Sorry about the grammar in the previous posting. I posted before editing in order to save the work, only to find that editing is difficult after posting. Anyway, I tried to go back to sleep. No to. It's 5:57 a.m. so I might as well have some coffee and stay up. I'm not guaranteeing the editing on this one either. It's now 7:19, and I must prepare for school at 8:30. Also, Blog Press won't let me skip a space between paragraphs. Sorry.
Saturday, March 16: My first day in Rome...a half day that seemed like a month:
According to the guide book, the cure for jet lag is exercise, sunlight, and protein. I tried this, thinking that in addition to overcoming the movement through time and space, I could get some groceries and find a wifi hot spot.
The guide book apparently was not taking into account the movement through time and space from a town with 400 full time residents and only one road into the big city of 4000 people to a foreign metropolis of 3 million people where the streets are a maze of diagonal streets. And when the traveler has no sense of direction or map-reading skills, well...
It took me half an hour to get to the grocery store, which I have since learned is two blocks away. At least I now knew enough to weigh my own vegetables and to use the plastic guanti provided when handling the produce. Gloves are so much more civilized than having scores of shoppers pawing over the vegetables and fruits. Good gluten free section. Even bread. Moving on.
Sure I had learned from my mistakes, I took the direct route back to the apartment. This only took me 40 minutes. However, when I was barely 50 yards from the place, I got directions from a cute waiter who also told me how to get to the local wifi hot spot. Except the hot spot would not allow me to use my iPad there. No phone. No iPad. The waiter let me try the restaurant's wifi without buying so much as a cup of coffee. Only moderate luck on the phone, not the iPad.
The waiter then suggested a phone store. The ten minute walk took me just a little over half an hour. The good news is that I am improving my speaking and listening skills with regard to finding my way and discussing technology. I also learned that you don't want to buy water from a tobacco store where you ask directions because a liter bottle will cost you about $5.
I bought a cheap phone and called Verizon. It is a very long story. I'll spare you the entire Theater of the Absurd endeavor...except to say that Vanessa is a saint. I'm mortified now as I recall her kind and calming voice as I was having an out of body experience watching myself after eighteen hours on road and plane shrieking bad words to this poor woman who was merely following a trouble-shooting protocol. She finally decided to connect me to Global so I could talk for free, as I started yelling that was paying $500.00 a minute to the Italian phone company to get this f****** iPhone to work. As I waited for Global, I started shouting at the elevator music, which remained impervious.
To make a long story longer, after two more calls, I finally got Victoria at Global who had me turn on Roaming, which everyone else told me to turn off. She then had me unplug the wifi device here and plug it back in. I had phone and internet and told Victoria to make a wish, that I was going to throw a euro into Trevi Fountain for her.
After emailing my family that I had arrived safely.
I now set out to buy bandaids because I realized at the phone store that my thumb was bleeding on my money pouch.
At the Farmacia, I was looking at the gluten-free pasta...sold in some groceries but in all pharmacies. I learned that "just looking," at least in this Farmacia, is treated as a federal offense. $4.00 for 12 bandaids made of a plastic which tore the skin off the other side of my thumb. $4.00 for paper bandaids at a second Farmacia.
....Wow, it's pouring down rain. The excessive rain is what's causing the smell in my bathroom. It was putrid yesterday as sewage smell backed up from all the holes. I put plastic over the shower drain and stuffed plastic into the hole where the washer is connected. The fan somehow drew the smell into the kitchen through the stove hood. Why did I ever leave Netarts.
I emailed Isabella, as I was unsure how Signora Stella would respond now that she had a bundle of euros from me. Both responded immediately on Sunday morning. The plastic is working, and the plumber is coming tonight. Signora Stella felt so bad that she is taking me out for a glass of vino. She also offered to talk to Polma on the phone if I had trouble communication.
Yes, with my new Italian phone, I made contact on Saturday with Polma Cutuli in Calabria. I am going to meet mia famiglia, 2 aprile. When I said I was coming, Polma started shouting Va bene! Va bene! Va bene!
It was her excitement that made me realize all was going to be well.
That was Saturday afternoon. After all that had transpired, I was exhausted and unable to eat so I took yet another 10 minute walk to Piazza Navona which only took me 20 minutes to find and 30 minutes to find my way back. It was dark by this time...no DST until the 31st. As I stood in the piazza looking at the fountains and everything around me, all I could think of was how big everything is in Rome. Everything. I think it feels even bigger because I'm alone without someone to bring my focus down to a manageable level.
I stopped for gelato and decided to try pistachio. peestahkeeyo in italiano. I had a nice chat with the young woman who complimented me on my italian. I figured that this was a nice note on which to end my first day in Rome. I went back to the apartment to unpack. It was upon getting lost and discovering that I spent that half hour just yards from my apartment that I decided to use my new phone to call Verizon.
I realize that the chronology of this blog is floundering in time and space. Sorry. But that, in a nutshell, was my first day in Rome. Oh yeah in the Piazza Navona, I saw a great T-shirt: Keep Calm / You Are in Rome. I'm glad I didn't buy it because I saw a better one the next day: Stai calmo / Sei a Roma.
Next: First Sunday for Joan and the Pope
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