I said I wouldn’t get emotional but…
Andreas took me out in his Fiat today to shop for clothes and toiletries in the only mall in Lucca. I have been wearing the same pair of underwear, clothes and socks for the last 3 days. Yup, the same clothes I wore on the flight here. I’m not sure why it took so long for someone to take me since I would happily have taken a cab into town myself. This leadership program is very intense and it takes up most of the day from 8 AM to 10 PM. I guess shopping isn’t so much a priority for me even though I would’ve felt more confident in underwear that wasn’t handwashed in a basin with some hotel soap.
The mall was pretty great as everything was extremely affordable. I found some really simple and stylish Italian-made shorts, shirts and underwear. After buying everything I could find in a small, I went over to the shoe store where I pucharsed my first pair of leather sandals. They’re exquisite and totally preppy.
At the underwear store, a lady helped me pick out underwear in my size. I chose a few white (blanco) boxer briefs and a few pairs of super Eurotrash striped bikini briefs, i was hesitant at first but beggars can’t be choosers, I picked out the gaudiest purple pair I could find. When in Rome… er, Lucca.
At the supermarket, i bought a football for Sachin because he had accidentally kicked it over into the ravine. I haven’t been to the pool area yet because I’m afraid of someone pushing me in so maybe I’ll play Marco Polo with them tomorrow. Highly unlikely since I’m deathly afraid of water.
On the way back, Andreas took me to a bar to buy cigarettes in this empty part of Lucca, near Via Tramonte. Not only were there about 20 middle-age Italian men having an energetic debate outside but there was an old-timey bartender inside. I’m actually having a better time understanding Italian that French. With work, I think I can actually master this language.
When I arrived back at the villa, Mariam, the always opinionated kitchen person, brought something in that looked like my suitcase. Everyone applauded and we carried on with our session about estanlishing core values.
Before lunch, I went to check on the bag and it was gone. A little birdie told me that the girls might have taken it. Those bitches. I think it’s time for a little payback. Not sure if it will frowned upon. Does the United Nations like pranks?
It’s going to be difficult to remember everyone’s names. There are about 35 people here from around the world and all the names are so unique. We had some bonding activities today that was borderline hokey but for some reason, it’s not as lame when it’s a group of people from all over the globe. It’s like those party scenes in foreign films where everyone dances no matter what.
I was labelled the “liberal” one from Canada so after our last session of the day, 4 girls came up to me to ask if I could be the one who goes into town with a duffel bag tomorrow. Requests so far have ranged from weed to tequila. The only thing I care about right now is getting a toothbrush and some clean underwear. Other than that, I’m pretty set. The food here is healthy and I don’t really feel the need to drink for the next 12 days. I know, what’s happening to me?
It’s nice to see so many people looking to party though. I spoke with one of the staff and he said that we rarely have time to go out into town much less drink. I’m surprised that we can’t throw back a few beers after 9 PM when our sessions are done. I mean, these are very long days and alcohol is a bonding agent. Oh well, let’s see what we can sneak back if we do go into town at some point.
I just called the baggage services at Pisa Airport and they still haven’t found my luggage yet. Hopefully, it will arrive in the next few days and no one will notice my B.O. in the meantime.
Finally made it to the villa in one piece minus one piece of luggage. The property is insanely beautiful and romantic. There are fountains, a pool, amazing views of the Lucca and the kitchen is my dream kitchen. Innis showed me around and told me to select a room since I was the first to arrive. I chose a room across from the bathroom so that I could easily run over there if necessary. I feel like I’m on a reality show and I’m waiting for the other contestants to arrive. I hope the person who chooses to be my roomie won’t mind that I don’t have pants on.
Seems that the train to my pick-up point has been changed to another platform. Leave it to me to read and believe the schedule. Adam was right: everything doesn’t make sense here. I’m just going to make it a point to ask everyone and anyone everything and anything.
It’s nice and hot here. Not humid though. It’s about 35 but with a slight breeze. If I had shorts, this would be perfect. Too bad all 5 pairs of shorts are in my suitcase which is somewhere in the world. Hopefully, it’s still at JFK and is being transferred. Hopefully some thief isn’t digging through stuff disappointed that the most valuable item is my Hugo Boss underwear.
I caved in and bought some Italian cigarettes and bottled water. I typically buy Italian spring water when forced to purchase bottled water so this is great because all water is Italian. It’s soft, light and tastes like heaven. I wish there was Wi-Fi here so I can actually post these ramblings. From the looks of it, I don’t think Lucca has Wi-Fi.
I have to call my pick-up person when I get to Ponte De Moriano. What are the chances my phone works here in this decrepit town? Okay, I have to cheer up. My train is late. The saga continues.
Maybe I jinxed myself by reading my insurance policy before the plane landed. After 1 hour with the baggage office, it was determined that my luggage is somewhere in the world, probably in the cargo of a plane somewhere. I also find it ironic in an Alanis way that I asked three separate airport representatives whether my luggage would be safe between my connection flights. I’m not so much concerned that every t-shirt I’ve ever loved is in that bag but the fact that I will have no toiletries/underwear in a villa where items are scarce. Losing luggage is a bit of a buzzkill. A train costs nothing here and no one checks your ticket. The passport guy barely looked at my documents. I finally figured out how to get to Lucca so I’m on a very slow train right now heading to Ponte De Mariano. Hopefully, my bag will be found and they can deliver it tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the scenery. I hope there’s a place in the villa that sells 3-packs of BVDs.
I guess it’s actually approaching lunchtime here in Italy. We’re flying over France at 989 km/hour and we’ll be in Pisa in another hour. A toddler has been screaming for about 3 hours now so no one has been getting any sleep. Crying children on a plane isn’t good times. It typically starts out with slight amusement towards the extreme display of emotion followed by an general sympathy for the parents. After about an hour of crying, it becomes the atmospheric equivalent to nails on a chalkboard. That’s when the sympathy wears off: shut her up or I’m going to throw your kid out the emergency exit.
It sounds like the kid finally calmed down after getting an Egg McMuffin (that tastes sour for some reason). The little asshole just happily ran by in bare feet, dragging an ugly doll by the hair. I wonder what the punishment is for tripping a little girl on an airplane?
JFK is such a dump. Who knew that an airport named after one of the most stylish men in America was such a dump. I’m almost embarrassed for New Yorkers and I don’t even live here.
What’s embarrassing is that I’m on my way to Italy but I just ate a slice of pizza from Sbarro. It was the greasiest slice I’ve ever had. I tipped it to its side and a flow of translucent lava dripped on my paper plate. Someone also fucked up the bottom when they were shaping it so looked like my slice was growing a goiter.
It was the cheapest thing here other than a donut. Why is Healthy Gourmet charging $8.99 for tuna on brown bread? The Sri Lankan woman at the cash couldn’t answer me so I moved onto the 2nd floor Burger King. The line-up was so long and I felt like an idiot waiting around for some type of breaded piece of meat that I knew I was going to regret later. I was the only person who wasn’t wearing flip-flops and sweating. Even the children had cankles.
July 24, 6:00 PM
I barely made it. Seriously. With the rain, the traffic, the rubbernecking and the two missed exits, I barely bad it on the plane.
I was told not to run in the airport by a customs officer and I got totally annoyed. I wanted to tell him that they do it in movies all the time. At Customs, a lovely woman in front of me let me go ahead of her and even asked people in front of her to let me ahead when I was too shy to do it. I say “lovely,” but I had secretly hated all her annoyingly loud and overly cute Aryan children at the check-in line a few minutes before. Everyone was oohing and ahhing at how cute they were. Even the disgruntled guy at the first checkpoint smiled at the kids while yelling at everyone else. Children can be so full of themselves.
But despite being told not to run, I ran. I ran right down that moving sidewalk and past the airport restaurant. I’ll have to admit that I did feel a split second pang of jealousy about the businessmen sipping beer around the bar but there was no time for overpriced drinks. I was the second last person to board, just reaching the Gate B13 before the attendant closed the door. Phew. If I were still in the airport lounge, I’d buy that woman a drink. And those fucking kids some candy.