November 2, 2008

Asolo to Venice to New York

Filed under: language,transportation,travel — origamifreak @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , , , ,

On Sunday afternoon I drove back to Venice.

The irritating GPS Lady didn’t know about some intersections that had been changed to roundabouts and vice versa, and she couldn’t find the hotel, so that is why there’s a lot of driving around at the end. Also, there wasn’t anyone in the rental lot to give the Budget car back to, and no Budget slots left, so I ended up just finding an empty slot on the side and parking there. I had to lug my suitcase back into the airport to give them back the car keys, and they wouldn’t give me a receipt because “they hadn’t checked the car yet.” I extracted a promise to email me the receipt, and I still haven’t received it.

Then I had to figure out how to get to the hotel (the Budget lady wouldn’t help me call them for the shuttle, but sent me to the information counter). The information counter was 6 people deep with exactly one person working it, so I went to figure out the pay phone, swiped my travel card, and called the hotel, to find out that the shuttle was off from 2-4pm. My watch said “4pm,” and when I pointed this out to them, they informed me that daylight saving time had ended that morning. Which explains why neither the museum nor the information office in Asolo had been open. OK, well, now I know.

So I asked how to get the hotel, and the woman on the phone told me to take the bus. This was not an appealing option with a large heavy suitcase (now I had all the papers and stuff from work in it), so I opted for a taxi, where the taxi guy was mean and nasty.

Eventually I got to the hotel, and when I rolled up to the counter, the guy there was on the phone, apparently to someone at the airport, and he said “the shuttle is not running right now, so how about I send my colleague to come get you?” I blew my stack, at this point. I mean, how come I had to go through all the hassle I just went through, if other people were being offered rides?

The restaurant at the hotel was closed, so I had to walk down the busy street to a local pizza place, where I had a gloppy pasta carbonara next to a couple of guys from the US (South Carolina and Tenessee), who epitomized the stereotype of “Ugly American.” Their idea of trying to speak Italian was to add “o” to the end of every English word. No wonder the waitress was frustrated – even I couldn’t understand them!

They were there for work, both in the retail sporting goods business, checking out the Asolo boot factories in Romania and Treviso. It didn’t help that they couldn’t even pronounce “Asolo.” South Carolina called it “Oslo.” No, I said, it’s “AS-o-lo.” I was just there this past weekend. That’s what I said, he replied, “Oslo.”

There were two women on the other side of us they were trying to chat up, and one of them said she was from Malta. The other was a chemical blonde Italian, who was clearly horrified and yet fascinated by these aliens. She was doing her best at trying to flirt with them. The Maltese could tell what she was dealing with and wasn’t going to bother.

“Where is Molto?” Tenessee asked.

After hearing the reply, he said, “What country is it in?”

“It’s in Malta,” she replied. “It’s a country.”

He received this with a puzzled pause, then asked, “Are there many mountains there, for hiking?”

*sigh* It’s people like this that make me wish I were Canadian.

I recounted this story on the airplane to the woman next to me who was from New Jersey, and she agreed that he must be pretty ignorant to have never heard of Malta. Then later the guy in the aisle seat in front of us got up to use the facility. It was Tenessee. At first I regretted having said what I did (I’m sure he heard me), but then I decided that if he was going to be travelling around in Europe without the faintest interest in language or geography, then he had only gotten what he deserved.

Anyway, here are some pictures from that flight.

Marco Polo airport in Venice:

The inevitable swampy wetland next to a coastal airport:

The dolomites (I think); the alps came later.

Another Delta plane that flew alongside us over France:

We went right over the English Channel, the part between Dover and Calais, and could see the hovercrafts buzzing back and forth. I apologise for not taking a picture of it.

New York:

See earlier comment about coastal airports and wetlands:

The leaves were probably at their peak in NYC (they’d already finished in the Finger lakes before I’d left, almost two weeks before).


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