Friday, September 2, 2011

Small Victories, Part II: Bologna, Day 1 1/2

 After snoozing for a bit after we arrived in Bologna, Dru and I hit the town. Earlier in the day we’d gone for a walk, and we were actually a little weirded out because nothing was open and the streets seemed relatively barren… then we realized it was Sunday, and on Sunday people apparently hide for most of the day. But it turns out  that the city is a pretty happenin’ place on Sunday night. We meandered around the city, got hit on by some boys who looked about 12, and looked for somewhere reasonable to eat… which in itself took over an hour. We are incredibly indecisive.

We eventually settled on Pizzeria Victoria, a restaurant near our hotel. After eating a delicious meal of tortellini, margherita pizza,  bread, and ½ liter of house proseco, Dru and I sat awkwardly for about 20 minutes before realizing that maybe we should flag someone down to ask about getting a bill. After about 20 more minutes of mustering up the courage to wave down a waiter (they are so quick here! Like the frickin’ Energizer Bunny), to ask “Dove si paga?” (Where does one pay?). If he didn’t know before, he definitely knew we were foreign now. I mean, yeah… Dru’s got blonde hair, that’s a giveaway… but they automatically knew we weren’t just foreign… we were American. The waiter proceeded to tell us, in English, that we need to go “inside the house” to pay. When we got up to leave, he gave us a huge smile and said “Thank you. Bye-bye.” The “bye-bye” was echoed by the man who took our money. We felt like douches and later walked down the other side of the street to avoid the waiters seeing us.

Pizza Magherita, before I polished the entire thing off.

Returning to the hotel, we veged for awhile and finally went to be around midnight. I set my ipod alarm clock to wake us up at 8:30, leaving up plenty of time to get ready and eat the free breakfast the hotel offers until 10.

Imagine my surprise when Dru and I wake up to the sound of some Italian woman screeching something indiscernible and a bunch of bangs coming from the hallway… and see that it’s 9:25. So much for ipod alarms—they can suck it. We merely threw on acceptable clothing and ran down to the breakfast bar, where I proceeded to abuse the espresso machine. Not seeing any other sized cups, I made the brilliant decision to put an espresso-sized cup beneath the machine and press the “cappuccino” button. The machine proceeded to fill the cup with 3 times the liquid it could hold. The hotel lady merely looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “No. Cup espresso… no cappuccino. Qui, cappuccino…” and handed me a larger cup that she whipped out from somewhere below the counter. Whoops. It was obvious that she thought I was mildly retarded. For a second, even I thought I was mildly retarded.

After breakfast we went down to the lobby to have a mini-meeting with Danielle, who works for the BCSP program. She dropped the bomb that we had to get cell phones today—at the very latest tomorrow—so we could begin our apartment search. Commence minor freak-out. Dru and I went to Vodafone first thing, where we met a bunch of other kids from our program. The dude behind the counter was totally overwhelmed. When it was my turn to go up, I merely said, “Siamo studentesse povere. Vorremo il cellulare piu economico.” Which translates into something like, “We are poor students. We would like the cheapest cell phone you have.” Turns out that the cheapest phone was sold out, so Dru and I both got the next cheapest thing: a nugget of a Nokia for 49 euro, plus a SIM card for 10 euro. Homefry set us up, and off we went, feeling very official with our Italian cell phones. It was actually much, much easier than we thought.

We spent the rest of the afternoon window shopping. I ended up buying a few things from Kiko Milano, which is this awesome make up brand that is only sold in Italy. Makeup has always been my weakness… but I was not amused when the Italian sales girl basically grabbed me, spit out a bunch of Italian that I did not understand, and proceeded to put mascara on one of my eyes. I had no choice but to stand there and let her do it. She then tried to get me to buy some of the mascara—and I thought she was going to be one of those crazy people who, like, shoves it in your face until you get so annoyed you buy it even though you don’t want to… but when I said, “No, grazie.” She merely shrugged and rung me up for my few purchases. Don’t worry, mom and dad, I only spent a little.

Dru and I then got some sandwiches and headed back to the hotel. We had to smuggle our food in, since we aren’t supposed to eat in our actual rooms. Oh, well. Oh, yeah, and then Dru opened the windows, which have the window panes that you open and close like you would a door, only to find out that one of our window panes is not connected up at the top. Thank god we figured out how to make it so that it didn’t fall out. The hotel would make us pay for that crap, and we don’t have the funds for broken windows or unintentional defenestration (look it up).  Once the window was back in, we took cat naps to ready ourselves for the night.

We ended up going to dinner at this super delicious restaurant in a seriously sketch area. It was located in an alleyway that was off another alleyway, which connected to a larger street… and it was downstairs, like a cave. But it was really nice and the tagliatelle al ragu was amazing. I just don’t understand how that place stays in bisniss… the five of us who went were the only ones there the entire time, and we stayed for more than 2 hours. Not a single person. Weird.

We then wen tout to get drinks at a bar called “English Empire”—and that’s without translation, it was actually called “English Empire”—and it was VERY English. Most of the patrons were Erasmus students… but the drinks were good and the company was great. On the way back to the hotel, Lindsay 1.0 and Dru hijacked a place selling sandwiches (were they gyros? I’m not sure…) with fries inside of them. The place put fries in a sandwich! Genius!

Dru with her sandwich. She is going to kill me for putting this on the internet.

 When Dru and I got back to the room we had the good sense of logging into, an Italian website that lists apartment vacancies in the area, and sending messages to apartment prospects. Yep, not such a great idea given that it was 2 AM and we had to be up in 5 hours... and considering we were slightly (but responsibly) intoxicated. Small victory! Not.

PS: Please drink responsibly, kids!

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