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Italian ironmonger

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Flooded Al-Quraishi street in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on November 25th 2009: a clear reminder of Global Warming effects. 

   On November 25th 2009, at exactly 3.15 p.m. Alessandro Giunta, who was working in the industrial area of South Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, left in a great hurry his job trying to reach by car his home in the City Centre. His feat was not easy: the Arabian Kingdom’s second city, with a population of 3.5 million people, was witnessing that very day the worst flashflood ever: 90 mm of rain fallen in just three hours, double than the average yearly precipitation. During his risky way back home he saw thousands of cars that were being thrown against the buildings. Streets, under passages and even elevated highways had been flooded, and deaths by the tens were counted in the aftermath.

   Luckly, I add, the city was spared by another impending much worse catastrophe, as there was utmost fear among City Council authorities  that the overlooking hill, whose volcano shaped dug interior had been used as garbage dump, might collapse generating a pyroclastic flow of further dirt and pollution toward an already mired Jedda.

   Nowadays he has opened a brand new store, on January 2017, in Alassio, which locals pronounce it “Arashe” with the r “grasseyè” as the French do. The hardware shop is a peculiar one, showing orderly displayed tools for his customers. Alessandro goes on with the story recalling those dangerous moments: “Frankly, I wasn’t sure to make it. When everything is flooded you lose your points of reference, so I had to drive on sidewalks, relying, in doing so, on the still upright lamp posts, as many roads had been literally hollowed out by the fury of the waters. It took me more than five hours to reach home.”

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   Alessandro Giunta at his shop in Alassio. If you enlarge the picture you will note at the center-left, over the wooden table near the back-office, a modelled metal-sheet structure which will hold  the battery and the air inlet duct equipped with filter. His aim: to give his motorbike  a “minimal” design. 

   The artisan – a right term to define a man who reshapes even his Enduro motorbike’s bodywork – speaks fluent English and has some knowledge of spoken Arabic language, as he has sojourned with his family in Saudi Arabia (his wife had been teaching there Italian to nationals and foreigners alike) for 18 years, first as building construction supervisor, and then as Logistics Manager of a huge multinational company. Now like a mature Sockeye salmon he is back to his native seaside resort of Alassio, in Liguria di Ponente, Italy, where he has opened this business. With his “lost in translation” gaze, he points out that Saudi people are very special persons: “They value you not by what job you have, but for what kind person you are. You can acquire real friends there, as true feelings are most important to this proud people.” It was Mayor Mohammed Al-Farsi – he says – who, beginning from 1987, shaped Jeddah from its almost village dimension to the current megalopolis.

Kit-motorbike   This is the structure Alessandro has built for hosting his motorbike battery and carburettor air inlet duct equipped with filter. Such a tweak will enable him to lodge the battery in a lower place giving his 1998 Yamaha 600 TT Enduro a better stability; moreover it will allow him to trim the seat tail.  

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Work in progress: Alessandro’s “Italian design” for his motorbike tailored front fender.

   Alessandro’s skills: giving the customers the right advices on what tools to buy for their specific need, and also building commissioned curtain walls and structural glazing systems, special  windows, booths or whatever involves precision, respected time of delivery and intelligent solutions. He can be contacted at his mobile: +39.328.66.51.752 or, in person, at his shop – L’Idea Ferramenta –  located at 98 Hanbury Avenue.

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 The Jeddah Italian school stamp at the lower end of the teaching certificate of  Mrs. Ida, Alessandro’s wife, stating that she has taught “cum laude” at its nursery and primary school from 1999 to 2015.