Monday was the day the toilet wouldn’t stop running. Initially, I thought I would go into Venice late because I hadn’t seen it at night, but when time to leave came I just didn’t have the interest to go and my knee still hurt from a three day accumulation of stairs. Since my iPad battery was dead I decided to take a walk while it charged, planning on the way back to stop at the neighborhood grocery store for a snack of some sort as I could not face cold lasagna again. The grocery store was open as I passed it on the way down the road. I walked down the road for a while and then turned around and walked up the road for a while and then started back. The entire round trip took about an hour and apparently I looked like a local because someone stopped me for directions and looked completely freaked out when I said, “sorry, no Italian.” I went to the grocery store only to find that it was closed. Open at 2, closed at 3. From past experience I can guess it will be open again around 5, but until then I’m stuck with nothing but €3 Cokes and €2 Kit Kats (also beer, whiskey, gin and brandy, but I’m even less likely to get into those.) I used the bathroom, flushed and got my iPad off the charger. Now just imagine, the flush sounds like Niagara Falls at peak volume. The room is eight by ten. There is no escape from the noise. Plus I have spent the last three years in a place where water is precious. So I headed down to the desk. All the way down the stairs I could hear the water running through the pipes. I’m not exaggerating. I was standing at the desk explaining and asked the desk clerk if she could hear it and she could. The very lovely repairman came up and fixed it, explaining to me what had happened and how he fixed it, entirely in Italian of course and now I’m afraid to use it again.
Around dinner time I decided to make another stab at the grocery store. I replaced my suitcase so that it no longer looked like animals had been nesting in it and determined how much space I had to smuggle home goodies from the grocery store. Too bad the grocery store wasn’t more accommodating. It’s just a little neighborhood place and while the ginseng coffee looked interesting I figured I didn’t need anymore help being wired. The neighborhood people think I’m amusing and smile at me when they see me now. The cashier in the grocery store was very patient while I sort through my mess of coins to pay for my meager dinner. This is unusual. Italy doesn’t have, shall we say, a service oriented culture. If you are lucky when you walk into a shop they will ignore you. If you’re not, they will watch you like they expect you to start randomly pocketing stuff. Once you decide to purchase something, sometimes they are pleasant and sometimes they act like you are bothering them. For the first few days when I walked down the street the passersby stared at me like I was an invading Hun. Now, they’re smiling back. Too bad I’m leaving tomorrow. They’ve just started to like me.
I did learn why I never managed to see Venice after dark. The freaking sun doesn’t set until eight o’clock! What the heck! In Abu dhabi the sun is setting at seven and by eight I’m in bed. I thought it was because I was going out too early. This is just another way in which Venice is like Disney World. To get the best experience you really have to stay in the park, er on the island, islands. Whatever. To get the best experience you must be on site. That way you can go out early for the entertaining sight of the milk boat and the trash boat, go back to your hotel for a midday rest and drying off session if it happens to be raining or you had the mis fortune of walking into high tide because you didn’t expect it to be on the sidewalk, then go back out for an afternoon stroll, maybe fetch dinner and you’ll have the energy to see Venice after dark when the sun sets ridiculously late. However, unlike Disney, you will have to drag your luggage through half of Venice to an overcrowded vaporatto to the bus that will take you to the airport. And how you find your hotel in the first place is a mystery. I couldn’t find anything twice unless it was the Rialto Bridge or San Marco Square, both of which seem to have their own gravity.
Travel day tomorrow. The airport bus leaves here at quarter to twelve. The bus in to Al Ain arrives at ten. Almost twenty-two joy filled hours of buses, airports and crowded planes unless I luck into another upgrade. Come on, upgrade! I need to get some sleep.