02 June 2007

Siena, ITALY!!!

What started to be a perfectly planned trip with no flaws....because of course I did the planning and knew exactly what would happen: the who, what, where, when and why's of everything; quickly turned into almost, but not quite, a bit of a dissaster!

To start things off righ, Vicki, the girl I'm with, didn't get her passport until, and I kid you not, TWENTY minutes before our flight took off!! For about two days I had prepared for going all by my lonesome to Rome and do my best to avoid the gypsies who my dad warned me would steal all I had!! Vicki actually chased around the mail deliverer lady and got her passport from her truck! Crazy right? Who chases around a mail lady!! It was worth it though, and Vicki and her mom showed up at the gate no more than twenty minutos before we started to board. A huge sigh of relief for both of our families!

So once on the plane, we walked all the way to pretty much the very back, since we were in coach, found our seats and couldn't wait to be served dinner...we hadn't eaten all day due to nerves and some dismay. To add to my hunger pangs...my sister and mom had convinced me to stay up the entire night before so that I would be SO TIRED, I would fall asleep on the plane all those 7 hours. So I did...stayed up the whole night and got to the airport dog tired! Finally, after eating some sort of mushy potato junk and what appeared to be meat and veggies...I found a good movie to watch and tried to fall asleep. BUT NO!! My body was not ready for sleep and wouldn't be for what ended up being 20 hours later!! But here is the best part of the airplane story:

Ok, so we are sitting on the left side of the plane in the two seater side by the window. In the middle of the plane are rows of 5 and then the other two seaters on the right. I'm near the window and Vicki is on the isle...and this big black dude is in the middle of the 5 seaters in the middle-ish. I nudged Vicki and told her, hey, that guy keeps looking back at us...what the heck. AND NO JOKE..this guy literally is looking over his shoulder every ten seconds or so...and no I'm not racist, but it was dark and I know he was looking because you could see his eyes..just a fun fact for ya!! ;) So this little shinanigan went on the entire flight to London...and about thirty minutes before we landed a little note was passed onto me and Vic, and this is what it said:

To hot girl in seat 41A

Hey how you doing? You enjoying the flight? I couldn't help but notice you and I think your so hot. (he doesn't know how to spell the right your: it's you're!) So hot that my neck is hurting from turning around so much.
Well if your (again with the you're!) gonna be in London for a while I was hoping I could meet up with you? From seat 39 E (which actually wasn't the seat he was sitting in)

PS If you wanna meet up I'll give you half of my number now and half when you reply on the reverse of this sheet. (which is an index card)

I'm british if you didn't already know.

Ok, so first of all, why would I know he was british?? There are black dudes in America too ya know!! I just thought that was funny! So after some debate about what we should wright back, I thought it would be fun to first of all, say no, but in an awkward, yet funny to us kind of way! So this is what Vicki and I thought up of and wrote back to him:

Flattered, yes, that's very sweet and you made my morning! however, my partner and I are on our way to Siena and are catching a plane to Rome as soon as we get off the plane.

We're American if you didn't notice..

HAHAHA!!! I know it wasn't very nice to lie, but we didn't really want him to follow us around the airport, hang out with us and what not....we were kinda stressed and really tired!! ( we're not really lesbians, it was a deterring kind of joke!) So basically we made him feel awkward..mission accomplished...and he said thanks for letting him know and hoped we enjoyed our trip ( and to shoot him an e mail maybe some day). Ah our first awesome story about Italy!!

So finally we show up to London, ready to board our plane to ROMA!! But wouldn't ya know, we ran into a bit of a problem...the little crew workers decided to have a dispute...we go up to the Alitalia airline to find out the issue of getting to Roma, and there was a sign the said our flight was cancelled, along with a few others, due to crew dispute!! WHAT! Ya, it's true, strikes in Europe happen all the time apparently. It turned ourt ok anyway and the lady at the desk gave us 5 pounds for lunch and we waited almost three hours in London for another plane. We didn't know where exactly we were supposed to go, they hadn't found a gate yet, so we plopped ourselves down on a bench in the middle of London's international airport and waited for the screen to tell us where to go. I fell asleep for who knows how long and when I woke up, the screen still said: please wait. It wasn't until almost 30 minutes before our planed was schedule to take off that we found our gate, boarded and finally left for Roma!! The plane sucked too...we both fell asleep in the most uncomfortable seats and woke up with our necks stiff and still tired. We had plans to stay in Rome that night but decided to just make it all the way to Siena.

We didn't know where the termini was, so we walked what ended up being extremely out of our way and finally found it! We bought a train ticket to Siena and hopped on board. We sat in a little 'room' on the train and shoved all our junk into two seats and us in another two seats. We have far too much stuff with us! But we learned our lesson! After about 45 minutes, we came to the next train station and had to change trains. Which, as you may have guessed...for a lack of better words...sucked!! Not only because we had two bags each, but also because for some reason no one really wanted to help us cause we were silly american girls who brought too much stuff!! We literally drug our junk off the train and found ourselves in the middle of the Rome train station...a place that cannot be described other than caos. Massive amount of people moving around and the two of us standing in shock not knowing were to go! It took us about half an hour to find someone who spoke enough english to help us find out which train to take. Good thing we did too; we found it in the nick of time and sat in the first car we got in...bags and all and I closed my eyes...maybe I could catch a couple of z's on our 3 hour trek to Siena.

A couple minutes later, I was woken up from my not so deep sleep to the train guy asking us for our tickets. We gave them to him and he gave us some bad news: We had to move to the next car because this was first class!!! OO!!! We were not really mad because no one else was in first class so we weren't stealing seats and it really wasn't that nice anyways, but I really didn't want to haul all my junk around!! It was hard enough to get on the train..ugh...but he wouldn't budge and we had to move cars.

We finally got to the next car, which wasn't far but took forever to move our fortress of stuff. When the train stopped, we were both asleep and thought we had missed our stop! But luckily a man next to us read our ticket and said we had to get off on the next one; which was good because it gave us time to get our stuff ready. :) This guy was so cool, I don't remember his name, but him and his family were from South Africa and were touring Italy, on their way to Siena. He also helped us get off the train so that was nice!! Before we got off at our stop, we met another guy who was from Conneticut, his name is Cameron, and on his way to Siena to meet up with his buddy. We got off at our next stop and followed our new found friends to the other side of the tracks...down the stairs, under the tracks and back up to the other side.

Two second later, we were told that the train we needed to catch was actually on the OTHER SIDE we had just came from!! So we had to haul our stuff all the way back to the other side!! WHY!!! But good thing we had found these awesome African people or we would have been stuck in some random city in Italy...

FINALLY!!! We made it to Siena!! It was really late and kinda cold, my hoodie was packed somewhere in the depths of my bag...Cameron was nice enough to tell us about the hotel he an his buddy, Andrew, were staying at. It was about midnight so we would have the best luck trying to get into that one than any other so we split a taxi and headed off to the Hostel. And by the way, Italians have no speed limits...This taxi driver was going so fast and these little tiny roads...and it wasn't just because he was a taxi driver...they all drive like this!! So anyways, we show up at this hostel at almost midnight and convinced the manager to please let us poor girls stay here!! She was so helpful and really nice. She put us up in a room they don't usually rent out and we crashed the second we hit the pillow...at this point I had been awake for nearly 50 hours!

When I woke up this morning at about ten, I was a bit disoriented...I forgot were I was, but as soon as I looked out the window...I immediately knew! Out my window was the picture perfect green rolling hills of SIENA!! We were so stoked to finally be here after all the months of anticipation! We took showers, ate a meal of bread and jelly, yummy OJ and headed out to look around. It was really one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Italy is breathtaking!! I am surrounded, even at this moment, by endless hills of bright green grass, colorful flowers, skies that are filled with rain clouds...warm, but cool with the breeze...and indescribable beauty. It is just like every picture you have ever seen. Breathtaking beauty...just check out the pictures!!

So we made it into the actually city of Siena, which is referred to as "The Centre" and came up to our new school for the next three weeks. It isn't a very big school...looks like someone's house that is a school. And by house I mean a four huge building that looks like a something from the Fresh Prince street...about four stories high and right in the middle of the town. It's only about a 5 minute walk to the main area people seem to congregate. That's all I know of it so far since we did not stay very long.

Two people from the school, who both know English, ASL, Italian and LIS...an amazing task...took us out for lunch. Vic and I were stoked since we haven't had a real meal in about 3 days. We came up to this little bar, which is a coffee/sandwich joint, and ordered a sandwich, which wasn't what we thought it would be. It ended up being a huge chunk of break with a paper thin piece of meat in it! It was really weird, not very filling, but a good tie until we had dinner. While we were still there, I ordered a coffee....now when I think coffee, I'm thinkin I will get a descent size cup of delicious coffee that I can take while I walk around. NO! This cup of coffee was the size of a child's tea cup with a small amout of espresso, I added about a tablespoon or so of milk and that was it! Really weird, tastey, but weird. I asked the two people we were with, who btw are deaf, if we could take the coffee with us (this was before I ordered my child size coffee) and they looked at me like I was crazy!! NO NO!!! You don't take your coffee with you out of the shop!! People just don't do that!! If you want to sit down to eat, you have to pay more than you would if you just stayed standing up...so we ate our sandwich and drank our coffee standing inside the shop! Crazyness!

Up till now, it has been raining all day long so we didn't get a chance to really look around. It stopped raining when our host mother came to pick us up at the school...SHE IS AWESOME!! Roberta is super nice, chatty and very bubbly! She gave us a map of how to get to her house (because we will walk to school everyday), took us about 1/4 of the way, and then said I will see you at home! She wanted us to make sure we could figure out how to get there! She took our bags in her tiny little car and sent us on our way...We did ok for a while but the streets are hard to follow! I will write more about the streets later when I get a real good chance to look at them.

We found our new home for the next few weeks and it is so cute!! Roberta made us an amazing dinner of pasta, salad, turkey and dessert!! I was in heaven because this is legit Italian food! And there was alot of it!! Good for me since I eat so much! She thought I was crazy when I asked for my third helping..but I was super hungry!!! Anyway, I will be going to bed pretty soon...I'm so tired from the past three days of going non stop around the world! CIAO!!!

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Mom said...
Mandi, this is a great idea! Please keep the diary going! Have fun, be safe.Luv.

June 3, 2007 7:32 AM

Ann said...
What an adventure!! Siena is a great place...be sure to see the cathedral...it has stripes! There is also a fabulous, but tiny, place to eat just off the Piazza del Campo...down a "street" on the lower side of the plaza. Can't remember the name but maybe you'll find it.Have a wonderful trip and keep up the story! Love, Ann and the furkids.

June 4, 2007 2:06 PM

Alicia said...
Mandi, that one guy in your pictures never looks into the camera....hmmm.....

June 11, 2007 5:24 PM