Oscar Mayer had a way with ...

Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
Trip End Aug 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Francesco's flat

Flag of Italy  , Emilia-Romagna,
Monday, August 17, 2009

Happenstance: a chance occurrence
Coincidence: a second chance occurrence

Whatās the next level up from that called?  Coincidence squared?  Compoundence?

So I didnāt leave Milan til afternoon because I was struggling to find some reading material at the bookstore for the train ride. On one hand, I missed my train, on the other hand, I can now claim membership that exclusive subset of the hostel-residing, sweat-soaked, dirty backpackers carrying around The Economist.

Anyway, upon reaching Bologna at 7, the tourist info agent at the train station gave me a map of town but said for booking hostels, I need to go to the agent at center of town - it closes at 8 so I should hustle.  Turns out they close at 7 (Danilo would categorize this as pulling a chungda).  After circling the piazza a bit searching vainly for an internet cafe, I saw some people tapping away on laptops on the corner.  With nothing to lose, I asked one of them if I could run a google map on his computer.

Turns out the guy, whose name is Francisco, is from Westwood, the neighborhood in LA where a lot of my friends from high school lived, just down the road from where we used to go to watch movies a lot.  Heās been teaching English in Italy for the last year and just got back from his holidays, and all his flatmates are away on vacation so welcomed the company.

Next day he pointed me some of the sights in Bologna (there arenāt many), at the top of one of which I met a Russian named Slava.  She had also arrived in town the day before, and completely at loss for how to find an affordable place to stay or even go online, had perchance met the owner of a pizzeria who was Russian, and with whom she crashed.  Resolute that poor planning makes a better basis for travel companionship than say, language, we planned to meet up the next morning to make a day of Firenze.

NB: Bologna doesnāt have sidewalks. The ground floor of each building is a collonade that you can walk under. Great for shade when youāre hoofing it across town. The only downside is that the walkways are slippery as hell, my 4 quid Bangladeshi sandals canāt grip the marble under the weight of my pack.

NB2: Iām actually typing this from Florence. Iāve been chronically behind on my postings since internet is pretty expensive here and itās all I can do to plan ahead the next 24 hours (how Iām going to pull this off for a full year is something best not asked).  Also, tough to post photos since most of these places have proprietary computers that donāt allow bluetooth uploads.  Will try to get sorted at next opportunity.  Wish had laptop and SLR camera with me, but Iām struggling under the weight of my load already.

NB3: I hate mosquitoes.  If thereās anything that might turn me off of traveling for good, theyāre it. I count 12 on my LEFT CALF.  I think someone once told me that garlic repels them, but not sure.  If anyone can confirm or provide any other info on dealing with the little bastards, would be incredibly grateful.
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david_chung on

Hi folks,
I've finally added photos - the post itself hasn't really changed. Also, you can click my name at the bottom of the post to see the titular reference (for those of you who didn't grow up with Oscar Mayer).

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