I swear that I have this aura around me that attracts misadventures. Seriously. It's like the gods have decided that I don't have enough excitement in my life and want to make me a little crazier than I already am. Allow me to explain....
Last Tuesday, the group went on an Angels and Demons tour while I went back to the apartment to do some work. The tour was supposedly over at 12:45-1:00 or so, so I told them I would be at their end point by 12:45 to meet them. I left the apartment at noon so that I would have time to be in place by the time they arrived. The metro ride was only a 10-minute ride, but that morning we had found the trains so crowded that we had to wait for four or five of them to pass before we found enough room to get on.
As I said, I left at noon and waited for the metro to arrive. The cars were not crowded, and I was able to get on easily. Along with a three-quarter-full train, I waited...and waited....and waited...
Gobbledy gook. Gobbledy gook. Gobbledy gook, squawked from the PA system. I could barely hear what the announcement was, but I knew it wasn't good because A) We weren't moving. B) People were grumbling. C) The woman next to me said a bad word.
"What did she say?" in Italian I asked. The lady looked at me a little off and said, "We're delayed." No lie. We were sitting/standing on a train without moving.
|Santa Maris in Piazza del Popolo in Rome|
Gobbledy gook. Gobbledy gook. Gobbledy gook. squawked the voice again, and again people grumbled and the lady said a bad word before telling me that someone had gotten sick and that we were delayed until they figured her out. The gobbledy gook, grumble, bad word went on for about 15 minutes until the announcer told us to get off of the metro because they had to bring EMTs in and were going to stop the line for quite a bit. It was almost 12:30.
I got off of the train, ran out of the metro, and headed for the red hop-on, hop-off bus since we had tickets. Being as it was about 93 degrees, I couldn't run too fast, so I power-walked and made it to the bus by 12:50. Of course, right as I hit the stop light across the street from the bus, it took off in a cloud of smog-inducing smoke.
For about 10 minutes, I stood in the hot sun and fought off the 3,000,000 guys on that corner selling hats, sun umbrellas, water, and various and sundry other souvenirs that I neither wanted nor needed. I yelled, "Nein! Nein!" because German does sound a little harsher than English or Italian, but it did no good. I finally had it when one guy tried to put a straw hat on my head, and I stink-eyed him and said, "If you put that thing near me again, you'll be wearing it over your ears." I have no idea if he understood me, but he finally left me alone.
The bus finally arrived, and I got on and sat downstairs. The driver told me that it was his break (of course), and that we would take off in about 10 minutes. I let the group know what was going on, and waited until the driver finished his lunch and had a smoke. Others filtered on, and many that had sat upstairs in the sun drifted downstairs to the hot—but covered—bus interior.
The driver ambled back on the bus and started the engine. Very quickly the bus jumped backwards and, you guessed it, hit the bus behind us. The driver and ticket-taker girl got off the bus and went back to check with their friends to make sure they were okay and that the buses were driveable. That problem solved, we were finally on our way. It was probably 1:25 or so at this time.
I was stressing because I had two potential problems. One was that I was to meet the group to get them home, and the other was that I had to meet the apartment owner to do some paperwork at 3:00. I knew that if I didn't make it to the Vatican by 2:00, I was not going to make it at all. Rome traffic being what it is (CROWDED, BUSY, NOISY), we were moving about two inches per minute. As we finally arrived at the Colosseum, I asked, "How much longer until we get to the Vatican?" Her "40-to-50 minute" answer punched me in the head.
I got off of the bus, called the gang, and announced, "I have had the most horrible morning. I'm at the Colosseum and will not make it to you in time for me to get home in time. I'm going to walk back to the apartment. Can you find your way back?" Their tour was still not over, and they were happy to oblige and head home without me. Go ahead and eat before you get back," I added. "I'm so discombobulated that I'm not hungry at all."
It took close to an hour, but I made it to the apartment in time to meet the owner and get the keys for the next place. After he left, I collapsed on the bed and slept off the stress.