7.06.2009

Hotel One

I was frisked at the Amsterdam airport. I'm getting used to being pulled out of line, or scanned, or searched, or whatever. It always happens to me on international flights; I guess my face says, "TERRORIST." Well, this one does.



Gosh, if only I didn't look so badass all the time.

I wandered around the airport for awhile, and finally settled at a little cafe where I drank coffee and wrote in my travel journal for the last time on this trip. After a few minutes, I started to smell something weird. (it wasn't me, thanks) I stuck my nose up in the air and sniffed, looking for all the world like a groundhog on Feb. 2. And guess what: SOMEONE WAS SMOKING A CIGARETTE. Right there in the airport! And no one was saying anything!

That's when I knew I was in a different world.

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Nobody stamped my passport in Italy. It was very disappointing; I want my passport to be filled up with stamps from lots of foreign countries, like the bureaucratic equivalent of a suitcase covered with stickers. I don't have official proof of having been in Italy, and THAT SUCKS. That EEC can bite my butt.

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Having safely arrived in Venice, I went immediately to the tourist information desk at the airport and told the woman, "I want to go here," and pointed to the address of my hotel in the little guidebook I'd been given. She studied it for a moment, then gave me a bus ticket with some numbers on it. I said, "Would you mind writing the directions down for me?" and she did, without even complaining! That same guidebook told me that Italians are unfriendly and unhelpful, but that lady was leaps and bounds ahead of her American counterpart back in Memphis.

Also, it was very smart of me to have asked her to do that; otherwise, I might never have gotten to my hotel. I had declined the airport-to-hotel shuttle service provided by the tour company. But at $50 a pop, I figured I could take a bus. This was a very dumb decision.

First, it was Sunday, and you can never count on anything on Sundays. Second, my hotel wasn't in Venice, exactly; it was a little outside of Venice. Third, it started to rain. Yeah.

I took the first bus into the city center, where I would have to catch a second bus. The tourist information woman had written the bus number down for me, but I headed for the ticket office just to confirm. When I got to the little window, I pulled out my guidebook and shouted, "Dove' ...?" and pointed at the bus number. And guess what: the bus I wanted didn't have a number; it had a letter. So it was very smart of me to have asked.

I headed over to the designated stop, only to learn that the next bus would be along in, oh, FORTY MINUTES.

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Fortunately, someone else--an Italian speaker--was going to the same hotel, so I just made sure to get off the bus at the same time she did. Only the bus didn't pull up to the hotel. No, it dropped us off about two blocks away ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. There was no sidewalk; there was barely a shoulder. And I had to hike--through the rain, mind you--to the hotel, dragging my suitcase behind.

At this point, it was about 6:30 pm Venice time, which meant it was about 11:30 am in Memphis. I had stepped onto my flight at 7:00 pm (Memphis), and, as has become my custom, I didn't bother to sleep the night before I left. Also, I don't sleep in public, because I'm afraid of embarrassing myself. So I hadn't slept in over 40 hours, and, as any person who has ever lived or worked with me can testify, I am one cranky old lady when I'm tired.

So I was just about over Venice, and I'd barely arrived.

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When I got to my room, it was dark. The room, I mean; it was just dusk outside. I couldn't find a light switch anywhere. Know why? There wasn't one. Fortunately, a member of the tour group walked by, saw me on the verge of collapsing into tears and insanity, and helped me out:



Apparently, the room key doubles as a power source. Some instructions would have been nice. You know, a step-by-step Guide to Electricity, or just a small diagram would have sufficed.

My room was small. If I hadn't lived in a closet for a week in London, I might have been disappointed. As it was, I was delighted that I would be able to tie my shoes without hitting both my elbows on opposite walls at the same time.



It looked kinda fancy ...



until I scattered my crap all over the place.

Here's the bathroom:



The shower was a bit small ...



(Target bag for scale)



but at least there was a bidet.



Okay, you know how I'm not classy? Like, at all? While I know what a bidet is, and have a basic idea of its purpose, I have never seen one, and I have certainly never seen one in action. When I turned the faucet--not to try to use it; just to see what happened*--and the water sprayed down, I couldn't comprehend how, exactly, one might contort oneself to ... you know ... WASH. So for a whole week-and-a-half, I just assumed it was a urinal. A messy, impractical urinal, to be sure, but a urinal nonetheless.

Don't you wish you were sophisticated like me?

*Also, I turned a knob on a thing that looked like a towel warmer, but turned out to be the hot water heater. So I got a faceful of water, but for a minute I was afraid it might be gas. In 33 years, and despite many "life lessons," I have never learned that I should not mess with unfamiliar gadgets and gizmos.

Now, lest you think that Italy has surpassed the U.S. in technology, take a look at the hairdryer:



Why, yes, that does appear to be part of my grandmother's old vacuum cleaner. To operate it, I had to tilt the hose out from the wall and point the nozzle at my head.

In my house, I use that particular attachment to suck dead bugs and cat litter from the corners. So you can imagine how happy I was to have it so close to my crowning glory.

1 comment:

teach5 said...

So did you stay in any hotels where the toilet and sink occupied the same space as the shower? Now THAT was interesting, we started to take pictures of all the different bathroom in the hotels on our trip during spring break and, they were definitely the occaisional topic at dinner......

 

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