From the simple mind of Jim
8/20/12 - 8/25/12 95 °F
Alright I am still unworldly, but I am getting better. As week 3 progresses I am way more comfortable than I was at the start of week 1. I took the rental car in Italy alone, without Mark, on some tiny twisting roads in the Italian hillsides and manage to return with the car and its mirrors still attached. I walk into places and can speak to people although not in their native tongue but in English, as everyone can speak it. Meals are long ordeals, and that is the European way.....sit back and relax. They are in no rush and neither should you. I am in no way worldly and won't be anytime soon. I still have my unworldly observations....and here are the latest
Bunny rabbits vs teddy bears - I have observed that all European children carry stuffed rabbits instead of Teddy Bears like children in the US. Mind you the rabbits are very cute and the children that carry them sometimes look like a scene from a fairy tale. But the thought came to me that how do Mom and Dad explain that rabbit is a regularly served food here????? The children must have that moment of terror when they put two and two together. When I explained my thinking to Mark he had a valid observation. At least rabbits are cute and huggable but envision a child encountering a real life bear......now that is terror.
The streets of Florence - 2 rules...don't drive on them and don't breathe on them. I don't get when you walk around the corner on many streets there is a waft of sewage smell that over powers you. Its the home of Michelangelo and Galileo, some of mankind's most talented that have walked this earth......but they can't eliminate the sewage smell? Driving, forget about it. They take pictures of every car entering the city and if that car is not registered in a parking garage they start fines automatically and they are huge. You can only drive in the city center if you are a registered resident. Mind we did not know this on arrival, drove to our hotel down some harrowing streets. The hotel front desk clerk on check-in was alarmed we did drive in and cautioned there is only 1 street we can leave the city on. Our only saving grace was we arrived on an Italian holiday, Ascension Day, the day Mary ascended to heaven, so there are no fines. Based on our driving into Florence Mark and I are not going to heaven.
People smell and don't care - it is over powering and it comes in all ages, races, and sexes. It makes one think...how can the person(s) they are traveling with not say "you might want a spot of deodorant"....I don't get it.
Naked men with no penis....strange topic huh? Italy is full of statues with fully naked men. The statues are everywhere in sizes small and large. In the 1500's they celebrated the naked form. They seem to focus way more on men and less on women. On 80% of the statues the penis is gone, clearly broken off. Turns out when the church rose in dominance after the Renaissance period they went around town and cut them off. Any man visiting Italy feels a little shudder when they see the results.
Russians and Japanese have no volume control - they just talk loud everywhere, all the time. It is amazing how they are oblivious to all around them. You find yourself staying far away from any bus tours of these groups. Italians are just as loud and they usually have phones permanently attached to the ear and they are talking (which where I come from is yelling) at whoever is on the other end. I am finding that Americans are some of the quietest in public spaces. And we are the rude ones?????
Paper Maps Vs Google Maps - I have always found Google Maps to be the bomb. Always knew where I was and alway knew were I wanted to go. That was until Italy. The streets are so small and the buildings surrounding them are all 5 stories attached to each other you are in a cavern with spotty reception. In Florence and in Rome it was back to paper maps. Mark had an inclination to pinch and swipe the paper map. It had no effect.
Every bathroom has a bidet and emergency pull string in the shower. Does anyone really use a bidet anymore? And does everyone fall in the shower and can't get up?