Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's not as bad as buying a thong

Today marked the official day to buy text books. Not that it was mandated by some 'god' force, but rather that we as a group (me, Kate, Erica, and Molly) decided to retrieve our text books from the 'very easy to locate bookstore'.  First of all, that is a load of Alaskan lies. "Why?" you ask.  It's because directions like, "walk 250 meters" is not very helpful. What direction? Right? Left? Straight down into the center of the earth? Or, even better, 250 meters straight up by scaling the edge of the nearest building using our incredible Spidey webs, and the newly purchased suction cup shoes. So yes, 250 meters.... and walk there. Don't skip! Do not run! I sayeth, walk. And walk we did.

We walked, and we walked, and we walked. First thing we had to do was to (get expresso, duh) then find the bus stop.  Although this seems like a relatively simple step-much like walking 250 meters- it proved difficult.  Not just because the four of us are not terribly familiar with the public transportation routes of Rome, but also because the bus stops are not very clearly marked (and the directions told us to just take the 116 bus).  So after about 45 minutes of walking around the area attempting to find this elusive stop, we happened upon what we thought to be the right one. We waited for a bit, waved to some tour buses, then finally jumped on the 116. Let the adventures actually begin! This bus promptly took us in a direction that we didn't think we actually wanted to go. According to the incredibly informative orientation lectures, we decided that at the next stop, we would hop off and switch sides of the street to get on the same bus going to opposite direction. This brings us to lie number two. The stop that we ended up walking two was several blocks away.  We arrived at this stop to find a 116 bus conveniently parked there. Hurrah! Looks like this excursion is looking up! So we hop on, thinking we know exactly what we are doing, and check our tickets (note, this is an important step in case the authorities decide to check your tickets.  If you do not have your ticket stamped, you are fined 50 euros and the price of the ticket. Basically it's not a good deal.) we check our tickets and discover that the man who was on the bus we bordered originally was magically on this bus too. We recognized him by his pinstripe pants, and pink cell phone.  We sat down expecting to being again in the right direction, all to discover that the engine was completely off and we were apparently just taking a little break. After a few minutes of chillaxing, we started up again, and literally wound our way around various narrow streets until we reached what we assumed would be 250 meters from our final destination.


Not only was it a flagrant lie saying that the stop we were supposed to get off at was in the Spanish Steps area, but the book store was no where near by. We walked to the Spanish Steps, took some pictures, took a brief detour to an underwear store (see blog title) and decided that we would grab lunch (after all, it was close to 2 pm-we started there at 11).  After looking for some place that wasn't ridiculously expensive, regardless of the fact that it was right next to the designer stores (read: 5th Avenue), we found a small restaurant that also had air conditioning (double plus, for sure).  We sat down, ordered drinks, and began talking. We ordered food, and waited. Erica pretty promptly got a plate of roasted potatoes.  Considering that she was supposed to get some with her roast lamb-not that strange. However what was strange was that after a few minutes (5-10 minutes) the waiter came and took the untouched plate away, went back to the kitchen for maybe 30 seconds, and brought it right back out to the man who was at the table next to us. Rapid Italian words were exchanged before what we assumed was some offer of free dessert.  After a good long giggle about that little hot potato incident, and a better longer wait, we received our lunch.  Ate, and regained our energy to actually find this mysterious book store.

If I wanted to be repetitive, I would say something like "We walked and we walked and we walked," but I don't want to do that... So I won't. But we did. And then turned around (keep in mind that this walking thing involved going UP the Spanish Steps= long) and went back the way we came. But unfortunately for us, we couldn't rely on just the map that they gave us. Oh no, that would be easy, we had to use all three maps that we had between us- the one with the address of the store, Erica's that she stole from some travel book, and Kate's nifty pop up map. Using the combined powers of the deathly hallows to wander around for another good hour-which felt like 3 years- we wandered around, back tracking, retracing, and had a pitstop to get some gelato.  At this point I decided to be incredibly adventurous and try the pink grapefruit flavor. Can you say delicious? I can, and I did. Fact. I also got way more gelato than what I paid for, so that's a winner, and potentially the highlight of my day.  So we continued on our meandering and eventually, through some clever calculations, we FINALLY stumbled upon it. There. 250 meters from nowhere. No where that I've ever seen before, and judging by how long it took us to get there the first time, I never will again. We purchased our books with relatively equal parts of exhaustion and glee and  began the trek home.

We walked down the street, and around the corner to find that magical 116 bus for the third time. Not caring how long it took anymore, we jumped on, stamped the tickets, and took a STRAIGHT SHOT back to where we started. What? Read it again. You'll be in the same place we were. Dumbfounded, sweaty, smelly, and feeling like idiots. So we got off the bus, and walked all the way to the grocery store, got some more grub, and sweated our way home.

Granted, we may laugh at this entire experience later. And we did have a fair amount of awkward giggles over dumb luck and dumb decisions. Regardless, it was an adventure. And Lordy be knows I love an adventure.

IN OTHER NEWS: The mannequin name contest winner is my mother with the suggestion of Anne Boleyn.  Runner up was Bethany who's suggestion of Helga was proudly given to the nude woman in my room. Congratulations to all who submitted either by email or blog comment, you are all stars in my book.

For those of you incredibly confused about what happened to the picture page, there may be a new arrangement in order. Blogspot believes that 'static pages' are useful. Although they are wrong, I am not computer savvy enough to figure it out.  So once I get the pictures trimmed down to a manageable size dose, and finish the Flickr account set up, I will make sure to put a link/slide show on this page so you can literally see what is going on.  For those of you who are friends with me on facebook, check out some of those pictures. And with that, this is Kelsey from Rome-signing off.

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