Islands, a volcano, and pizza / by Mark Ziegler

Naples is lovely and historic. Just don’t drive here. Please, don’t drive. I wonder if Napolitanos are better drivers than we’re used to because they have to deal with crazy people driving. I think this is common in Italy. I’ve seen some crazy driving cities, but this one – so far – takes first place. The others, in my experience, off the top of my head:

1. Naples
2. Caracas, Venezuela. Here, again, you might die. It might be the traffic but just as likely it will be kidnapping. We arrived in the middle of the night and were told to keep the lights off inside the bus as we drove on what I later found out was one of the most dangerous roads in the world. Yeah: the world. So, not exactly traffic-related issues, but still …
3. Brazil. All of it. Many people think Corcovado is a statue of Jesus, but it’s really a famous traffic cop urging people to slow down.
4. South Africa. Maybe it was not being used to driving (riding, really) on the left. Maybe it was driving in an old school bus careening around the coastal mountains (while getting used to the left lane). Maybe it was the monkeys on the road that caused a traffic stand still. Cutest traffic jam ever.
5. Any place where scooters/motorcycles outnumber cars and make their own rules. Wait, this is almost everywhere that isn’t the US. This just takes getting used to. It’s kind of a wonderful literal work-around for car traffic. Just look both ways. At all times. I know, that’s impossible. But do your best without going whatever the opposite of cross eyed is.

While we’re making lists, here’s the list of the best cities for pizza, based on value:
1. Naples. Hands down some of the best pizza I’ve had and you can get it anywhere. The average is still incredible and the ingredients are incredible. I want to bathe in the tomatoes. But, the value is really where it’s at. Most pizzas are in the 5-7 Euro range. I know, right?!?!
2. Other places. I don’t even care any more. There’s no contest. I love pizza. New York style, Chicago style, whatever the style I make at home. But, I think I’ll get a little sad the next time I’m paying 28 bucks for my favorite NYC pizza. Di Fara’s is amazing, mind you. (For you New Yorkers, I just showed my allegiance in the great pizza debate.) It will just make me a little sad for my wonderfully cheap pizza binging days in Italy. Then again, I’ll be able to eat it free of motorcycle fumes and get home with a considerably lower risk of bodily harm from a taxi hitting me on the sidewalk while trying to make the light.