows. If you compare a classroom to a Soccer field, let's say that I was a midfielder.


A Woman for all Seasons!

by Faramarz on

Did you sit in the front row in your Physic and Shimi class?

Soosan Khanoom,
Please be positive. We all want to see you walk down the aisle again.

Esfand Jaan,
I understand what your grandma was saying. My dear grandma said the same thing. But who listened!

In that rarified air of Tuscan hills, the rest of Italy sure looks inferior. But I developed a love for my friends from the south. Their love was genuine.

Mambo Jambalaya!
Loved the clip. Nice summer music.


Tesoro ;o)

by Rea on

When it comes to passion, no matter where, no matter what, we are all the same mambo jambo.


Esfand Aashena

فرامرز جان بی‌ مایه فطیر است! بی‌ مایه فطیر!

Esfand Aashena

خدا رحمت کنه مادر بزرگ منو که میگفت بی‌ مایه فطیر است آقا جان بی‌ مایه فطیر!  منظور مایهٔ‌ای که به خمیر نان میزنند که اگر نزنند فطیر میشود!

حالا هم درسته که شما جوانی و جاهل ولی‌ بالأخره که چی‌؟!  یک دونه از اون درشتاشو سوا کن قال قضیه رو بکن دیگه!  حالا اگه درشتشو دوست نداری یک دونه از اون پر مایه هاشو سوا کن که بی‌ مایه فطیر است آقا جان بی‌ مایه فطیر! 

Everything is sacred


Faramarz jaan, rahm kon

by Monda on

in rooza yeki mizanam too sar khodam, yeki too sar e... khodam

az bass roo in computer o oon yeki haa behnevis download kardam... in yeki ke assan behnevis ghabool nemikoneh!

Sorry for the irritating finglish, I have as much knowledge on the Italian southerners as you may. My relatives are from the North/ Florence area. Where as you know southerners are considered free-loafing, low cultured, mafia clan... and mostly for valid reasons. Not that this common knowledge actually relates to your love story haa.

ino daashteh baash ta baad...

Anahid Hojjati

باشه فرامرز , هرچی قبل از ظهر بنویسم

Anahid Hojjati

میگی که در اثر فیزیک شیمی خراب است .من همیشه فیزیک شیمی ام عالی بوده . کارنامه بدم ؟

Soosan Khanoom


by Soosan Khanoom on

You are wise, marriage really sucks ...

 If you are afraid of loneliness, do not marry. - Chekhov

There is a difference between a spouse and a lover 


نه والله بخدا، زبونتونو گاز بگیرین!




من هنوز جوونم و هزار تا آرزو دارم! بیزحمت تهمت بی اساس نزنین. میخوای من مثل قاصدک تو باد پرت و پلا بشم؟

نه اسفند جان، هیچ همچی خبر هایی نیست. آناهید دیشب شام سنگین خورده یک کمی فیزیک شیمی ش قاطی شده!

صبر کن تا ظهر حالش خوب میشه!

Esfand Aashena

Faramarz is getting married??! when did this happen??!

by Esfand Aashena on

Everything is sacred

Anahid Hojjati

New wedding wave for IC writers/commentators

by Anahid Hojjati on

wow, I don't know what happened but I like this new marriage trend on IC. First it was All-Iranians and now, is it possible Faramarz jan that you are getting married and that is why there will be no new part 3? If that is the case, congratulations and please send invite.


No Newspapers, No Part 3!

by Faramarz on

I was thinking that with the newspapers going bankrupt everyday and most people getting their news from the internet, how those poor folks in Napoli are going to cope on Saturday nights!

A laptop or iPad doesn't cover much!

Thanks Anahid and MM.


in midwest, call it "going to watch the submarine races"

by MM on

In the midwest, they call it "going to watch the submarine races", but the midwest couples don't bother with newspapers. Instead, their bumper stickers say "If the boat's a rockin', don't come a knockin'". 

Look forward to part 3. Thanks.


I guess a bus load of chaador wearing pilgrims don't stand a chance against a team of blonde swede car-wash champions!

Anahid Hojjati

Faramarz, what newspaper did they use?

by Anahid Hojjati on



Thank You’s!

by Faramarz on

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Divaneh Aziz,

Cyrus the Great should be proud of his descendants that are carrying his torch to the faraway lands. He can sleep now because we are all awake.

How could we not be awake, given the circumstances!


I was really curious about your take on the cultural side of this story since you have a strong connection to the Azzuries!

Cousin Jaan,

I have to set the stage for the final scene; otherwise it all becomes meaningless fun (which we are all entitled to, setting aside the guilt factor!)

The secret to life is to love your fellow man and woman. Everything else somehow falls into place.


the suspence was just killing me...

by Bavafa on

Couldnt' you write the second half of the second part first and then go on with the food and dog and the maid :)

Lovely story as always cousin Farmarz.

Maybe one day you will share with us your secret of how you are so loved yet stayed alive :)

also enjoyed the comment by dear Divaneh

'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 




by Monda on

So I pretend I haven't read Divaneh's comment on this one being the better of the two. Ok?


Mamma Mia

by divaneh on

Very much enjoyed the second episode. I have always thought that wars with Romans were unnecessary.