Friday, September 19

Italy -vs - Spain Tourism made easy

Ever have one of those days? Departing for Barcelona, suddenly I was thrust into a little microcosm of petty inconveniences which, when they hit you on a one shot basis, bug you a little bit, but quickly go (almost) unnoticed. But when they come so fast and furious, you start to feel like the poor protagonist from that terrific cult movie --except in my case it all occurred in about 1/8th of the time.

The day started out innocently enough, with the usual walk around the block dodging the landmines left across my path by deficient dog owners…and over to my lovely garage guy who brings me my morning paper. Off to the Post Office (which I fondly refer to as my reading room) to pay a bill, I mistakenly handed her two of the same bill. Not noticing that the amount was identical, I was then berated for my inattentiveness and forced to endure signing my first, third and seventh born sons over to Poste Italiane in order to rectify the matter.

Then, it was off to the airport via bus to the train station. After waiting the cursory 30 minutes for a 6 min ride belly button to belly button with people I’d rather not be in such a predicament (and, I’m sure they with me), I asked someone to please step aside so I can retrieve my suitcase. Naturally, she refused to budge. Jumping out of the bus just before the doors closed on me, I trudged past the throngs of homeless camping out at Stazione Ostiense.

At the station, I decided not to use the trusty ticket machines seeing there was no wait in line. Having packed my purse in the suitcase lest the homeless station greeters or the wandering gypsies get the better of it, I was armed with a 20. The ticket was 11 euro -- and naturally, I had to undergo a dressing down by the ticket man for not having any change to give him. I remarked that filling his change drawer was not, in fact, the passengers’ responsibility -- to no avail -- and I promised myself I would never use a ticket window again as long as I walk the earth.

Of course, both escalators were out of service, but I knew I had to endure lugging my bag up the steps to the only platform without an elevator. From there, it was onto the train devised precisely to not allow anyone with a bag larger than a wallet. Perfectly on time, we ended up accumulating an 11 min. delay in the 3 mins. it took to Stazione Trastevere.

At the airport, check in on Spain’s ClickAir went flawlessly. Finding no outlets for my mac, I happily plugged in at a closed Gate counter. When a nearby gate opened up, I was accosted by the Flight Attendant guy: “You can’t do that!!! It is outlawed and against all rules!! Who let you do that?” I coyly responded that if he could kindly show me an outlet in the entire International Terminal, I’d gladly go someplace else to hook up.

“Do you have permission?” he countered. Naturally, I did what people do best, I lied. Magnificently. “Well then, it’s okay.” (so much for rules and regulations, however one of the highlights of living in Italy, I must add). At which point, he proceeded to compliment me on my clothes, my look, and ask the backhanded mother of all queries, "Why’d you come to Italy? Your husband?” Hoping to find I was single. Needless to say, I lied again.

Scheduled for Gate B8, we suddenly heard an ominous loudspeaker announcement alerting us that many flights would be canceled or delayed due to a sudden Air Transport strike. No sooner had I heard the broadcast than I looked up and my flight disappeared off my gate’s screen and every screen back to the departures lounge.
There, we were assured that there was a simple gate change – of course, unannounced.

Racing to the gate with a Catalan woman, she was practically crying, “I just want to go home.”


Romerican said...

Ugh! That kind of day (or 2) could inspire a scene straight out of "Falling Down, couldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Francesca,
Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have seen you on BlogHer and left some comments there but I didn't know about your personal blog until you left the comment on mine... (is your name Lisa or Francesca by the way... because on your comment it says Lisa...) Anyway, I am glad to find your blog. I love reading travel narratives, and I can really relate to your experiences as I have lived in the bel paese... and wonder about living there again... I will add your blog to my blog roll. Please add mine to yours if you're so inclined!

Oh, and your comment about being in the hospital, on my blog, where was that? Rome or Milan? What were you in for? Was it a public or a private one? I had to be in a public one for 3 weeks... UGH!

Irreverent Italy said...

Thanks for writing...Francesca Maggi is my nom de plume...look at it closely and you'll see why...
more later!

Anonymous said...

Never go to Ostiense if you need help with or have lots of luggage. There should be a working elevator at Trastevere, though it is a pretty squalid one. Trastevere also lies very near a tram stop, so you do not need to squeeze into the 23 bus. Buon viaggio,