The Armpit of Tuscany

Trip Start Aug 27, 2005
Trip End Sep 11, 2005

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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Livorno, Italy

Things We Did:

Slept in (unintentionally) and got off of the ship pretty late

Caught a shuttle into the center of Livorno

Camille and I met up with Suthan and spent the afternoon with him. We went to a fresh outdoor market and bought a huge bag of fat grapes for 2€, browsed through a selection of Italian books in a corner shop, and walked around to find somewhere to sit and drink and had some gelato

Suthan talked to us about what goes on amongst the crew on a cruise ship. He also talked about life in Thailand and what it feels like to have to leave his family and work out of country. He asked us where we wanted to be in 5 years, and told us he wanted to be in Thailand running a little shop, making just enough to take care of himself and his family. No more or less, just enough to be satisfied

After eating we used the toilet in McDonalds, it was crack-alley disgusting

The others hired a taxi to explore outside of the armpit of Livorno and to take pictures with the "Leaning Tower of Pisa"

Food We Ate:

Gelato (Tiramisu and Strawberry)- Much like ice cream, except more rich and creamy. A serving was small, but it felt and tasted thick and filling. Also, gelato cones taste better, toasted and crispier.

Mint Slushee- Just what it sounds like. Suthan ordered it, and the girl gave it to him for free.

People We met:

Serenella- Worked for the bus company that shuttled us in and out of Livorno. As we waited for the other guys to show up, we started a conversation with her. She was excited to hear that we were from Hawaii, and said that it's always been a place in her dreams. She spoke English loud and forcefully, and it sounded as if she had a lot to say but not enough time to get it all out. She hugged us both as we got onto the tour bus, thanked us for telling her that her English was good (which it was), and waved at us as we drove away. She wants to develop her English and eventually become a tour guide.

Sandu- A Romanian server. He works in "The Painted Desert Steakhouse" at night and "The Horizon Court" during the day. At first, his accent reminded me of Balky from "Perfect Strangers". What made it worse was that he was dressed up in a cowboy outfit. But by the end of the night he grew on me. He was a hard worker, and the guy hustled with all of his tables. He did a good job serving us. He asked us how to say a few things in Hawaiian, and told us that as a language Romanian is related to Italian and Spanish. I did some research, and Romanian is actually one of the Romance languages (along with those mentioned above as well as French and Portuguese), and of all the Modern Romance languages it is the closest to Classical Latin.

Marco- A bartender from Italy. He works at the Mermaid Bar by the Neptune Pool. He is from Genoa, an hours drive north of Florence. He has been working on cruise ships for years, and loves the schedule. He has a house in Genoa and a house in the Azores and spends two months out of the year visiting both . He explained to us the difference between crew members from developing countries (Philippines, Thailand, Romania, Hungary, India) and those from "modernized" western countries (Portugal, Italy, France, New Zealand). The former are all married and work on the ships to send money home to their families. The latter are mostly single and work on the ships to travel and see the world.

Sucheep- A bartender from Thailand. At first glance he was what Nick called "borot", but by the end of the cruise, he turned out to be all right. There was one evening when Camille and I met out by the pool for some drinks before dinner, and he was the bartender. He showed us a few of his tricks. One having to do with two shot glasses and a box of matches, and the other to do with broken toothpicks and mathematical equations. He taught me that math can be fun, and that some things that seem impossible really aren't.
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