Already 2009. Since I last wrote I’ve taken a few trips. One to Europe and Asia with Mom shooting MY NOSE: THE BIGGER VERSION. We were in Venice when it started snowing and then changed to rain. The streets flooded and they put out walkways. It was quite an experience but nothing like three days after we left. The entire city was under water. Did you see the pictures? In some cases, the water was up to people’s waist. Water in buildings, homes. We would have been trapped. We had an opportunity to connect with several interesting people on our journey that I had pre-arranged. In Venice I was interested to learn about the Jewish population there and the history of the Jews. Met Riccardo Calimani, an well known and prolific author. One if his books is about the Venice Ghetto which was the first Jewish ghetto. We visited the synagogues, met with the president of the community and the chief Rabbi. There are only around 460 Jews in Venice. For that matter, the number of Venetians is rapidly declining. Many are leaving since it is becoming more difficult there to make a living. I hadn’t been to Venice since I was fifteen, when I went to study. That was a few years ago. I was amazed to see how many Chinese were living there and doing business. In fact, they are manufacturing imitation Murano glass items and leather goods and selling it for much less than the Italian made goods. It is wiping out the local Italian made products due to pricing. An Italian businessman who owned a leather goods shop on the Rialto Bridge was so upset. His family goes back generations making high quality leather bags. When mom questioned him about his higher prices, he was offended. He looked at me and told me the story and asked that I boycott the Chinese merchants. You know, my heart went out to him. When we went to eat in a restaurant there was no Italian in site working there. All I could see were Chinese and Bangladesh. I am all about diversity and growing and living in NY, there can’t be a place in the world anymore divers than here. However, I was saddened and missed the Venice I knew of the past. The culture I enjoyed visiting and experiencing.