Sunday, January 4

New Years - Italian Style

I was hoping, in the spirit of giving, to start my first blog entry of the New Year on a very positive note. After all, who can come up with something che non va right off the bat, when surrounded by good friends, smooth wine, sensational sounds, awe-inspiring views -- heck I even enjoyed the mimes in Piazza Navona (but not the crowds). Even the nasty weather couldn’t get me down as I stood catching up with a friend near the gates of gorgeous Castel St. Angelo…So inspired, I set out to trek to see the nativity scene in St. Peters wandering back through the center just to take it all in…

All this holiday vibe, even though I had spent the 31st filling out and signing umpteen forms at the post office to pick up the year’s last ‘raccomandata’ (it's my version of those guys who dive into the ice cold Tiber each year end) while playing dodge 'em with the tellers closing windows right, front & center. I then dashed back and forth to the bank before it closed early due to ‘pre-festivi’ hours (who knew of such a thing?) only to find a line so long I wasn’t allowed in the front door. I quickly discovered the cash machine in the new year was upgraded to no longer make the most basic payments (my internet banking had logged me out eons ago). I could, however, load up my phone and buy tickets to the theater (they’re obviously getting their missives from the Post Office where I was unable to buy stamps due to a broken machine but could pay my bills, donate to charity, buy wrapping paper and check out recipes– trust me, I pleaded for simple, lickable kinds to no avail).

I still went fairly merrily along with the flow, wishing a Buon Anno and Auguri! to all I met. But then I saw it: not even near midnight I found that with the new year came even more unbelievable service upgrades. Whereby most major cities on New Year’s Eve add extra transport and increase operating hours to avoid having revelers drinking & driving – heck even in money-driven America the taxis work for free -- the Rome municipality decided the best way to ring in the New Year was to give all the bus & tram drivers a night off. Seriously. Service ended at 9pm, just when they'd close the city center to cars; basically making sure that everyone who wanted to party would get there early and stay drunk longer before getting behind the wheel. And this after they closed the only hospital right in the town center! Their deterrent? More policemen (who probably make more money in overtime than drivers), to basically arrive earlier at the scenes of the innumerable bangups that would surely take place all night long. We were assured, of course, that service would begin again promptly at 8am.

So much for logic. I’ll close with a simple toast to a New Year of wonder & contradiction with my best Prosecco, ‘cuz I gotta get driving across town...

2 comments:

Valerie said...

At least you got your raccomandata. I still have two packages of gifts that were shipped out weeks ago and still haven't arrived. And someone had the nerve to write me a nasty email saying I've been unfair to the poste italiane by complaining about their service?! Anyway, Buon Anno!

Francesca Maggi said...

I commiserate with you. Last year, my overnight Express 24 euro shipment (cookies) to Sardinia arrived 2 weeks late. It took me 6 months to get the refund - only partial, of course.