Thursday, November 08, 2007

If it's Tuesday it must be Naples


I recently took a trip to Italy...one of those whirlwind tours that leave you with difficulty remembering where you are, what day it is, what language you speak, and at times what your name is.

If you're considering doing a similar trip (or if you're not but you want to know what I learned) keep reading.

1. Everyone hates busloads of tourist...even the tourists on buses hate busloads of tourists. You can only delude yourself into believing you're not a tourist if you refer to other tourists as 'foreigners'. The delusion is always short lived and you always carry a twinge of shame and humiliation that you are one of the people that you actually scorn.

2. Italians are very patient and tolerant of non-Italian-speaking tourists. There are moments when you think someone is being rude or offensive, but when you think of how many tourists they have to endure, any behaviour that isn't assault or homicide is friendly behaviour.

3. The only North American drivers that could possibly survive the streets of Naples would be ambulance drivers. Lane divisions and red lights are discretionary rather than obligatory. Yes, those scooters are driving the wrong way. No, there's no need for a traffic light at that intersection because nobody uses them anyway.

4. Sheep going to slaughter likely do so with a feeling of resignation rather than fear. So do people. You want the group of us to go who-knows-where in the rain/cold/dangerous suburb? No problem...especially if you tell me they have wine or cappuccino.

5. Going to Italy for 2 weeks is not realisitic. See how this sounds:
You: Where did you go for your vacation?
Me: The States.
You: Where in the States?
Me: The States.
19 towns/cities/places-with-cathedrals in 14 days is not reasonable...not unless you drive faster and more reckless than a Neopolitan...which is not possible.

6. Nobody makes hot chocolate better than the Italians. N-O-B-O-D-Y!

7. Wild mushrooms and wild boar are better than their domestic counterparts...just a wild Lisa is better than domestic Lisa (or so my husband says)

8. One can get tired of eating pork and spinach, or ham and cheese sandwiches. On my first flight home, I was provided with a snack. A ham and cheese sandwich. I laughed. It was a maniacal if-I-see-one-more-ham-and-cheese-sandwich-I'll-snap kind of laugh. Conversely, on my final flight home, they announced the dinner menu while I was in the washroom. I heard 'bangers and mash'. I bet my gleeful cheer was heard outside the plane, 20,000 feet below.

9. Donald Trump has nothing on the people that decided to charge money for using the public toilets. Imagine Venice...1 Euro to use the toilet. 1 Euro x 6 people per 5 minutes equals 30 Euro per hour. Double that because of mens and ladies washrooms. Triple that because men take much less time than women. 90 Euro per hour x at least 20 washrooms (you know there's more) in Venice equals 1800 Euro per hour x 10 hours (I do math in round numbers) equals 18000 Euro per day x 365 days per year equals 6,570,000 Euro annual salary to the guy that flips the big flush switch each night that dumps all the sewage in the sea anyway. Do you still have to pay if you are a child, a pregnant woman, or you have 'connections' with Uncle Guido in Sicily? I'll ask my hairdresser and let you know.

10. Digital cameras are indispensible to help you remember things that you forgot due to jet lag, as well as for seeing things that you didn't notice at the time because you were too tired or didn't have time to notice.


...like the garbage can that I thought was ruins in Pompeii.


I wonder if any other 'ruins' are free public washrooms that the mafia forgot to take charge of.


11. I want to form my own republic. Pretty little San Marino is a pretty little republic. In San Marino, it's easier to buy guns and ninja throwing knives than it is to buy feminine hygiene products. Walking down the steep roads, I could ponder whether I wanted firearms or knives as my weapon of choice while I sipped on my Amaretto di Sarono. Oddly, it's safer that my front yard.
12. We are suckers for punishment because I want to go back again.

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