Trip Start May 22, 2007
15Trip End Jun 04, 2007
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We decided to stay out of Rome today and catch up on some housekeeping. I spent a frustrating hour in the internet shop unable to post anything useful because I could not successfully load from my portable hard drive. I also messed up and changed my NHMCCD email password when prompted the other night in a jetlagged stupor and I have no idea what it is now. David, if you read this, can I have a re-set? The Vesuvian Institute's propaganda flyers show high-speed internet access and a laundry facility. Those are two things that we definitely need now.
Other than battling the computers, I spent the morning lounging and reading the museum guide that I purchased yesterday at the Campidoglio. By lunchtime, we were ready to head out
Frascati catches a lot of weekend traffic from Rome. The piazza and all of the public areas have been awash with people since Friday evening. The crowds have been very busy and noisy, but lots of fun. We witnessed a wedding party posing for pictures on the promenade and they broke into several spontaneous dances. It makes for a bustling and noisy place that does not quiet down until the wee hours. Last night, they were carrying on until at least 2 am. We have grown accustomed to it and have been able to sleep despite the noise.
Tomorrow is a transition day as we move south to visit Castellammare di Stabiae. I am really looking forward to the trip since we were able to get tickets for the new high-speed train service
After dinner tonight, I was able to negotiate my pre-paid phone card and call home. I never got through to my house, so I called Mom instead. It was fun to talk to a familiar voice from home. She said that Houston had a big rain event today. I can't say that I missed it. We have been sunny and warm. I'm tanning on the face and arms from all the walking about in the sun. This morning, we had a small weather front come through and it cooled things a bit. I may have to pull the sheet up tonight.
Things are much quieter in Frascati tonight. The crowd began to thin out by dinnertime. We have had a marvelous time learning the habits of the locals. There are all sorts of interesting and different things to learn. Some nights, it is impolite to try and have dinner before 7 pm. Other nights, it is 8 pm. Cafes charge different prices for service at the bar versus at a table. They also offer different products. Last night, we stopped at our favorite coffee shop and tried their gelato for the first time. Since we wanted to sit for a while, we had to order fancy gelato in a glass dish served with a garnish. Had we been moving on, we could have had the same gelato on a cone for 2 euro instead of 5.
We have found communications to be workable. When I have traveled to other parts of Europe, especially Germany, Switzerland or Scandinavia, I have found that most people in a service position spoke English
We have seen a great example of the new Europe here in our hotel. The front desk clerk and general "Jill of All Trades" is a young woman named Carmen. Carmen speaks English and has been very helpful with everything from recovering from our lost reservation, to helping us find places to visit and to use the telephone. Carmen has helped us transition to Italy. Except that Carmen is not Italian. She is, in fact, in transition herself. Nine months ago, she left Romania and moved to Italy. In that nine months, she has learned Italian and English. She is an example of how Europe's boundaries are fading. People, especially young people, have more opportunity than ever to move, study, learn a trade and change their lives. Carmen dreams of moving to America, taking a degree in hotel/restaurant management and working in a big hotel. Perhaps she may appear at the University of Houston one day.