Alright, so this whole reentry into civilian life is going slower than anticipated. I’m just now starting to feel normal again. So how was my glorious trip to Italy? Let’s talk about Naples first. I was there three days, smack dab in the middle of the trip.
Before I go there everyone that I talked to said that I’d get robbed in Naples.
I didn’t get robbed in Naples. Everyone was really nice to me in Naples. Even the cab driver didn’t rip me off in Naples; he told me exactly how to get to the center and made sure I understood and remembered what he told me.
The streets are crowded with people walking and people on Vespas and people in their tiny cars, and they’re all moving at the same time, not stopping for traffic lights or anything, just sort of dodging and weaving around each other. At one point I was stopped at an intersection trying to figure out how exactly I was going to get across and this woman came up behind me and said “What are you doing? You can’t just stand there, you have to go, come on, we’re crossing the street now, come with me.” In Italian. I laughed and followed her lead.
The art is all baroque, and really baroque, not just a little bit baroque, over the top marble in six different colors and gold leaf and red and columns and more columns, and some fat winged babies holding up the ceiling, and more gold leaf and more marble. And the paint’s all peeling since it’s kinda been downhill for the last 150 years, but still, and more gold leaf. And the ceilings are loud and the floors are loud, and you go outside and sit in the piazza and realize that there are actual Italians there, big beefy Italian guys yelling at each other, and small dirty kids playing soccer. And most of the people in the churches are actually praying, they’re not tourists taking pictures of each other like in Rome. Because there’s fewer tourists here, because you know you’re going to get robbed in Naples, and also there’s graffiti on everything, including the churches, and it’s kind of filthy but that’s OK because there’s also the seaside and that’s amazing.
And there’s these strange cult-y shrines in alleys, and really fresh seafood, and really cheap pizza, and good street food, and sfogliatelle, which is more or less sweet cinnamon ricotta wrapped in butter, and really strong really good coffee. And a volcano! That might explode at any minute! Can’t stop for a traffic light, might die at any minute!
And the bus system doesn’t really work, but that’s OK because on the way back to the train station I stood at the bus stop that said that there would be a bus that went to the train station, and waited, and then started talking to one of the senior citizens waiting for the bus, and she told me that the bus I wanted didn’t stop there anymore, they got rid of that bus, despite what the sign said, and her friend told me don’t worry, we’ll figure it out, come with us, and so I got on the other bus with a gang of Neopolitan senior citizens, who then argued amongst each other, and other people on the bus, and the driver, for ten minutes about what was the best way to get to the train station, and then they came to a conclusion, and hurried me off the bus, where I had to then somehow cross four lanes of Neopolitan traffic, which I managed, and I got back to the train station.