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Installments of Italia: Day One

You begged me. You pleaded. You asked nicely, then finally you demanded that I post pictures of my family trip to Italy on my blog, categorized neatly into daily installments. Not one to give in easily to demands, I mulled, then ultimately accepted. You reviewed, you rejoiced, you spread the word. My stats page exploded; servers crashed due to exorbitantly high traffic volume. Within hours I received multiple offers of employment from professional and freelance photography businesses, Italian-American cultural exchange programs, and of course, European modeling agencies. Supremely satisfied at finally receiving the recognition I so richly deserve and unable to contain my glee any longer, I sprouted dragon wings out my back, soared into the heavens and played freeze-tag with a choir of visiting angels.

Then I woke up and posted pictures of my family trip to Italy on my blog, categorized neatly into daily installments. Hopefully the rest of that stuff all happens too.

Here’s day one!

DAY ONE – June 23

Preparation
I took the Friday off so that I could pack all morning, leading up to the 5:10pm flight. I’d already made photocopies of my passport, driver’s license, flight info etc on Thursday (like all international travelers should), so all that was left for Friday was packing and physically getting to the airport. Packing took about two hours longer than my original estimate of one hour, but fortunately it all worked out. I called my bank and told them not to shit bricks and put a halt on my card if they see it being used in Italy soon, because I will be in Italy soon and I authorize myself to use said card while I’m there. With a tiny bit of free time left over before my flight, I then brushed up on my regional Italian at my apartment. It was hard to catch this on film, but I tried.

[adds extra emphasis] or “very”

“Whaddayawant?!”

“Beer where?”

“sex”

“I don’t know.”

Getting to Logan
Getting to Logan was very stressful. Sarah works very close to Fenway, which is sort of close to Logan. The plan was, I drive Sarah’s car to her office, she drives me to Logan, and goes back to her office with her car. A slick, efficient, beautiful plan. But to quote Ryan Phillippe in The Way of the Gun, “I think a plan is just a list of shit that don’t happen.”

There was an insane amount of traffic. INSANE. Getting from Fenway to Logan should take say, 15 minutes on average; I’d allotted 50. I needed every single one of those extra 35 minutes. It was bumper to bumper the entire way, due to A) construction inside the Ted Williams Tunnel and B) it’s Friday at 2:30pm and every dickhead who works in Boston has left work early to ‘beat the rush’ to the cape. So, the clock’s ticking in a big way. Additionally (and I should have known this) Sarah’s gas tank is perpetually on empty. I’ve never seen it more than a quarter full, but this time it was at the lowest end of the red and the gas light was on. In my haste I just didn’t notice. I don’t understand this at all and have mentioned it to her before. She just always seems to have just enough gas to get from point A to point B and then to a gas station, where she’ll dribble in another like, $7 worth of gas at a time. JUST FILL IT UP ONCE. Fill it up once, then keep throwing in your freaking $7 at a time like you normally do, except this way, if you ever drive longer than you think you might, you’re at least sitting on another 3/4 a tank of gas and your crotch and armpits won’t flood with terror piss and icy nervous sweat [respectively] like mine did on Friday (sorry about the seat). If she runs out of gas, we break down in this hell-traffic. If that happens I miss my flight. If I miss my flight, my family will be waiting for me in the airport in Rome until God knows when, and I have no way to contact anyone about my delay. They could leave Rome without me, essentially stranding me there. Do you want me to be stranded in Rome Sarah? Prostituting myself for Euros and living off a diet of old wine and crusty prosciutto? If you’re reading this I’ll bet your tank has less than 1/4 in it right now. Sometimes I just don’t understand you. Hey whoops, sorry I got sidetracked. Anyway I made it just in time and Sarah presumably ran out of gas leaving Logan, (just kidding, she miraculously made it to a gas station), and I am very grateful for the ride. But fill your freakin’ tank.

The Flight
The flight was long and boring. I sat behind a hippie who was quiet, but stank. Attention people with thick dreads: often your hair smells bad. I can say, the flight attendants at Alitalia may not speak English very well, but boy do they take care of you. For the eight hour flight I got two meals, snacks and multiple beverage runs; beer and wine was free even for us low-lives in coach. Gratzi!

Rome Airport
Very hot, very humid, and lots of stank. Oh and can I just say that Italian customs doesn’t give a single F-bomb about like anything. The guy somehow managed to stamp my passport without looking at it or me. Impressive sir. Your lack of commitment to your job is impressive.

Leaving Rome Airport
Most of my family touched down in Rome at some point on 6/24. The Qualliotines (my aunt Nikki, uncle Roy and cousins Erica and Abby) were just about an hour behind me. As instructed, I waited by the rental car booth for them and read World War Z. It would have been odd if they’d actually instructed me to read World War Z, but I’m instructing you to. I’ve had it for years and read it about a million times; they’re making a movie soon with Brad Pitt. Don’t believe me? Google it yourself! Anyway the Qualliotines got there, we snagged a rental car and then hit the road for Spoleto. Oh, and we immediately got lost within about 10 minutes of leaving the airport. Here’s a picture of a sign I took while we were pulled over at a rest stop asking for directions. Rome is in the middle.

Turns out we were going the right way but didn’t even know it, derr-herr! The trouble is, the roads, even the highways, are not marked clearly and when they are it’s in Italian. If only I’d brushed up on more words Friday morning.

After about two hours we arrived at Spoleto, a small town north of Rome. We met up with the last Qualliotine, my cousin Jesse, who’d been backpacking around Europe for the past two weeks with one of his buddies. He’d been waiting for us at the station for an hour or two, not too shabby at all. We grabbed a quick un-fulfilling bite at a gelato shop, then crammed back into the car and drove the final two kilometers to our villa in the tiny town of Eggi.

The Villa
Our family lived out of a villa for the duration of the trip, which essentially was like a small mansion or a very large house. We were the first ones there, and were greeted by Cameron, the general manager of the property. Cameron, a New Zealander, spoke Italian and English. He took our names and  showed us each to our rooms.

The view of the backyard and pool from out my window.

Gradually additional family members trickled in. The six hour time difference was playing some pretty heavy tricks on all my cycles at this point, so I konked out for about three hours, woke up in time for dinner, (a delicious lasagna) and then went back to bed. Goodnight Day One!

Day Two awaits.

I lulled myself to sleep with grisly detailed survivor accounts of the zombie apocalypse. Seriously, read World War Z.

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