I just finished my second day in Naples. This town is quite the anti-Toronto. There is trash everywhere, an active mob, rampant petty crime, and a city plan that apparently called for only dark cramped alley ways rather than any large, well-lit thoroughfares.
The hostel is great, though - quite clean and trendy. Plus they have movies. Naturally, I'm watching Casino. The only problem is the tubes speed is crap - so it might be a while before I can upload the rest of the Rome pictures.
I went on a day trip to Pompeii today and had a great time. There were even a few bodies frozen in time in their homes. Kind of creepy, but apparently most people left within 12 hours of the initial eruption of Vesuvius and only the dumbasses stayed behind. Speaking of which, it is long overdue for another eruption. Comforting.
I made it to Malaga, and now today arrived in Rome. My trip included 7 extra hours of layovers, a broken plane (thankfully it broke on the ground), and a broken bus.
Rome is awesome. It's also very dirty. You can openly drink a bottle of wine on the street, and, apparently, there are no laws against littering (or at least no enforced law). Italians seem to really get off on cutting people in line; they are very sneaky. It is on! We'll see who can cut who in line.
The hostel I'm staying in provided a bottle of wine per person upon check-in. So far, I love this country.
Well, it's finally happened. It was bound to, with all the walking I do
downtown. A College of Charleston girl on her cell phone ran me over in
her car, right after hitting the gas and trying to make a left turn on
green before the light changed. I had the unfortunate pleasure of being
in the crosswalk and in her path at that exact moment.
What an interesting experience. I've seen "autopeds" (that is what we
call them in the business, short for "auto vs pedestrian") before, but I
never realized what a sensation it is to be lifted and thrown in the air
like a rag doll. My perception of time changed, and I watched my coffee
fly into her windshield in virtual slow motion. Amazingly, I landed
back on my feet, which is certainly more an indication of the angle of
impact than my own catlike reflexes. She was clearly more shaken than I was, as were the instant crowd of
bystanders; they seemed insistent that an ambulance be called and that I
be transported post haste to the hospital. I declined, sat down, and
checked myself for any semblance of a tibia/fibia fracture. I've
performed the same check on countless others after some sort of trauma;
this was the first time I've ever checked myself.
The girl, Lindsey, was quite shaken up and was begging for forgiveness
and some way to help. I told her she could replace my coffee and I'd
consider us even. On the way to get a replacement, my questions flushed
out some elements that no doubt contributed to the situation. She met a
guy in a bar on Halloween, they apparently fell in love, and four days
ago he asked her to marry him (all this over the course of two months).
Despite her admitted reservations concerning the short dating interlude,
she said yes (incidentally, he's a "nuke" student at the local Navy
school, and according to her they do not "glow green", destroying the
only reason I could think of that so many girls seem to like them). She
also just graduated with a BA in theater and is planning on getting
married and moving to Hawaii within the next two months. At the time
that she struck me she was on the phone with a good friend trying to
explain all of this. In the end, I was able to get a better quality
coffee and a ride home, and she was able to step back, albeit only
briefly, from a life that has become amazingly disorienting.
If anything, I consider the story to be a cautionary one; kids, be wary
of quick love or you might end up almost killing someone.
Ultimately, the joke is on her. The coffee she replaced had only
initially been half full.