The Loneliness of Arrival

I cannot describe the intense loneliness I felt once the proprietor of my little “bed and breakfast” (I wouldn’t go far enough go call it that) left me in this closet of a room…but first I must tell of the journey to even get that far…

My room

I left my house at 3:15 and headed towards JFK. I spent the entire time in the car working on a letter to Courtney and then on gathering quotes from my interview to use in the profile. I barely talked to Dad and Chris, and for this I feel bad, but it was necessary seeing how much work had to be done.

We got to the airport around 5:45 and had to wait until 6 for Air Europa to begin checking people onto the plane. Of course my bag was slightly too heavy so I had to leave my dictionary and the maple syrup which I had purchased for my host mom behind(along with shampoo which in retrospect I should have kept). I got through security after saying goodbye to the parents only to discover that my gate had changed, meaning that I had to go through security once more for an entirely different set of gates!!

I said goodbye to my parents once again, which was surprisingly not sad at all and headed to my new gate where I charged my phone, talked to my baby and worked on my article. Of course the plane was delayed by an hour, which only gave me more time to work and charge my phone. Once on the plane I realized how uncomfortable of a trip the would be on which I was about to embark. I had ZERO leg room. My bag barely fit under the seat and there was nowhere to stretch my legs. I slept a little bit out of necessity, but that flight was purely awful. Everyone spoke Spanish since we were flying to Madrid, which is fine, but I had some difficulty understanding the stewards who seemed to ignore me. There were no movies, which is ok. I read the New York Times when not “sleeping”.

I then had a four hour plus layover in Madrid which really is not the easy airport to navigate. I had to go through customs, take a bus somewhere, and then find my gate, which was not even listed on the screen because it was so far in the future! I bought some internet only to see an email saying something to the effect that I was supposed to get my bag in Madrid and transfer it myself!

Hello panic! I called Dad using my one free Skype call, and then ran off to the Air Europa desk who told me that in fact my bag would be waiting for me in Rome. I was relieved. I used the rest of my Internet to finish my profile and then talk to Courtney.   Fell asleep on the plane next to a kid who was kicking me in his dreams…kind of cute though.

Once in Rome I grabbed my bag and headed for the train to the Termini. I called the people to let me in successfully(using Italian pay phones is notoriously difficult) and went in search of a cab. I found one who said 28 euros express. I knew this was a HUGE ripoff, but I was far too tired to care. In retrospect I should have told him to shove it up his ass. I doubt he was even a real cab driver.

My "hotel" building

Once at the bed and breakfast I met up with the guy who rented it to me. I don’t remember his name but he spoke to me in Italian even though it was clear he knew some, if not a lot of English, which I appreciated. Sometimes I missed things, but overall I got the gist of what he was saying. Then he left and I was finally alone.

I wanted to shower immediately seeing as how I had been traveling straight for literally an entire day, but I’d of course this place provided no shampoo or soap, so I went in search of a pharmacy where I ended up spending 21 euros on shaving cream, shampoo and soap…WTF!!!! This city is expensive.

I returned to my apartment after attempting to find free internet all over the place, and there is free internet but only for Italians or people with certain phone services. Why do American companies have to be so difficult when it comes to compatibility? After my shower I tried to leave my little apartment complex, but couldn’t get the gate to open. I started to panic a little, so I headed up the stairs to my apartment.

Apartment Gates

Then I couldn’t get the main door to my building open and I almost lost it. What was wrong with my keys? I had no way of contacting anyone (I guess I could have used my iPhone if absolutely necessary), all of my stuff was locked inside and I couldn’t leave to go get help. I started to get dizzy, before I collected myself and tried to open the door once more. It opened and then I got back to my apartment when I realized that I had been trying to open the gate with my room key!

Pantheon at Night

I calmed down for a bit and then headed off to dinner at 10 o’clock. I went towards my old apartment where Mom, Rich and I stayed for 1 week the last and only other time I was in Rome. The wine bar at which I used to hang was still under the apartment, as was the first Italian restaurant at which we ate. I sat down, looking for linguini alle vongole, but couldn’t find it on the menu, so I ordered ravioli dei fiori della zucca. It came out immediately, and I mean immediately. It made me a bit uncomfortable, but I guess the kitchen has accidentally made one and they didn’t want to waste food. It was good, but not as good as I remember. I then had cicoria, or dandelion greens, alla padella con l’olio e l’aglio. Those were awesome.

Piazza Navona

After dinner I wandered the city a bit trying again, in vain, to find some internet. After walking off my massive dinner a bit at the Piazza Navona I went to Giolitti, a gelato place near the Pantheon which is out of this world. I ate a cone with half caramel and half riso…yea rice ice cream…amazing! Then I went home and attempted to work on my editorial, but only passed out.

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