Monday, April 16, 2012

Week Fifty: My Adventure In Rome, Part One

This week, you get a post every day until Friday!  Yay!

I arrived in Rome late on Saturday.  I paid for a taxi to my hotel, the first of, well, an avalanche of mistakes that make this trip more of an adventure than a vacation.  At the end of the next day, I would discover the defining event of my adventure.  If this were a novel, it'd be the end of the exposition and the beginning of the tension.

Being the protagonist by the way, is terribly frightening work.  I wish it on no one.  You see, before I left for the airport, I withdrew enough money to see me through a few days.  So I didn't think I needed to keep my card on me, and given Rome's reputation for pick pockets, I decided it would be safer in my hotel room, especially as I couldn't close my purse due to the size of my guide book.  Instead, I would just use cash.


You already know what happened next.  I can tell.

There are blond moments, and then there are Blond Moments.  This fits into the second category I should think.

I returned late that night.  I checked my cash, then went to grab my debit, as I had found a nearby ATM machine inside nice location with few enough tourists to be attractive to thieves, and enough security to make be feel better.

It wasn't there.

I checked my bag, emptied it, filled it up again, looked all around the bed, even under the mattress.

I tried, frantically, to call my dad.  I notified the hotel, the police, and got directions to the embassy and the phone number to shut off my card.


I couldn't get a hold of my dad, but it was near midnight so I figured he was asleep.

I fell asleep.

The next morning I tried to call the bank to stop the card.  Right as the kind woman picked up, my phone cut off.

Toll fee numbers aren't toll fee in Rome, and add in the roaming charges for being in another country....

Yeah the amount I normally use in two months was gone in two days.

This all happens on Monday by the way.  Monday in Rome is the day all government activities take a break.  It's their Saturday, I think.  On Monday in Rome, our embassy in its over elaborate building, is closed.  I know, I tried to get in.  Nope.  I wouldn't be able to get in at all, or talk to anybody there, until Wednesday.  I tried Tuesday to find the embassy again but ended up lost and on the opposite side of  the city.  On Wednesday I get to the embassy again, only to be told I'm not allowed in...without an appointment.

Why do we have an embassy again?  What do these people do?  Either way the marines there allowed me to use a phone there to call my dad.  I received no answer.  I left a message, but, distrusting phones, began a quest to find a library.  Why a library?

I'm used to public libraries having free computer access.  Not so in Rome.  There's a five dollar fee for a library card that allows you on the computers there.  It took me three hours to find this place by the way.  My ability to get lost astounds even me.  However, I am now the proud owner of a Roman library card?  I e-mailed Daddy, asking him to call at nine pm, and giving him the hotel's phone number.

Nine passed.  Then nine thirty.  No call.

At nearly ten pm I finally received the phone call!  But couldn't hear anything.  We tried three times.  I could hear him just enough to know it was my dad.  That was all.  Then Grandpa called, thank goodness!  Information was exchanged, and the old card was killed.  Daddy couldn't lend me money for the un-paid for hotel room however, so I tried to get in contact with my grandparents...only to discover that the internet cafe I finally tracked down had no microphones or way to plug in a headset.  At this point, I am more than a little worried.

Money is low.  Morale is lower.

It's Thursday by this point.  I begin plotting ways to raise the needed money.  None were exactly very morale, but Rome has a way of seeping into your skin.

In comes my super wonderful friend.  I explain the situation, we talk.  He wires me the funds I need.  I could pick it up...Friday.  I sincerely hope you don't believe it gets better.

Western Union informed me I had the wrong information.  They needed a different set of information.  It is 3 am on the east coast, my friend is asleep.  I am left in tense fear for four hours as I wait for him to wake up and please, please, please get online and have the info needed handy.

I took a guess at what time he'd pop on for the day.  I only had so much time after all, and only so much money.  Four minutes after I log in, he's on.  Ten minutes later, I have the info and the money.  This should be the end of the horrifying drama that was my vacation.

Should be.

We haven't reached the stories climax yet folks.  I still had to get to the airport.

The hotel cost twenty more Euro than he had sent.  There went my money for eating, along with my money to get to the airport to catch my plane.

I used the metro to get to the termini.  There, there wasn't supposed to be an inexpensive train, just a euro, to the airport.  It took ages but it would go.  It wasn't.  I was at the wrong Termini.  How!  Well, there's several Termini's in Rome.  This one did have trains to the airport though.  For fourteen euro.

Ah crude.

I lucked out.  An ex-patriate gave me an old used ticket.  He said it'd get me on the train.  They'd let it go as a confused tourist thing.  I manage to get to the airport, and catch my flight, which was a good four hours earlier than I thought it was!  Then I got to Frankfurt.

Well.  I was in Germany at least.

My dad was there with my little sister.  We missed the first train, because we got separated.  then we missed three more.  Finally, we catch a train.  We get to our final train stop and our ride back home was late by thirty minutes.

I made it back...very early on Sunday.

That's just a basic over all summary of events of course.  Still, you can have the rest of the week, and all the nitty gritty details starting tomorrow.  As it is, let's just say that I have had enough adventures like that for at least a little bit! Please!

One Final Byte: May you lead a boring life.  No, seriously.

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