Tuesday, January 01, 2008

How not to spend New Years

Let me explain and this could get long…. It started several days before December 31 so maybe it’s 2007s fault. I checked my flights back to Italy and I found out I was flying back to Bari and not Brindisi. Why, because Alitalia cancelled the Brindisi flight. Keep in mind that when I left for the USA they didn’t mention this. It wasn’t technical problems or a strike, no I found out they changed the time of the flight. So now I have new reason to hate Alitalia. They change flight times without warning. How could they not know when I was leaving for USA that the flight back was changed? Did I mention I’ll dance in the streets when Alitalia is no more?!!
However, Alitalia did arrange for a bus to take us (about 30 people) from Bari to Brindisi. I didn’t know this until I arrived in Rome and as an added surprise the bus turned into a funny story. In Rome they asked who needed the bus and about 30 people put their names on the list, so at least I knew I wasn’t the only one Alitalia was screwing. In Bari I rushed out of the airport because my stuff had to be checked out by dogana and I was afraid the bus would leave without me (even though they had my name). And I was the last one to get on the bus. The funny thing is that there are only 6 other people on the bus. The bus driver gets on cursing and muttering under his breath how they told him “they needed a bus for 30.” I don’t know where the others went but we left with only 7 people. Then the story gets funnier. The first turn out of the airport is a left turn that he can’t make because we’re in this HUGE bus made for 60. He has to go right because that’s the only turn he can make. Down the road a way we come to a police officer directing traffic. He says there’s an accident on the road ahead and we have to turn at this intersection. The driver asks him how to get to the Autostrada and the police officer gives him some directions that I can’t hear. We wander around for a while bus stops again and the driver asks someone on the street for directions. I only here the bus drivers muttering but it’s not good. Finally we do the most incredible U-turn in this busy Y-shaped intersection. I loved watching the honking and hand waving from my plush seat in the sky. Man, you’re high up in those buses. We end up going all the way back to the airport only this time we’re pointing in the right direction for the Autostrada. I wanted to sleep but this driving was so entertaining I couldn’t. Although, once we were on the highway I feel asleep for the first time in 24 hours but only for about 30 minutes.
I come home to two cats that are afraid of me and for good reason. My neighbor left me a plant (I had commented about it when I saw it on her balcony) and the cats proceeded to destroy it making a huge mess of dirt on the kitchen table. She probably left it there knowing I would be home soon but what she didn’t realize is how quickly they can get into things, especially a plant. I think it may live. I hope.
All this was before the celebration last night. I would write about that but I completely missed it. I went out at 11:00 PM to see what was going on. The town was a ghost town. Except for people throwing fireworks off their balconies everywhere (and not looking to see if some idiot foreigner was walking around) you would have been convinced there was no one alive in the town. Everything was closed. I suddenly realized that party was going to be much later than I’m used to. I passed a café and it had a sign “Apertura 00:15”. Yes that means they were going to open at 12:15 AM. I texted Marco and said they were meeting at 1:00 AM. I was already running on fumes at 11:30 PM. I just wanted to stay up until midnight thinking that’s when everyone would be out. I was so completely wrong. Everyone was still at home at midnight. So I spent New Years at home, alone. I tried to stay up a little later and go out but failed. I laughed when I looked out the window and saw people leaving their homes at 1:00 AM to go out. I gave in and feel asleep for next 12 hours. I have to say it was the worst New Years for me. Why do I learn these things the hard way? I should have gone to sleep when I arrived home and then I would have naturally woke up at midnight. Either way I didn’t really experience my first New Years in Italy. I slept through it. I hope you all had more fun!

Of course if you're Keith and Pam then 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be a great New Years when you're taking care of this little monster!!!

Boun Anno, Tutti!!!


Kent and Lori said...

Another story for the book Jeffo.

Glad to hear you are back, safe and sound.

Happy New Year.

Roam2Rome said...

There's the famous little guy that keeps you guys up! Nice to connect a face with the stories... so adorable :)

Well, glad you made it safe and sound... and I wish you the best in 2008! See you around!

Jeff Gromen said...

Kent and Lori,
I'm glad you had 2 good Christmasess.... How many New Years did you have?

My mom likes to point out that I had the same bad sleeping habits when I was his age.
A presto....


Kent and Lori said...


Glad to hear that you got back to the motherland, Italy, ok. Thanks for the blog story....worth a few laughs.

Lori and I were glad to see you over the holiday. Please say Ciao to Marco and Brindisians.



mapmedia said...

lmao dude. 2007 had a parting gift for me, measles, so I sat in front of the fireplace watching Texas Ranger at 00:00 drinking shiite brut. Actually, the brut was given to me by a hunter who shot a window out 2 days before. I wish you success in 2008.