November 20, 2005

11/24/05-- A Few Problems and A Bit of Adventure

Now to the Interesting Part. My train wasn't till 10 PM, but I didn't want to spend money, cause I didn't know if I needed much in Venice. So, I decided around 5 to go get my bags and just read my book for the next few hours. Problem 1: They didn't tell me that I needed to get my bags out within 5 hours of storing them or I'd have to pay more! Those jerks left me with 2 Euros! So, I had to hall my backs back out of the train station to find an open Cambio Station. After about 20 minutes, I finally saw a sign for one down a flight of 20 or 30 stairs. After exchanging 20 bucks, I left the store, only to discover to escalators carrying travelers to and from the train station. Of course... So, I met some really nice people while waiting. First, this girl from Arizona who also travels alone. She wasn't very interesting, but she was someone to talk to for a few minutes. Then, I met a really interesting couple from Florida. They'd just retired in May and now were traveling. Israel, Prague, Greece, Italy, now on to France and then London. The most amazing part of their story was the fact that, in 6 weeks of travelling, they carried only 2 small handbags and 1 large suitcase. That's like a weekend trip for me! Problem 2: After a long and increasingly chilling wait, the train finally arrived. My ticket said Second Class, Car 402, Seat 114. Um, yeah, it was a night train. Each group of 6 seats was labled 1-6 and there were 11 groups in the car. So, I was in group 11, seat 4. But, no one tells you this, and the signs on the doors are so worn that it's very difficult to read them, especially when you're 5'3" and the sign is eye level with a 6' tall man! So, needless to say, I pissed a few people off as I schlepped my gaggle of bags up the small hallway-- all the way to group 6-- only to discover that it was group 6 and I needed 11 and, therefore, had to turn around. It also would have helped if the train weren't bound for Germany, and so very few people spoke Italian, let alone English! The car was SO interesting!! Just like I was in Before Sunrise, except that there was no gorgeous Ethan Hawke for my Julie Deply. :( Instead, there was a girl who promptly went to sleep right across the doorway and an older married couple. The wife was a bitch. Sorry, but there's no other way to say that. I got the evil eye from her every time I unzipped my bag! And, here I was, trying to keep myself occupied and awake in the dark for 3 hours!! Fall asleep, lady, then you don't have to worry about what I'm doing!! Her husband kept looking out the window, then he'd look at me, kinda like "you're a strange American creature. I wonder what you're doing now." It was odd. Then, this really cool guy with long dreds got on. He looked a lot like Adam Durbitz, the lead singer of Counting Crows. After Bologna and one other stop, the train was supposed to stop at Padova, and then Venice Mestre, my stop. Problem 3: Adam D offered to help me with my suitcases at the stop after the stop that should have been Padova. I stepped down onto the platform, rather confused that no one else was getting off at Venice. I looked to my right and, OH MY GOSH, this stop was PADOVA!!! Adam D was still handing me my suitcases and I'm saying "no, wait, this is Padova!" and scrambling to get back on the train! By now, it's about 1:15 AM and I've lost all ability to think Italian. Adam D, who didn't speak any English, thought I was nuts! But, he was super nice and stayed in the rear of the train and chatted with me the rest of the way to Mestre. He's a really cool dude! He's a paramedic, so we spoke about how overcrowded and overworked GPs are, both in Italy and in the US. He also said that people in the GPs offices are always complaining about reps. Lovely, nobody likes me, in any coutry...

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