Day 3

Posted by Whit Barringer , Wednesday, May 30, 2007 1:27 PM


CT 3:52
IT 10:52


Today hasn’t been too awfully busy – just rainy. We’ve had two or three stints of downpours – one of which was while we were on our way to go eat dinner. But before I get ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning.

This morning we got up and met at Kent State University (the university who we’re studying through in Florence). We went upstairs and were introduced to two of the people who work for KSU here in Florence. Then we had the most entertaining act of the day: a chief inspector from the police department. “Get use-ta to my funny English-a. It’sa bout as good as it’s gonna get-a.” I’m not exaggerating. He was so fun (and cute!). Here are some of the things he told us:
Don’t leave your windows open at any time, especially at night. Robbers have been known to scale buildings to break in.

  • The gypsies in the piazzas want you to stop so they can pick your pocket. By the time you realize that they have done so, they’ve taken your money and thrown your wallet away. Don’t stop for them.
  • The date rape talk.
  • The number one sport in Italy is not football – it’s “women-a.” He said that men will stop women, especially not Italian ones. Why? “Italian women are not friendly-a. They don’t like you. They won’t tell you their name. They will not call the police-a if you are dying-a. American women? ‘My God, you are so pretty and you have such beautiful hair. What is your name?’ ‘Oh, ha! My name is-.’ You see? Americans are-a friendly-a.”
  • Strong reactions to men. He said, “You will get tired of their advances. You will get bored and you will *stomps foot and flips up his middle finger*. Or you will go, ‘F*** you, man!’ That is when they get off the bike and smash your face.” He went on to say a girl came in and reported that crime last year.
  • Don’t wear a bag on your street-side. Motorcycle riders will come through and steal a bag by jerking it off the shoulder. If it doesn’t come off, they will drag you. “We had four elderly ladies-a die from injuries last year.”
  • He rattled off a bunch of other stuff. He was very blunt and honest, which was good. He said the whole thing about not buying off of the sheets from the Central African men, and that much of the crime and duping of tourists comes from immigrants from Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, as well as from Eastern Europe. “They will talk to you, they will try to take your money, they will target you.”
  • Oh, and about the men who sell off the sheets. They know they do it. Everyone knows they do it. But they allow them to because it's better than them selling drugs.

Glad to know I’m wanted.

He talked for over an hour and I didn't get even close to all he said, but he was good to look at, with his decoration (he had his parachutist badge on), muscles, and Italian accent. After that whole deal, we went to the American Express (where you buy train tickets) – rather, I tagged along- as they talked about buying tickets to go see Pompei and the Cinqueterra (lit: Five Lands). I tried to help out. It started pouring, so we grabbed Paninis and went to a friend’s apartment on Aguillara. We ate there, discussed a plan, chatted it up about ourselves, our parents, education, DHS, and various other subjects, and decided to go get my laptop and go to Kent State to use the wireless. First, we hit the Duty-Free shop ($1200 for a watch, $2500 for a ring, etc. You know – chump change) and then went back to the apartment because it was just so cold and rainy. We regrouped, not to be beaten, and half of us headed for the 99 cent store while I got my laptop. We met at the store and headed for the Duomo and Kent State University. The university is a bit lackluster itself, but the actual building is quite interesting. There are fragments of frescos everywhere in it, and those are the bits that haven’t been painted over. Anyway, I took pictures of some of these while we were there and went ahead and tried to get online. I couldn’t. It was protected. Thinking, “this is not good,” I was told to call Dr. Bane and Danielle, who were both like, “Uhh… I can’t help you.” So I went upstairs and talked to the lady who had given us the largest part of our orientation this morning. She said that Danielle hadn’t included wireless in the cost. So we didn’t have it.

We regrouped again and decided to head to an internet “café” (they kept calling it that, but we’re not actually served anything; therefore, it isn’t a “café”). This agreed, we headed down Anguillara again (passing a wooden Harley Davidson in a window) and found the Wi-fi café that we couldn’t find the other day. So we went in, ordered the token cup of coffee, and used the wireless. It was fantastic to be on this computer and online, so I made the most of it, checking stuff out that I had been missing out on. We looked up train fares and tried to look up bus fares. Armed with more information (but not quite enough), the others left for the grocery store while I stayed put. I called a while later and they were still in the grocery store. I decided to take pictures of Santa Croce (some of which are of really high quality, I think), and generally loafed around Piazza di Santa Croce. I finally saw some of our crowd, who said they wanted to go shopping. I waited outside for them until I finally called. They said they were trying to figure out the evening and that I should just come up. It was okay, though. I had the best strawberry gelato while I was waiting, so not a moment was wasted.

We decided to go to the Piazza di Signore, where the statue of David used to be, etc. As we started out, it began pouring down rain. Some of my new friends met a girl at the supermarket who was here on her own until her school got here. As we were talking and walking, it began pouring down even more. After we finally got to the Piazza di Signore, we couldn’t find a cheap enough restaurant. Finally, we settled on one that, coincidentally, had a waiter who spoke good English. We had trained ourselves to say, “Che cosa mi consigli?” (What do you recommend for me?), but only one of us wasn’t too much of a chicken to say it. Then he kept speaking to us in English.

After a good meal (I had Ravioli with truffle sauce), we made a big ordeal out of paying (eight people split a check). I wanted to look at the statues, which didn’t photo well in the dark. We left in a hurry, as it was cold and still rainy, and went back to the apartment on Anguillara. We regrouped again, decided on where to meet to go to the farmer’s market, and went our separate ways. Rachel and I walked Angela (the girl who’s here alone) to her apartment, and then headed back to ours. I took (another) cold shower, and here I am.

I’m just glad I made some friends. I was kind of worried for a minute.

Anyhoo, I’m having a great time, all. Email me, comment, do something. Tomorrow classes begin, so this will be the only short entry for at least another day or two.

Oh, and to answer Dylan's question, I'm seeing a lot. So nothing's off limits at the moment. But I also have four weeks to do it all in.

*It's raining.

3 Response to "Day 3"

Eric Says:

I'm so envious of this trip. I told my friend that is an Italian Baroque scholar that you were there to raise her ire as well. What sort of classes are you taking?

Ash Says:

Comment 2 (I'm going backwards...):

Um... Should I be worried about all the tanned and dark-haired Italianos running around everywhere??? BAH. :P

Sarah Says:

"That is when they get off the bike and smash your face.” I laughed sooo hard when I read this. ;) Anywho, it rained a lot when we took our tour of the city too. Our tour guide was so cool though: he reminded me of my dad... if my dad had an Italian accent. I got used to the rain.

Cinquaterra: We were supposed to spend a day there, but by the time we made it to the coast, we were exhausted. Instead, we all went to the beach while my teacher and our tour guide went. They said it was nice, but truly a bit boring. I got to hike way up in the mountains of the coast with some friends though, so I feel like I got the good deal.

I have a great picture of me in the rain at a Piazza. We had to wear our backpacks, and my back was hurting, so I turned mine to the front. Add a big blue poncho, and I was one verrrrry pregnant American. Ciao bella!

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