Thursday, July 3, 2008


The 777 lumbered down the runway as I practiced my Italian, translating the menu. I was happy to be on a plane whose turbine blades were made in beautiful San Marcos by people who have never been hung over in the morning – good San Marcos Catholics. I’m fancying the Truffle asparagus, medallions of veal, and I will take a healthy gander at the wine list. We have 6890 kilometers to go and we’ve just passed Cape Cod. Paula is already asleep. I will require assistance.

At about 8:30am, and I have no idea what time it was at home, they woke us up for breakfast. We were crossing central Europe and were about an hour and a half from Rome. We landed, went through Customs – and rented our car – our working platform for the next fourteen days. I drove into the City listening to the GPS do its thing in English. We finally figured out it was better to do it all in Italian. Customs was a hoot too. I’m not sure anyone ever looked at either one of us – as they were busy in conversations. I just handed over my passport – he opened it, found an empty page, stamped it and handed it back – never once looking up, saying hello, questioning me, or anything.

Our hotel is right on the Piazza de Espana – home of the Spanish Steps. Tonight on the steps, British rugby teams were drinking themselves out of their minds, trying to out do each other in not so PC chants and showing off their private parts. I think it’s just part of the rugby culture.

Tomorrow we drive to Naples, catch a ferry to the island of Ischia – where we are working for about three days.

Before I go, I thought I’d give you a quick lesson on the Euro and the Dollar and the exchange rate. First off, the dollar isn’t worth crap right now nearly anywhere in the world – thanks in large part to “You Know Who” spending more than three trillion dollars that never existed and/or being so sixth grade that he was willing to sell the country down the river for a buck and his buddies - a generalization of course. I know that some of you are reeling from the price of gas, inflationary pressure on everything else, but catch this - one Euro is worth 1.55 dollars. One bottle of Beck’s is eight Euros. That’s more than twelve dollars per beer. A glass of Bourbon whiskey is 15 Euros – and that’s more than $22 per drink. I had a zucchini flower and mushroom omelet dinner, one part of three courses – which by its self was 22 Euros. Ouch.

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