Changing Temples Pt. 11

Changing Temples Pt. 11
Deportation Avoidance Behaviors

“I am trying to move on to Italy as soon as possible as I hate this Catholic country with its hundred races and thousand languages. . . . Pola is a back-of-God-speed placeā€”a naval Siberia . . . . Istria is a long boring place wedged into the Adriatic peopled by ignorant Slavs who wear little red caps and colossal breeches.” James Joyce

I am in violation of the Shengen Agreement! There is no perfect remedy for my violation, only a thin veneer of fakery. I can apply that veneer by going to England or to Croatia (or any country outside of the EU zone). Even that is not entirely accurate for I can come into total, acceptable compliance by just going back to America for 90 days before I can “legally”come back to the EU – which means Venezia to me of course. At this point I do not want to go home, let alone for 90 days. Croatia is closer than England and the transit cheaper, so I am escaping to Croatia.

I am escaping, as will be revealed in more detail below, very much like Bilbo Baggins running off without his pocket handkerchief and other things an altogether complacent Hobbit or human might need. In my case, no maps, an iPad choosing this moment to be completely balky with Internet connection, absolutely no idea of which town I should go to, only the intent to avoid a Shengen Agreement expulsion, fine, and embarrassment.

Perhaps if I work backward this will make some sense. By 9:12 a.m. this morning I had gotten out of bed (a major undertaking), exercised, packed, eaten breakfast, taken a Vaporatto Boat across Venezia, purchased a train ticket to Trieste (at the far Eastern part of the boot top of Italy), and was on the train to Trieste. From there Croatia is close – I cannot tell you how close at this point remember because I have no map and no Internet!

Where did all this start? To really show the instantaneous nature of the intent to be in this train seat at this time of day, I refer to last night’s dinner – which given custom and circumstance did not begin until 9:45 p.m.! I had asked a fellow from the ExPat Group if he would have a rational discussion with me about the “length of stay” issues in Italy. The she of the them is from the US. The he of them is Veneziano by birth, trained and admitted to the law in Italy, the UK, and New York. They have worked their way through all the issues regarding extended stay – all to say I could expect a very rational discussion.

It was way too rational! I had been just drifting along with regard to stay limits thinking because of the official Italian web site I had consulted that I was good for six months. He proceeded to outline the Shengen Agreement – which in short provides that someone from the US can ONLY be in the EU (that is, anywhere in the EU) for 90 days out of 180. I knew my passport had not been stamped or examined by Italian immigration, but I was not sure if it had been stamped by Swiss authorities when the porter took all the passenger passports on the overnight train from Paris to Venezia. At dinner we did not know, as one does not risk the carrying of their passport during everyday activities. But, given the actions of the train porter, it was likely.

The gist of the consult was go to Croatia, try to add a Croatian stay that might be veneered into 90 days just by having the most recent passport stamp be from a non-EU country. Croatia joins the EU on July 1 this year.

Sure enough, this morning I looked and my passport had been stamped on March 5th. By even the most charitable of calculations, as of today I am in violation of the Shengen Agreement. Thus, I am on my way to an unknown Croatian destination. I am hoping the cellular data network will work in Trieste – it will not be any good in Croatia at any rate (all country specific here). All this because I like Venezia, and want to stay for awhile!

I had some recall of my friends saying Poula or something of the sort. In the Trieste train station there were maps for sale. I looked at the cover of several and saw that Pula was indeed closest and near the sea. One bus ticket later, and off I go to find a WiFi spot since my cellular still refuses to give the necessary signal – it gives a signal, but not 3G and thus incapable of connection. Bars and cafes go by in succession. No WiFi signs. I begin to ask, each and everyone refers me to what I translate as an Internet store. After wandering (with bag, of course), I found, used, and got a reservation for lodging, as I am very disinclined to arrive in a strange place late, 5 p.m. in this instance – particularly a popular resort by the sea in high season.

Of course, despite the description, the place is four miles plus from the bus station. Gotta love it.

Continued . . .


Changing Temples – The Highwayman Cont.

Changing Temples – The Highwayman
Pt. 9.5.2

This continues the rather prosaic contemplation about life lines – in particular how an iPad can rise to rise to such, lofty, descriptive heights. It can appear a little ridiculous. Bear with me.

What happened, by necessity, was a forced change in world view. Let me describe what I mean. First, one must shed all sense of worldly organization and envision a personal, apartment sized world (in Venezia) without a clock. Yes, my iPad was my watch. A world without a calendar (with two best friends arriving in a few days and no idea of the date, time, flight and no way to contact them, because . . . no iPad). A world without access to financial accounts of any kind. A world without connection with all those people who have promised a Pizza Night, an afternoon tandem language exchange, a trip to the weekly market. A world without all those history notes so laboriously transcribed – and I mean extensive notes on the history of Venezia, Genoa, Firenze, Italy, the Mediterranean. A world without those Blog editions waiting to be edited, finalized, and posted. A world where you can’t even notify Bog readers of what has happened. A world without all those Italian Language Flash cards you individually typed up and which formed a nice adjunct to efforts to learn the language.

Let me focus for a moment on just one of those deprivations. A time piece. Imagine, if the ubiquitous presence of time pieces in our world can ever allow such imagining, no stove clock, no wall clock, no microwave clock, no bedroom clock, no tv channel clock, no wrist clock, niente! Appointments for Pizza or Market or anything else are meaningless without having some idea beyond “it’s morning” or “it’s afternoon”. I even went so far at one point as to go to an ATM and take out 20 Euro just so I could see the time on the receipt!

The initial shock of the loss was quite powerful – long before all the consequences outlined above had become realizations. Two things unfolded. First, I reasonably accepted the reality. It opened an abyss that the above life line discussion only hints at, but not like canyon sized abysses I have known in the past. Outward Bound taught me a terrific life lesson – when you are pressed to the limit physically, psychologically, and emotionally, future pressure along those lines do not phase one because they do not (at least as yet they haven’t) ever rise to that level of demand.

Second, thanks to the dear ExPat friend I was with when the highwayman struck, I was able to email my dear daughter Hannah to order and bring with her on her impending visit a new life line.

Third, I know there was only supposed to be two, but this was a trauma situation!, I undertook to return to my wonderfully helpful, “local” internet connection businessman (Gianni) to find out how to cancel the internet connection so as to limit the damage. Not unexpectedly in such a situation, I was told I had to take the Vaporatto back to the very area I had just left 40 minutes ago to do that task. I did so.

Fourth, I went back to Gianni, as I had a vague memory of his “selling” internet time a.k.a. an “internet cafe”. Yes, indeed. So, I was able to write and ask the arrival time/day of my friends – one wouldn’t want to miss that plane.

There is more to this though than the gory details of psychic consequences. When one is required (“forced”) to loose “connection” with all that is “outside”: family, friends, time, finance, blossoming community, news, commitments, one – at least this “one” – is forced to ask why am I here (in Venezia)? What does Wayne want? the answer to that opens such vulnerability of heart, I can hardly address it.

I am sitting, as I write this, eating Spaghetti alla Bersoni con scampi and listening to the owner sing and play his guitar. No other restaurant in Venezia, that I know of, has an owner who loves to sing. The other day with Hannah, he was joined by his sister. What a marvel. When the Italian members of the crowd begin singing along, i felt things more important than lifelines. What is critical or important about a life line may in fact be dependent on the gypsy’s reading of it. This gypsy was forced to read anew.

There is more though. The sense that Montaigne, Edward DeVere, Henry III of France, Casanova, all came with only their personal accomplishments and “status”. Though it might be unfortunate that this particular plebeian in 2013 carries little of that, nevertheless, there is the one thing left – that which is the ultimate character description of Casanova by the way – the power of personality, the willingness to grab what ever thin thread Fate casts one’s way; to flesh out from the thinnest threads of Fate a present life, made significant however, by all that results from that willingness. Casanova was a man who rose and fell, rose and fell, rose and fell. (socially, financially, and in terms of his actual freedom – he was thrown into the Doge’s Prison at the top of the Palazzio Ducale in Venezia for a little daliiance with a Senator’s daughter). He was dedicated, totally devoted to giving everything to the moment, be that moment rescuing the above Senator from a health crises or be that moment the particular woman he was with. And so, I too was left with only who I am and what I could make significant without electronics.

It should be added, finally, that the next “first” thing I did was go into “Il Bodegon”, a Via Garibaldi all-purpose store and buy an interesting, Italian version of a pad of paper upon which to write this homage to a highwayman for later transcription. In so many ways, I was required to return to my roots where the keyboard was an old Underwood, sadly lacking in the letter “e” or, merely, a pen and paper.

Continued . . .