July 29, 2008
Jerry's Not-so-Excellent Adventure!
What did I do on my summer vacation? Well, as Denise Richards would say: it's complicated. But here goes: It was supposed to be a fun-filled week's vacation on a little island in the south of Italy called Salina. One of my best friends from college and her husband own a hotel on the island, which is part of the Aeolian Islands, often frequented by stars like Sting and Bono. But that's not the reason to go. Simply, it's an Italian paradise where time stopped around 1945. Quaint, charming, beautiful. The first two days were amazing, swimming in the crystal-blue Mediterranean, eating the local fish, drinking the home-made wines. I desperately needed this R & R since my brother and Mother both had been through some serious medical issues which our family was dealing with in a very hands-on way. When things were stabilized with them, is when I decided to take this little jaunt to my favorite European spot.
On the third day, a friend and I decided to rent mopeds to tool around this absolutely breathtakingly beautiful island. What I didn't realize was the moped I had rented probably hadn't been serviced si nce 1945. I jest. It was running fine, just not smoothly. When I would give it a little gas, it would delay, then lurch forward. Nothing I couldn't handle, until we were going up an incline. Keep in mind, these island roads are narrow, and some have no barriers. When I gave the moped a little gas to go up the hill, it delayed, then did it's usual lurch-forward, only this time, because of the hill, it caused the front handlebars to spontaneously turn the the right. With no time to react, I took a dive over a cliff, about 20 or more feet into a vineyard. 10 broken bones and a punctured lung later (7 ribs, a collarbone, scapula, and wrist), my one week of vacation turned into close to one month in Italy (12 days in a hospital in Sicily, to which I had to be airlifted). The bones might be broken, but my spirit remains intact. I am home now, recovering nicely, and looking forward to making my way back to Extra, and interviewing the celebs, which brings me to the Star Sightings part of this Italian saga.
After the doctors had given me the all-clear to travel, we made our way to Rome, where we would then fly back to the states. On the night before travelling, a dear friend of mine took us to a magnificent hotel in the center of Rome called Hotel de Russie for a drink before dinner. Well, I felt like I was back in Hollywood. We walk in, and who's having a playdate with their kids, all sitting at the same table? None other than Meg Ryan and her son, and Laura Dern and her children. No sooner had they been spotted, writer/director of "Crash" among other films, Paul Haggis walks by. He expressed his concern, noticing my cast and cane. Then, while hobbliing back from the restroom, I notice Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis having drinks with director Rob Marshall and another gentleman. They, too, were very kind to say hello and wanted to know what happened?!
To see one of those stars would have been fun, but seeing them all, and having them share the kind words they did, made the whole trip seem a little less painful. I will see you on Extra very, very soon.