Sunday, October 28, 2012

Italy (Part the First)

I realized recently that I got back from Italy more than a year ago.  Clearly I've been somewhat remiss in blogging about this trip as promised.  But, here at long last is my trip report.  Well, the beginnings of one, anyway.

My experience on this trip was shaped by the odd group of tourists who went, so I need to set the stage by introducing the various characters involved.  Much like in the movies, we were a ragtag bunch of mismatched personalities.  Unlike in the movies, we did not all learn to work together in the end, nor did we heroically die off one by one until only the male and female love interests were left.  (And thank goodness for that, since I was not the female love interest in this story.)  Instead, we just started ignoring each other more and more, until I gleefully escaped the others to spend my final day in Italy alone and carefree.  But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

First, there's me.  I'm much too humble to brag, so I won't attempt to describe myself.  :)

This is me.

Next, we come to my friend Heidi.  Naturally, being my friend, she is interesting, perceptive, fun, and altogether awesome.  The idea of this trip originated with Heidi, in concert with her British friend Steve.  (Names of individuals may or may not have been changed to protect the grumpy.  If anyone mentioned here ever finds my blog, um, I love you all, even if I don't necessarily want to travel with most of you again.)

This is Heidi (looking rather more two-dimensional than usual).
Now Steve is an interesting character.  He could be thoughtful, smart, and fun when he wanted to be, but he didn't always want to be.  Also, he made the dubious choice of inviting two girls he had dated -- the aforementioned Heidi, and a British girl we'll call Sophie -- and basically attempting to use the trip as a girlfriend audition.

This is Steve.  Actually, this is everyone but me -- Herb, Steve, Sophie, then Heidi in back.
Sophie was a nice girl.  Very nice.  Sometimes too nice.  The kind of extreme people pleaser who will agree with the last person to say something, even if it directly contradicts the last thing she agreed to.  This could make it rather difficult to get a vote on something -- she could never be counted on as tie-breaker, since she always attempted to agree with everyone at once, no matter how impossible.  She also had some anxiety problems, which would kick in when anyone seemed to be the slightest bit unhappy or when there was the slightest disagreement about anything.  A really nice girl, but not necessarily the easiest travel companion.
This is Sophie.
 Finally, we have the fifth wheel of our little group: Steve's friend Herbert, a London cab driver in his 50s.  He didn't have the energy of some of the younger members of the group (i.e., his normal walking speed was about 1/3 of mine), and he also had a more limited budget.  So, he often just sat outside while everyone else went into a museum or wherever we were going that day.  He was also constantly disappointed that Italy wasn't exactly the same as England.  "Why isn't there any decent food in this country?  None of the restaurants even serve fish 'n' chips!  It's always just pasta and pizza at every restaurant.  And this isn't any kind of proper water pitcher, is it?  Nothing like we see at home.  And look at that bloke frowning at me right now.  The people in this country aren't very happy, are they?"  Herb wasn't a bad fellow at all -- he was usually considerate and thoughtful, and he'd always offer to help carry suitcases and such.  Still, his Eeyore-like attitude toward Italy was rather wearing.
This is Herb (and me, obviously).
So, there's our motley crew of travelers.  Tune in next week for an update that might actually get us to Italy.  And if there's anything in particular you want to hear about, leave a comment to let me know.

1 comment:

HanakoGal said...

I'm excited to see what happens next.