The random thoughts entry

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Nov 24, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Thursday, September 17, 2009

1.  I'm glad I spent the last four years in Boulder, learning how to rule the road as a pedestrian.  If I had come from a place where I didn't think that cars would stop if I stepped out in front of them, I'd still be standing on one side of the road at the crosswalk (or zebra-pronounced zeh-bra- crossing, as the brits say!) watching the cars zoom by.
2.  The cars are so dinky here!  And I say that in the nicest way possible.  I just have never seen such small cars.  They're like those toy cars that kids used to have, the red ones with yellow tops.  There are these little green trash trucks that are essentially vespas covered by car-like material.  They crack me up when they pass me because there's usually a huge guy driving it, and he's crammed inside like a clown driving a clown car.  He's probably average-sized, but just looks too big for his little truck.  I actually saw a couple Jeeps, Wrangler and Cherokee, and it was so weird to see them, there are seriously no big cars here!

3.  People think they can park wherever they please, as long as they leave their hazard lights on.  Sometimes they don't even do that.  Seriously, I've seen cars parked in the middle of crosswalks, on curbs, on medians, at the corner of an intersection aka pretty much in the middle of the road, and many other bizarre places.  The thing is, I think they usually get away with it.  Yesterday though, one of the extendo busses tried to get around a corner but there was a car in the way.  He was honking like crazy, the polizia came and had to stop traffic (they were pretty much stopped anyway, I mean comon, there's a freakin bus in the way) and it took a while for him to get backed up and make the turn again.  That's the first time I've seen a ticket being issued. 

4.  I rode my first train ever the other day.  It was so exciting!  Not the most comfortable ride, but fun.  I felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie.  AND, to make things even more magical, the brakes sounded like the soul-sucker things.  Actually they kinda sounded more like those terrifying horses in the Lord of the Rings movie, but either way, I felt like I was in a movie.

5.  I LOVE all the vespas.  There are approximately a million and a half that pass me on my walk to school, and maybe more on the way back home.  There are regular vespas, dirtbikes, regular motorcycles, and a new hybrid, like the motorcycle and vespa got together and had a baby.  If I felt brave enough to drive here I would so want the bastard.  haha I cracked myself up with that statement.  Seriously though, it's hilarious to see them take off after a red light.  Since the vespas are even smaller than the small cars, they can squeeze up to the front of the line, and when the light turns green they all race off, like the start of a Sturgis ride.  The nice thing I've noticed is that they all wear their helmets, unlike their American counterparts who often strap their helmet to the back of their bike, which I always thought was dumb and pointless.  Curiously enough though, the regular bicyclists don't wear helmets, and they're the ones with the least protection.  If I were pedaling on the side of a busy road that is known for its crazy drivers, I would definitely want at least something strapped to my head, even though if I got hit I'd be as good as dead anyway.  But we all know that I would never get on a bike in the first place, so it's kind of a moot point.

6.  Many Italian kids have blonde hair.  Hmm...

7.  Sex is advertised more here than in the States, which I thought was pretty much impossible.  There are about five billboards on my walk to school with a picture of a sexy lady posing sexily in her sexy lingerie.  And to get to the Duomo there are lingerie shops in between every cafe.  I'm pretty sure most of Florence's stores either sell food or lingerie. 

8.  To go along with 7, the women here advertise themselves like no other.  I don't know if they're real or not, but the breasts here are huge, and the women owning them like to show them off too.  I don't think I've ever seen so much skin in my life on my walk to church.  Even young girls are wearing cute little belly shirts, walking next to their mother and brother, and I just feel awkward.  I'm not a lesbian, but even I can't help but look when that is so obviously the reaction these women want!  The poor guys, no wonder people say Italian men are the horniest.

9.  I love the slow lifestyle, eating and actually enjoying your food, and then sitting around and talking and paying whenever you actually feel the need to get up (that is, if you've even gotten your check yet).  But I CANNOT stand walking slow.  I've never been able to, and I think people here walk even slower than in America.  Also, I don't think anyone over here's grasped the concept of walking like you're driving- if I am walking on the right side of the sidewalk, wouldn't it make sense for someone walking in the opposite direction to pass me on my left?  I can't tell you how many times I've done that fake-out little dance move with people because no one knows which way to go.  If I can leave one thing behind during my time here, I'd like it to be to teach people how to walk.

10.  The mosquitos here are viscious.  My classmates will agree.  We honestly think that they can smell fresh blood, and tell each other when one of us is sleeping so that they can all gang up and bite in one particular location, like the elbow.  The second week here, I thought I might actually scratch my skin off.  I looked like I had a crazy disease, angry red bumps covering my arms and legs.  Luckily it's cooled off a lot, but the other day in class there was one mosquito there that played with us, buzzing by our heads and then quickly zooming off, laughing hysterically at the stupid humans, swatting at nothing but air, making the teacher think they are suddenly freaking out.  You know that bit by Brian Regan, where he talks about how funny people look when they walk into a spiderweb and start freaking out but people in the distance can't see the web, only them spazzing out?  That was me.  Imagine it, it's a good laugh.
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