Well, here I am! Where am I? -:)
After two days of travel, one night pretending to sleep on the plane and one night pretending to sleep on the train (a “couchette designed for 5’11” and not 6’2 1/2″), my bio clock is going – “what’s up doc?”
Slept late today, and I’m tired, but not diminishingly so. Quite the adventure when I got to the Venice train station. Made the mistake of agreeing to meet the landlady at a cafe near a Vaporetti (water buses) stop instead of at the apartment. So, I’m supposed to email or call from the train station to let her know that I have, indeed, arrived. Naturally, despite what the official Venezia on-line story is, there is NO WiFi at the train station. You know how much I LOVE phones! Well, there is ONE phone at the train station, and that took some inquiry to find – did I mention how rather puffy proud of my self discipline I was that I worked my way through 16 CD’s of Pimsleur Italian? Barely sufficient to find the phone, actually. The sticker on the phone says (in l’Italiano, of course, and Pimsleur is no good here. But life as an English Major has its advantages e.g. Latin based roots, suffixes, and verbs) “insert payment card, dial, etc.” I insert payment/credit card, niente (l’Italiano for nothing). I insert coin, coin returns to bottom of phone, niente. I insert second, alternative payment/credit card, niente. I go through steps one through three several times more, niente.
Oh, did I mention that it’s raining cats and dogs and cold (wet cold) and the phone is outside, of course! (I know, everyone is supposed to have their own cell phone in this oh so modern world, but is it too much to ask for a world where one does not NEED to have a phone?). Needless to say, my sange froi (I don’t know how to say that in l’Italiano!) was sang went. The mind, of course, decides to work overtime – if I can’t contact the lady, I can’t get in the apartment, even if I know how to get to it. Do I ask that nice young lady with her modern cell phone if she will make a call for me? That is rather embarrassing, not to mention what language does she even speak??? Yikes!!
Oh, did I mention that I’m toting luggage around! Ah, travel light is such a wonderful concept, but I never follow it. So, I return to the one object in the world that offers me any hope – Telecom Italia. I insert payment/credit card, niente. I read the label (thank God, I’m a member of Garrison Keillor’s organization – POEM (Professional Organization of English Majors). It says something in the vicinity of “only carte Telecom Italia”. Well, that explains that. So, I trundle self and luggage to a window selling Venezia Tourist Passes and etc. I butcher the language sufficiently, and she is more than sufficiently patient to explain that, “no, we don’t sell those, but (and the translation gets very murky here) perhaps (as I also took a mime class once, I can combine that skill with my POEM skills) at the magazine kiosk just next door”. So, I trundle self and luggage to the magazine kiosk. The language barrier just went from low hurdles to high hurdles, and I never could muster the courage to even try the low hurdles – what if I miss and fall on the hurdle, etc, etc. But, though impatient with the continual stream of idiots, of which I am just the latest rather insignificant speck, “Si” is the reply. I would like to say that he added “no problemo”, but that would show more interest in me on his part than he would ever have mustered. So, for $6.50 US, he hands me a card.
Being rather proficient at all this by now – hope singing eternally, if barely loud enough to drown the incipient panic, in the human breast – I trundle self and appurtenances back to the phone. I follow directions, Magnifico – it works.
So here I am! Costello 1203, 30100 Venezia, Italy. That is the snail mail address, by the way.
I am also VERY hungry. It was hard to eat well and consistently while traveling – 3 days now, and my belt needs to go nearly another notch. For those who know my physique, that’s saying something. I would prefer a fine, American/English breakfast, but they don’t do it that way here in “refined country”!! -:).
Continued . . .