Another series of journal entries. We run into some problems where a lot happens in a couple of days, and I have no chance to write for a while, then when I do, it includes information from a stretch of days. So I’m trying to keep the journals somewhat synced to the pictures I’m able to put up. The pictures are up to day 5, now, I believe, and the journals are up to the end of day 5 as well, though they describe the events up to the middle of day 5. The journal entries while on the train are a bit more random, as well, as I was talking with Jacqui, Trish, and Maryrose, and the conversations just got weirder and weirder. Good stuff.
Days 4 and 5
I’m now on the train to Marseilles. we haven’t left yet, so we’re still in Lyon.
back to what i was talking about.before. the 7 of us were set to leave the airport, I believe.
the idea was to hop on the eurail right form the airport, and go straight to Milan from there.. but that wasn’t going to happen. I don’t know if it was because of the strike, or if the eurail just didn’t go there. either way, after some time spent figuring out what we were supposed to be doing, we hopped on the RER, and it slowly filled up to beyond capacity, until it resembled those scenes you may have scene of subway cars in Japan, where they’ve got people with ramrods shoving people inside the doors just far enough for it to close, and no one can breath at all. It was wretched. We made it to north station, and from there we headed off to some other place, and from there we got the eurail information taken care of, and from there we headed of to Lyon, where the trains all just stopped. And that’s where we waited.
I already told you about missing the two trains we could have taken… and then we waited until 15:45, when the next Marseilles train was to come. at 14:30ish Maryrose, Mindy and I went looking for an Internet cafe. I wasn’t that optimistic. We walked around for a little while, with nothing.. then i was elected question guy, and we found a “news Cafe” So I went in and asked the guy “parle vous engles?” “eh…” [he made the “kind of” sign by tilting his outstretched hand left and right a bit]. “Internet? Internet Cafe?” “Internet? Oh, Internet.. wi” [he points to a well dressed man (shirt and tie), and we walk over to him. ] they speak French rapidly to each other.. I recognize a few words, including “internet”. then the well dressed man turns to me and says “centre of town”. I ask “long? [make the “i caught a fish this big” sign] “or short?” [make the”your fish was really only this big” sign]. they talk rapidly in French again, and then they both tell me “5 kilometers”. they continue talking a bit, then turn to me, and repeat “5 kilometers”. “Merci beaucoup” I said, and we left.. as we didn’t have the time or energy to go 5 kilometers there and 5 kilometers back. So we continued walking, back towards the Irish pub where everyone else was waiting, and watching over our packs. around that block we see a giant sign saying “@internet@”. We decide to check it out. (I wasn’t sure if it was an ISP or what) we peek in, and there are about 15 high school aged French speaking Asian kids playing counterstrike. We walk a bit further in, and a guy greets us, and Maryrose and Mindy follow him, and get set on a computer, while I stayed back a bit wen the kid next to me got killed, I turned to him and said “pardon.. Counterstrike?” He looked oddly at me. Again I said “Counterstrike?” he and the kid next to him smiled really big “yea!” I smiled back, and nodded in that “yes , i correctly identified a video game, and in so doing, helped heal the woulds our two peoples have inflicted upon each other..” kind of way. Mindy checked her email, but the guy from the Milan Motor scooter place hadn’t emailed her back, which was unfortunate. Maryrose started checking her stuff, and mentioned that I ought to just get another computer, cause she was going to take a while. So i got another computer (they’re running a restricted Windows 2000, with their own funky frontend that limits you to Internet, and a few other functions… When you try doing a telnet:// in the URL, the computer itself beeps loudly and rapidly, and it fails on you. damnit. So I tried mail2web, and it failed every time. Oh yeah, and their keyboards are different. it’s not a qwerty, and it’s not a zwerty.. it’s got a’s for q’s, m’s for l’s and all sorts of other crazy things (two types of shifts, and you have to hold shift to get the numbers )So i couldn’t check my email, which is bad, cause my aunt Nancy was going to let me know via email if I had a ride home from the airport or not.
Well, odds are we’ll get the whole ride home from the airport thing figured out by the time I’m headed home. There’s the off chance that that motor scooter guy emailed me, as i was the one who sent him the payment information… that would be useful.. I also just don’t like not knowing if there’s something important I’m forgetting, or don’t yet know about. Oh well. We have no idea how long this train ride is, but everyone else is sleeping [besides Becky, who is playing gameboy] , and I think I should too. the couple sitting next to me is listening (together, one earphone a piece) to an archos Jukebox. Looks to be an older version, perhaps it’s the one with the memory card readers in it… I am going to get some sleep, as I’m still exhausted
We’re finally going now, after about a days worth of waiting.. here’s what’s happened:
we got off the train in Marseilles and the next train didn’t exist. France gets the finger. So we debated whether to take the bus to Nice, or stick around Marseilles for the night, and head off to Nice on the train.
okay a guy just hopped on to the train, and then he whipped out his guitar, and sang an “interesting” version of Elvis’ Love me tender, then moved over closer to us and sang Abba’s Dancing Queen, and now he’s ripping through Suzanne Vega’s Luca. it’s … it’s hard not to laugh my ass off at this point. We sang along to Dancing Queen, but I get the feeling if we continued to, he’d demand we pay him.
Yeah, we just paid him. Direct Quote: That was Suzanne Vega, a song called Luca. thank you very much.
back to the story. We decided to stay in Marseilles, which was good. we walked around, looking for hostels, or hotels the first 2 or 3 were full, but then we found this kinda nice (read: still really shady , but the old guy at the doorway was nice.)
I have “big carrot fingers”
The girls are afraid I’m transcribing their conversation, and of course I am.
So this guitar player (not the one that played Luca, the one that tried to lay Love me tender [turns out it was a different guy] and just tried to play Hotel California) yeah, he sucks.
So I’m sitting with Maryrose, Sara and Jacqui, and we’ve just talked about baby carrot fingers, flabby arms, Sweetest Thing, pet Peeves.
“oh so le Mio” < - ? yeah, I think he sucks... and he's getting louder.
so the old guy at the hotel seemed nice, and eventually we found out that he spoke Spanish so Maryrose talked to him quite well
My new nickname is “round”. I might explain that at some point.
So we got a hotel room.. (2, rooms.. 20 euros a head. not bad, I guess.. I’ve lost track of what is expensive and what is cheap) , then headed off to the city.. some of us headed into town while Mindy and Becky went to try to phone the guy in Milan about the motor scooters… I don’t think they got through at all. So we walked around town, saw a pretty kewl church, then I think we just headed back.to the hotel (Mindy, Becky and I picked up some pizza on the way, and it was really good). Headed back to the hotel, took showers, and tried to sleep. We had the windows open cause it was hot, and there was a lot of noise on the streets below [inebriated chatter] and it made sleeping difficult for some. But not I. I’ve slept amazingly well on this entire trip.
we woke up at 5:30, got ready, packed up, headed to the train station, and the train was delayed 30 minutes. So we sat and waited for about an hour, then it showed up. And we were off to Nice.
the trip: “it’s gooood”
So now we’re on the train to Tailon(?). We arrived just too late for the train to Milan. France gets the finger.
“Cry like a school girl”. < -- You'll note that I've been inserting random phrases into this thinger, just random phrases that I hear in the conversations we're having... I'm trying to do 2 things at once. We just met up with this guy, John, and he's riding with us now.
So we got to Nice, and the ride their was excellent.. Lots of incredible views , and once we got around the Mediterranean Sea , it was just incredible. We arrive in Nice. and it’s nice. But the train to Italy (there actually was a train to Italy, and there was much rejoicing ) wasn’t leaving until 3:57. It was currently around 10:30 or so. So we decided to try the beach As we were heading out, we ran across this guy, David, that had been asking us about the train to Italy. he was from Atlanta. We invited him to come have lunch with us at a pizzeria, so he joined us. he’s a mech. engineer doing cad work down in Atlanta, and just up and decided to do a big ole tour of Europe by himself, saved up for a year, and here he is.
At the pizzeria, Sara meant to order an “appetizer”, but ordered an “aperitif”(?) which is a Greek pre dinner drink. it was funny.
we’re speeding by mountains now. It’s AMAZING.
So we finished at the pizzeria and headed off to the beach, with David and Mindy in the lead. I remain in the back whenever we walk out in a group. I’m especially keeping an eye on Becky, but I figure if someone is going to get pick-pocketed, it ought to be me. So we headed on.. and made it to the beach, and it was excellent. A perfect day, it was sunny and blue, and there was a spot right there on the beach for us, so we headed down and just crashed. Some people headed on in to the sea, and I just kinda fell asleep. I took a few pictures of the skyline,a nd then realized that a healthy chunk of the locals at this beach were going topless. I put my camera away.
So here’s the thing with breasts: not all of them are pretty.. some are really nasty. REALLY nasty. 80 year old over-weight French women should not be on the beach in a small bikini and no top. Nor should 20+ of her friends. Others were far less objectionable. Viva le France! But seriously, you know that whole “too much chocolate is a bad thing” The same goes for breasts or me, I guess. Oh well. I guess breasts are more lovely when you know the owner, and earned the right to view them. And that’s all I have to say about that.
We stuck around the beach for a few hours. I touched the Sea, and that made me feel like a good person. I got burned to shit, and that made me feel like a stupid person. We left at 2:30, and headed to the Internet Cafe. I finally was able to telnet and ssh. (thank you Calvin, for still allowing me access. I’ve got to find a new telnet box.) My weblog table got hosed a bit, as the auto-increment goes to the max number now, so I’ll have to fix that . So I will have to fix that when I get home, but for now, I’m not able to quick add new posts, so I’m just leaving comments.
we’re traveling through long long tunnels now. Backlights are excellent. There aren’t any lights on this train, so I’m a little worried about things getting stolen.
So yeah, we were at the internet cafe and the time was getting tight, so David left us to get to the train station..which makes sense considering our luck with trains in the last couple of days. Finally, we left (I’ve been buying a LOT of Cokes recently.. and the cokes here taste a lot different than the ones at home. I hate coke back home, and I don’t really hate the stuff out here.. there’s a weird almost fruity aftertaste to it. But it’s not that good. I’ just worried that. eventually I’m going to start liking this coke, then I’ll get back to the states and never be able to get it again…. though vanilla coke does sound really goof, as does beer. Mmmmm beer. The beer I had at that Le Royale was excellent,a nd I want more of that…. Today is Tuesday, and I’m missing the Pickwick. drink a pitcher for me, guys, and know I at least thought about ya for a few seconds.
So we get back to the station, and the train was delayed 20 minutes, but eventually showed up.. on a different line… we got on.. (and that’s when I wrote the last entry)
these tunnels are seriously long… we’re talking pitch black here.. and they last for a good 3 or 4 minutes.. pitch black… So Maryrose and I switched seats in the last one, and kinda freaked Becky and John out.
Okay, so after the last train, we ran to our next train (Milan) and it had left already, cause our train was hella late France gets the finger. So we said our goodbyes to Jacqui, Sara, and Trish (they’re headed straight to Florence, where we’re hoping we’ll meet up with them), and David who’s headed to the coast, I believe (we got his email address) and found a train to tourino, which gets us on our way, and ought to have trains to Milan (one leaving every hour or 2 hours, I believe) When we missed out Milan train, we met up with this guy, John, I believe. he had missed the train as well, so we all got ready for the train to tourino together. Now we’re all sitting in this train together (seats of 6, 3 facing forwards, 3 back) enjoying the views.
We just passed Carmegnola.. We’ve been showing off card tricks (Becky, Mindy, Maryrose, and me, and John is here as well.) and trying to amuse this young [French speaking Indian(?)] girl. Now we’re talking about movies.. Thank God for Billy Madison and Monty Python.
We’re on the train to Milan now. w00t. It’s Maryrose, Mindy, Becky, John, and myself. it’s about 10:00pm.. and my legs, face, and chest are burned. My legs looked horribly retarded. The Italian guy is checking our tickets right now.. hold on. I don’t know why, but a pang of fear still crossed through me when they check, like he’s going to say “no” and kick me off the train… and yes, that’d suck a helluva lot.
Anyway, I’m burned, and in a retarded fashion, so I’m in a lot of pain, which sucks, but oh well.
the things I currently miss;
1.) Knowing where I’m going to stay the night. I’m not super keen on the “playing it by ear everyday” type thing. I’m not horribly against it or anything, I mean, i can handle it and all. But there’s always that twinge in the back of my head that says something like “hey… you might end up wandering the streets tonight, big guy”. And I don’t like that. If you know me, you know my love of routine. I’ve put forth a lot of effort to create a series of things i can count on each day, each week, each year, etc. And i love that. That’s how I end p with Pickwick Tuesdays, and Max and Ermas Thursdays (and Tuesdays, and Saturdays, and Fridays, and occasional Mondays, and a Sunday here or there) Golf Tuesdays Softball Wednesdays, Mulligans Fridays.. I love those things, cause i can count on them to be there each and every week. Here all I can count on is there will be a lot of walking and heavy lifting going on.. otherwise, nobody knows. that’s exciting, and i love it about this trip.. But it’s lovely and exciting only because I know it’ll only last 2 weeks. If and when I plan my own trip abroad (as I’ve mentioned many times, I did none of the planning or leading on this dealie.) it’ll have a bit more structure to it.
Becky and I exchange furtive giggly smiles as Mindy talks to this John guy. I dare say she’s got a little crush on him, and we being the supportive family members that we are, wait til she looks away, then giggle like school girls. Makes me wonder if they do the same thing when ever I talk to … well, pretty much any of the other girls on the trip. Who knows. I’d like o think my rap is a it less blatantly obvious, but I may be wrong (“Hi! I like your smile! Please for the love of god have sex with me!”)
what I miss continued
2.) Access to certain things at all times: examples: Water, food, a nice bathroom with shower, working toilet, and razor. I’m going to look like Grizzly Adams by the end of this trip. and while I’m kind of curious what I’m going to look like with a big scraggly beard, I’m also aware that I don’t enjoy looking like complete shit. So it’s a conflict there. Water should be readily available, and bathrooms should charge you money.. That’s just cruel. Oh, and my hair looks like hell, and I hate it when my hair looks like hell. On the 2nd day, I decided that I was going to have to be okay with looking like hell until I got home to my townhome on Sunday the 22nd, and from that point on, looking this was has been okay 3.) internet/phone You can put this all under connectivity. I guess a part of this trip was supposed to help ween me away from using the computer so much, and especially relying on the internet for everything.. but.. the internet’s really nice.. it gives you information right away and all you need to do is ask. Nt knowing what’s going on, and not being able to instantly access my friends bothers me And as for the phone. I miss talking to certain people, and would sure like to be able to talk to them now, when there are actually interesting things to talk about. [” so I saw about 100 breasts today.. How you doin’?”] I also don’t have a watch, as I’ve used my phone as my clock for so long.. that annoys me as well. _
we’ve got almost all the windows open in here (we’re the only ones in this car i believe) and when we pass another train, it feels like (and sounds like) we’re in a hurricane. It scared the hell out of me every single time. I was daydreaming a little while ago, and I daydreamed we were going up (like, straight up) a mountain, and I felt the train moving (in real life) and just freaked out I think I’m hungry and tired, and my mind is starting to lose what little grasp it had on reality.
So I talked about how France was Fing expensive, right? Well, goo news, Italy appears to be a lot cheaper. Slices of pizza (imagine a 18 in pizza cut into 4ths, and that’s a slice) were 2.80 Euros which is excellent, I think. (again, comparison to France.)
for the last 20 minutes or so, I was convinced I was facing backwards (it’s pitch black out, there are very, very few lights, and the lights inside the train make the windows act more as mirrors (that’s right, this train has working lights. Amazing). Anyway, we just puled up to a station, and I’m facing forwards and I almost threw up when I realized it .
There’s a lot of weird insects on this train.
What else do I miss? my friends, obviously. The people I’m with are kewl, but I’d certainly like to talk to other people for a while… It’s the everyday conversations.. like the ride to work (the ride back from work more appropriately.. I sleep most rides TO work) with Joel and Dave. The IM’s with Adam and Tuuk and Alan. The phone conversations with Deedre and Kristin, hanging out with Robb and Swac and Sven. That’s what I miss right now. the Pickwick/ Mulligans crew. Even if I’m just sitting there not speaking, it’s a kewl feeling to just “fit in” for a while. I think I’ve done a fair job ingratiating myself into this estrogen society I’m traveling with, but I’ll still kinda be “the one with the penis” I guess. It has it’s advantages and disadvantages.
I’m placing an awful lot of faith in this PDA, and thus far it hasn’t let me down. But if it does, you’d better believe I’m going to beat it loud with a hickory stick.
What else do I miss? Being in a place that speaks my language. It was a sad realization to see that I was what I dared judge down others for. I have this feeling in the back of my head like “if you’re coming to America you’d better know enough of the language to get around”… well it’s more like “if you’re going to live in Michigan, and work at a restaurant, you should be able to speak english… so I guess that’s slightly different. W00t, I’m not [that big of a] hypocrite. I miss my big comfy bed, my well cared for bathroom (I swear, Robb and Swac, that if that thing is messy when I get back I’m killing you. No questions asked, just ending you, right then and there), my guitars, my computer.. and MUSIC. Sigh… Hearing that guy sing Luca, then hearing Jacqui mention she had some Counting Crows cds made me realize how much I miss it. That’s enough of what i miss. (Oh, I miss cash too.. I’m always running out of Euros. and that sucks)
What do I like?
Everything feels important. Like visiting a train station at a town has this importance like “this is a town in Europe, I should look around and see what it has.” The architectural style is different, and therefore worth paying attention to. the food is different, the way people act and walk, and talk… everything is different, and therefore worth paying attention to.
The weather is gorgeous. It really is.
the experiences themselves.. Just going from town to town with these girls, and the little things that we now share.. like Maryrose’s “French Bread”, or finding her sunglasses in her bag of almonds, or speaking pig latin on the metro, Sara ordering Booze instead of an appetizer, my giant beer that cost me $15. The guy and girl on top of the Eiffel tower that thought Maryrose and I were going to platform jump off of it (we had the packs on, and I guess they looked like parachute bags.), card tricks on the train. Or that rousing rendition of “love me tender”
You know that scene in Saving Private Ryan where the German guy is digging the grave, and they’re ready to shoot him, and he goes off singing “Oh say, can you see? I say can you see?…” [obviously not knowing the words to the Star Spangled banner] That’s kinda what “love me tender” was like. his versions of Tears in Heaven and Hotel California where all about a minute long, and featured nothing but sloppy guitar strumming and whistling. All things considered, the guy that sang Dancing Queen and Luca was quite good, in comparison.
I don’t think we have any clue where we’re staying in Milan. so this evening will probably be an adventure as well. I kinda wonder if this John dude is going to hang with us this evening. I have a feeling if Mindy gets her way he will. Every station we pull up to we frantically check to see if it’s Milan.. I’m always hoping it’s not, cause I’d like a chance to sit and relax for a while, and psyche myself up for carrying the back on burned shoulders and walking on legs that are breathing fire. what would be ideal is if this train made it to Milan in about an hour… and we found a hostel right away with room to spare, and it had a shower in the room.. and we could all take showers (and it didn’t hurt like hell), and slept in til about 11 tomorrow, then walked to the Motor scooter place, and they had bikes for us to use [we reserved them, and got confirmation, but I trust no one], and our packs fit on them no problem, and we headed off, and all was well. I do believe I’ll wear a new shirt tomorrow (I’m wearing the same shirt as Saturday and Sunday, as it was the coolest (i mean that in a temperature kinda way, though considering the other shitty shirts I have along, the other meaning may also apply. I will say that these shorts were a quality investment. They shall forever be known as my “Europe Shorts” as I bought them solely for Europe, but now intend to wear them often (I don’t wear shorts, because i don’t have what the ladies typically consider “attractive legs”, and at this point, any negative quality must be a closely guarded secret until I trick a girl into marrying me. My honeymoon will be a shocking disappointment to my wife in oh so many ways. [Thankfully, the sex will more than make up for it all. Hiyo, didn’t expect that one, did ya? Okay, yeah, you all prolly did.]
This Fanta is excellent. It’s like a hyper version of Sunkist Orange, and there’s a liter and a half of it. I do believe it will become my new water bottle once the Fanta is gone. I need a shower so bad. and my arms are already rubbed raw and bruised.
Man, I’m having a great time. The ironic thing: I’m eating way better than I do at home (at least more often, and I’m finishing all my meals [except the giant pizza, but the grease was making me a bit sick, and it was really big] I really want a Loredo steak with baked potato (just butter) and thousand Island on the salad, with a dr. pepper and I’ll take that Sundae bar as well. (if Joel was there, we’d prolly get cookies as well), I’m getting a lot more sleep than i usually did (though i did lose a day there somewhere, but I skipped a day back home too, so I guess that does’t matter too much) I’m getting plenty of exercise, and I don’t recall stressing about work, my life, or my love life back home at all this whole trip. that’s just plain impressive. Bravo, Europe.
We should make it to Milan soon.. It’s about 11:30 now, and i can say with a fair amount of certainty that we’re all tired. [They’re all sleeping.]. I’m going to call this good, and try to relax for a while, and psyche myself up for the inevitable trek once we get to Milan. [I don’t think I’ll ever purposefully grow a full beard when I have the opportunity to shave it.. it’s just too annoying and nasty feeling. the goat I could handle, this has too much throat/cheek action going on. It just makes me feel even dirtier than I already am.]
it also sucks that now that I was getting decent at some French (and my accent was fairly good, i think), we’ve left France.
I’m sitting on this big old bed in a 3 star hotel, and my leg is bleeding in 8 places.. (only 3 of them are still bleeding at this point, but I just took a shower and washed them out, and the words I wanted to scream out are not appropriate for such a fine establishment. Oh yeah, nd I washed them out in the bidet. How did we get here? well I’ll tell you. [He’s going to tell.. he’s going to tell..]
I left off when we arrived in Milan. we hopped off the train (the train station there is amazing), we made it about 100 feet out of the train station. (just far enough to note that there were shady people around) and they stopped and started looking through maps and books. Becky and I hung back, and noted how the lats few hours on a well lit/ not surrounded by shady people train might have been a better time to do that kinda thing, but oh well. we started walking,a nd there were a lot of nice hotels around. and “nice” was the problem, as they were 3 and 4 star places, and therefor too rich for our blood.. We walked about a block 2 blocks from the station, and stopped again, and Becky turned to me and said:” I’m just going to wait here, cause we’re going to end up here again.” I laughed and nodded.. and we continued on our way.
An Aside: I like Italian TV. They use scantily clad women to sell everything… therefore EVERY commercial has at least one hotty featured prominently. The Bicardi Breezer and Citroen car commercial thus far were my favorite… they just showed a Nestea commercial where the guy brings this girl a nestea, and she slams it, then jumps his bones. [we’re watching Shanghi Noon in Italian] Aside over.
So we continue walking around,and after another failed hotel, they check the books again, and see that there’s a 1 star hotel nearby, so they head towards it.. You guessed it, right back towards where Becky said she’d stay. We shared slightly amused but slightly pissed off looks. We got in the hotel, and this kindly old Italian woman sitting there looks at me, smiles, then looks at my legs (you’ll recall they were burned badly, and in a weird patter) She looks at me and says “that…[points at my leg].. sand? I assumed she either meant “beach”, “sun”, “burned” o something in Italian. either way, I smiled and nodded and said “Hot” and did the whole fanning my face with my hand thing to help it make sense. she laughed and nodded vigorously, and in so doing, I helped mend the wounds that have hindered the relationship of the Italian and American people. I have to say though, that there is a really palpable joy in being able to communicate with someone else.. Since it’s so commonplace in daily life, I know we take it for granted… But even then, when you’re talking to someone and they say something that matches the way you feel, you feel that giddy joy, am i right? I’ve had it a few times on this trip.. In the internet cafe where they were playing Counterstrike, In that italian Hotel, in the French restaurant where I got my big beer… then there was the restaurant earlier today where Maryrose was speaking Spanish with pretty much the entire wait staff, but especially this one nice older woman. .. I’ll get to that. My wrist is injured, but I don’t feel like mentioning it, cause it’ll sound like I’m whining, but seriously, I can’t bend it. I hope it’s better in the morning, cause it feels broken. okay, maybe not broken, but certainly fuX0r3d, Okay, so we got the hotel rooms finally. a single for John, then one for me ad Becky, and one for Mindy and Maryrose. we said goodbye to John, as we were planning on sleeping in and he wasn’t.. he turned out to be a pretty kewl guy too. there was a sink just sitting there a few feet from my bed.. the shower was a number of rooms over.. so we took showers, then got ready to sleep. It was HOT, and muggy, which we were told later was not normal. So we had to have the window open and the night life going on below was loud.. I think it as another bar. I didn’t sleep very well. too hot, too tired, too loud. I’m not sure
another commercial just told me that If I fall down while rollerblading, and use this special ind of disinfectant, I’ll have sex with a really hot blond chick. excellent.
So we woke up around 10:30 this morning , and walked around until we found the place where we were supposed to rent motor scooters. This was the part I was a bit worried about, because I didn’t know how the hell we were going to fit our packs on a mini motor scooter.. well we got there and got it all set up, and he showed us the bikes, and they were big… and heavy.. but there still didn’t appear to be room or our bags.. they had little storage compartments, but not nearly large enough to fit one pack, let alone two.
Okay, he gave us our scooters, which from this point on I’ll call bikes, cause these things weigh a ton, and can go up to 160 KPH, and that’s *insane*
So we were going to go to this store a few blocks over to get some bungee cords to try to tie in our bags.. [we left them in the “Happy Rental” place] So I hope on, and try to get the things started, and say “where’s the gas?” “twist the handle back” Mindy said. So i did. and plowed directly into the car parked in front. I swore a lot. The guy comes out. Looks at the bike, and then looks at the car. He points at the bike “is okay” points at the car “is not okay” then wipes some smudges off the bumper, where I hit (there wasn’t any noticeable damage, but there was some black marks where the tire hit.) he turned to me and said “is okay, is my car, is fine, I clean it up.” “are you sure?” i said. “yeah, it’s fine.” So we turned the bike around and headed off to the store. I already hated these bikes.. and I mean HATE. I hate motorcycles and would never ride or drive on, and these things are pretty much motorcycles. I’m not pleased. [I had wanted to bike, as in pedal bike) this thing… after that fell through, taking the train seemed to make more sense. Anyway, too late now. we make it to the store.. it was an adventure and I still hate the bikes. we make it to the store, and by some bungee cords, then go back to the train station, to get some tourist information (get maps, and figure out how to get from Milan to Florence.. again, something that could have been done earlier, I thought.. whatever.) Then they swung in to this internet cafe inside the station to email the other girls the guy from the rental shop said he’d be leaving at 1:30, it was now 1:05, and we were finally leaving. So we head off, get our bikes [which I hate] and head to the rental place, and it’s locked. and empty. Not pleased. With nothing left to do, we just sat and waited…and sure enough. he showed up a few minutes later.. and he opened the doors, we got the stuff on there, and headed off on our way only we had no idea where to go. the lights have just turned off, and we’re going to sleep now.. so I’ll continue this some other day.. assuming I’m not killed. yeah. we crashed a few times.. I hate those damn bikes.