Friday, April 23, 2010

Cut Off

Monday night, the internet went out in my apartment.  Tuesday, I wrote my last post, and since then I've barely had any access to the internet at all.  I only get online when I'm at Christine's office, and I don't like to hang out there for very long.  So I suffer.

And the internet has not yet been fixed in the apartment, despite many promises.  So, I'm at Christine's office once again, where I arrived after a two-mile run around Venice.  I started off having a general idea of where I wanted to go, and then I just changed my mind somewhere in the middle.  I tried to map it, but there's a good chance that in the middle there I took different little side streets or alleys.  But the distance is roughly the same, and the path is close to what I actually did.

At that little "2" I hopped on a traghetto and crossed the canal, then walked the few hundred feet to Christine's office.  I believe this will be considered my Venice adventure for the day, especially since I almost bonked my head on a boat as the traghetto backed out of its space.  I might be unconscious right now, if not for the quick reflexes of a man riding with me.

Yesterday's adventure was my attempt to get proof that I am sort of a local here in Venice.  I walked to Piazzale Roma, which is the bus station on the west side of town (you can see it on the top left of the map up there), in order to obtain my IMOB Venezia travel card.  You see, riding the vaporetto here can be an expensive proposition if you don't get one of these cards.  Each little ride costs €6.50, which is really annoying if you're only going one or two stops.  But if you get a card, which cost €40, you only have to pay €1 for each ride.  Or you can add another €28 and get unlimited rides for a month.  Obviously a much better deal.

So, I headed over to the ticket office (after first thinking that I had to get on another boat from Piazzale Roma, but realizing that I was standing in front of the place I needed to be), where a man sold me a form for €40.  It was all in Italian, and though I could get a general sense of what it wanted (name, address, etc.), I wasn't sure about all of it.  Also, I didn't have a pen.  And when I went to a different window to ask a guy if I could borrow a pen, he reacted in a not-so-pleasant manner.  So then I went looking for where I could buy a pen.  It's a tourist area, so surely a kiosk would have some stupid souvenir, right?

Wrong.  At least not that I could see.  So I went to a grocery story down the street and spent €3.24 on two erasable pens, which were the only ones I could find.  I had spoken to Christine to find out about translating the form and she had told me she knew of a site that would tell her everything I needed, so she would call back.  After I purchased the pens, I took the phone out of my pocket and stared at a blank screen.

The thing with this phone with a prepaid SIM card is that if it turns off, you have to re-enter the PIN to make it work again.  I could not for the life of me remember this number, and this is when I nearly cried. But I made a stiff upper lip, went back to the ticket office, sat down, and stared at the form.  I figured out name and address and date of birth (though I did it backward, American style, even though I knew they wanted it European style; it wasn't spiteful, just a mistake).  And I even figured out that something on there meant "city of birth," though for some reason I forgot to fill that in.  I was pretty damn proud of myself, even though I left several boxes empty.  I decided to chance it and walk up to the window, praying that they wouldn't yell at me in Italian and send me on my way.

Turns out I did a lot of worrying for nothing.  I handed a woman the form and my passport, and after she laughed at me for messing up my date of birth, she proceeded to put all the information in the computer.  She took the photo I had brought with me and used her little webcam to take a photo of that photo.  Then she handed it back to me.  I almost laughed. And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  She never said a word, but by glancing at the screen I could see that her computer was not doing what she wanted it to.  She printed out my card, but apparently needed to validate it or something, and it took her about twenty minutes to just take it over to her neighbor's computer and spend five seconds doing it there.  Then she handed me my card, and voila, Erin [surname redacted, even though most of you know it] had something that almost made it seem like she truly belongs in Italy.

In case you're wondering, that picture on the card is one of me in Scottsdale, holding up two adult beverages.  It's hard to tell, but it's a good picture.  And only makes me look like a bit of a drunk.

This weekend, we're going to Rome.  6:30 am train on Saturday morning, returning Sunday evening.


Orel said...

Almost a traghetty, but now you're going imobile. Looking forward to hearing about Rome. Don't forget to visit the Piazza del Campanella.

Mr. Customer said...

The pun epidemic has spread. Put the cattle in the barn and the women and children in the cellar.

I think Orel is mixing up his tourist spots. It's Campanella del Re and Piazza San Michele.

Mr. Customer said...

Some, who will not be identified, may have purposefully used an inebriated photo for their int'l student card, so as to facilitate proper identification.