ahhh, venice [see all]
18 Sept 2004, Venice: You know, the streets of Venice remind me a lot of the "streets" of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, especially on an a windless evening like tonight, with the sky a muted deep blue and the temperature a perfect 70 degrees or so. It's truly bizarre -- and sad -- that I'm here in Venice for the second time in my life and I'm reminded of Las Vegas. The people in the tourist areas have mostly been a mix of Italians, Americans, Brits, and Japanese. During the day, it was a madhouse in the tiny little streets around Piazza San Marco, and we had to fight to get through to our hotel with our luggage intact! Things calmed down a little bit in the evening. By 10:30pm, San Marco had only a few herds of tourists milling about, mostly near the three or four bands set up to entertain people with super-cheesified classical hits and tango music. Have you ever heard Eine Kleine Nachtmusik played by a violin, a double bass, an accordian, and a piano? I hadn't, either. Actually, tonight I had some of the same feelings I had while visiting Las Vegas with the early E.piphany crew: I was really happy to be in a place where everyone was laughing and having a great time (and, it really is beautiful), but that happiness was juxtaposed with a bit of cringing whenever I stopped to observe the devices set in place to attract mainstream tourism. Don't get me wrong -- I am having a great time here, but my thoughts toward tourism in Europe (as opposed to coming here to visit friends, which I am sure I will always enjoy) are turning more and more sour as I visit more remote and interesting places outside of Europe.
mom, in burano [see all]
20 Sept 2004, Venice: Yesterday, I left my pen at the internet cafe (it wasn't there when I returned) and booked a wrong return ticket for an impromptu trip to Berlin (no changes to the route), which will cost me a few hours in train time upon my arrival back to Italy. And tonight, I left my favorite vest at a restaurant (a thin, black Helly Hanson), and a hole spontaneously appeared in my trousers (i guess they're old). What an exciting trip this is turning out to be! Oh well. At least I'm in Italy. :) We finally had some good pasta this evening after a long trek to Campo Santa Margherita, which was filled with young folk (we went there on Marta's recommendation). Marta told me to get a Spritz, which turned out to have a nice sort of alcoholic bitterness. After the pasta dishes came, we started to get excited about the food, but then the secondi dishes turned out to be nearly inedible. And afterwards, the waiter (or someone) stole my vest after I left it on the chair (the one i described, above).
More fun food stories:
market in venice [see all]
- In Burano this early afternoon, we sat down to have a grilled fish lunch. The water arrived with a plate of fish and split them onto two dishes -- one for each of us. As he turned to leave, my mother asked for the fish head, because she loves to eat fish heads. I'm not sure that they get that request much here. :)
- The waiter yesterday was really, really annoying. We made the unfortunate decision to have dinner near Piazza San Marco, and our waiter kept saying, "... only for you," which was just stupid because he was saying it non-stop to everyone else sitting around us. And when the check came (with 10% service already added to it), he repeated, "your check, with no tip for me" over and over again while hovering around the bill. This made me want to get up and leave without leaving any (additional) tip at all. Talk about spoiling the ambience!
Yeah, so I'm stressed out. The good has been interspersed with stressful bad due to the brainless mistakes I've been making lately. At least the stress will go away after I go to sleep for the night. I tend to wake up stress-free. :)
Update: I feel better now. All I needed was a good night's sleep. :) I'm in Berlin now, by the way.