Where to start? At the beginning...
One of the last things I said to my friends at the bus station in San Jose was that I was tired and hoped I didn't end up sitting next to a "talker." Well, in perfect universal irony, the young man who sat next to me pulled out a little device on which he typed a message to me: "Hi, I'm Nick. I hope it's okay that I sit here. I'm deaf...have you ever used one of these devices [referring to the thing he was using to type]?" I should have been more specific; should have said "communicator," but all in all it was good. We talked on that thing, and two hours later, I made an attempt at sleep, but it seems I can't sleep on moving vehicles these days.
So I spent a few days with my brother in Hollywood, which was great. Last Friday night he was honored on the field at Dodger Stadium for his perfect usher attendance (and his dashing good looks). I arrived roughly 8 seconds too late to see his 30-foot mug displayed on the Diamond Vision screen, but it was cool all the same.
After a few days of playing with him and his Super Cool group of friends, I set out for my adventure.
Sunday night: no sleep on an overnight flight to New York.
Monday: eleven hours wandering in midtown Manhattan. Nice.
Monday night: no sleep on an overnight flight to Rome.
First lesson in Italian men: don't trust Italian men who warn you about Italian men. I was talking to this man while waiting to board. He lives in San Diego and was returing to Rome to visit his parents. Well, that was his story anyway. He was warning me about the men here (I'm writing from Rome) and how they will tell you anything and blah blah blah. As we boarded, he was telling me about the perfume he bought for his mother. A few minutes later, he brought up the perfume again (one called 'Paris'), and when I told him that I didn't know anything about perfume, he said, verbatim, " I don't usually buy the new one, but sometime my wife, I mean, no my wife, my mother...she like to..." I didn't hear the rest because I had walked away at that point. When somebody lies to you within the first 4 and a half minutes of meeting, I figure it's a good idea to move on.
So. Rome. This morning I thought I lost my purse first thing upon arriving. I was ready (sleep-deprived and a little nervous anyway) to pack up and head home. Turns out I left it on the plane.
So I'm staying then :)
It's true about the Vespas...those and other kinds of scooters are everywhere. It's pretty charming.
It's true about the Italian men, though I haven't found them particularly threatening or anything. And Rome is just teeming with handsome fellas. But then I've always liked the dark, curly-haired types anyway.
I had a long non-conversation with an elderly German man outside a cafe over my first cafe latte (which was everything I dreamed--the latte, not the non-conversation). Lesson learned (I don't speak German and he didn't speak English, Spanish, or French...neither of us speak Italian): European phrasebook is next to useless.
Now, it's time to get some sleep. I'm curious about the hotel in which I'm staying. It's called "Bed and Breakfast" (the hostels were full). The man showed me the room and told me about the keys and the bathroom, and when he was fixin' to leave, I asked him how to go about breakfast. His reply was "Oh...we don't serve breakfast; it's just called "Bed and Breakfast." I repeated: "You're called "Bed and Breakfast" but you don't serve breakfast?!", which he answered with an apologetic shrug and a promise to bring me some coffee and juice in the morning. At this point I'm sort of wondering if it really is a hotel at all :) As far as I can tell, mine is the only room there. Hmmm.
In summary, so far, so good. But Rome is expensive. I think I'll be leaving for some quieter, less touristy realms tomorrow. Hope everything is great on the homefront.