Having to leave home is so childishly exciting and tearfully heartbreaking at the same time.
Away from the kids.
For a short break.
‘Childishly exciting’ trumps ‘tearfully heartbreaking’ always, nonetheless.
The kids will be fine.
They’ll dump us one day anyway.
And not just for a weekend.
Anyhow, the trip is absolutely hilarious so far.
As soon as we got off the plane in Fiumicino airport we were swept away by a tropical storm.
Not very tropical because it wasn’t hot.
Rome had just borrowed the rain and the storm from the tropics and plastered it on its sky.
The Italian sky was literally falling down on our heads – with clouds, stars, plastering and all.
There was so much thunder, lightning and downpour that we had to climb on our suitcase and paddle to the train station.
The problem, however, was that we didn’t find our suitcase.
But of course!
Since it’s Italy, you’ll either
- lose your luggage
- or, you’ll have to walk out of ‘arrivals’, go back to ‘departures’, re-enter, allocate the terminal and carousel that has your suitcase, as in our case. Our luggage somehow landed in a different time zone and space from us.
One long airport treasure hunt later, luggage, rolled up pants and all, we headed for the train station.
And, again, since we’re in Rome,
- if ‘they’ don’t rob us
- ‘they’ll’ sell us something like roses, Louis Vuittons by the bulk, or fake CD players (they actually sold one to my husband, back when he was a student. The fake was so good that my cool man thought he was really buying an ‘original’ Sony. When he tried to play some music later that day, all his coolness shrivelled to the size of a raisin when he realised that the CD player was made of wood!!!).
- or, ‘they’ll’ definitely convince us to get a taxi (instead of the train).
Out of the blue, a guy popped out to offer us overly kind directions to the train station.
My suspicion instinctively began to grow bull horns while the man was doing his monologue, but by the time we realised what he was in for, we were already heading for a taxi shuttle he convinced us would have been the best idea in this apocalypses outside.
Suddenly, three other strangely looking men joined the ‘salesman’ – I’m sure they give each other signs when the bait catches fish – and they all surrounded us.
My husband, smiley as always, turned to address them all in a very brotherly manner.
The escort to the glorified taxi shuttle was royal, I must say. But as soon as we paddled across the street, manoeuvring drowning suitcases, wet newly arrived tourists and stuck giant busses, the salesmen disappeared, probably swept away by the tropical-lookalike storm.
All the while I was wondering what on earth would have happened if we landed in Venice in this weather?
Snorkel to the hotel?
We finally reached the shuttle and pulled ourselves safely in it.
To find ourselves next to three other drenched, dripping, disoriented couples.
A Maltese couple and two others who looked very much like Machu Picchu Inca decedents.
Who spoke to each other in a very natural Italian.
We climbed all in and then the driver showed up.
When I saw him I was certain I’ve seen him in a mafia movie, somewhere between La Piovra or Gomorrah.
I’m sure his name was Marco Salesi or other with a nickname Il Coltello (the blade).
Only that this one wasn’t an actor but, supposedly “a taxi driver”.
In fact, I wasn’t the only one thinking this way.
When ‘Marco’ stopped at a dodgy looking street at some point and told the Maltese couple to get off because it was the street of their hotel but he couldn’t go in with the car, the poor couple looked at him so suspiciously that ‘Marco’ had to walk with them all the way to their hotel.
When he came back to the taxi he told us:
“My good-e-ness, they don’ta believe me, I hada to take thema to their ‘otel, to showa to them. It’s impossibill, they thinka I drove all thisa waya to take them in de wrong placea. Impossibil.”
That cracked me up completely but from then on I warmed up to ‘Marco’.
The next drop off was us.
Our hotel? ‘Marco’ asked.
We gave him the name and his big eyes popped like marbles, rolled on the floor and everyone bent to look for them. “But this is at da aeroporto, sir!”
We came to Rome on a weekend holiday to stay at an airport hotel?
Are you kidding me?
How idiotic would that be?
“You have a name of streeta? Ah, si, no, no this is centre, no problemo!”
Finally, we reached our destination.
And that’s when the rain stopped.
The clouds disappeared like someone plucked them with a pair of pliers.
Piazza di Spagna gleamed polished, flowery and waiting for excited tourists to pose with it for a memorable photo.
Now, I’m not going to miss my Roman holiday over writing sillily here, but I’ll definitely come back on the super important subject of how on earth almighty Romans had such strong armies when all I can think about Italian men that I see today is that they’re too busy grooming themselves.
My husband and I came up with a possible explanation (in part II).
A più tardi!