Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lost In Rome... Always Have A Game Plan Or An ATM Card... Don't Take Traveler's Checks

Read this post carefully, as there will be a test at the end...

It's always a good idea to have a game plan for when you get separated from your travel partner, which was something neither of us thought could or would happen. Unfortunately, it did happen and we both, individually, did not handle said separation well. Several hours later we were at last reunited, but not without calls to husbands first (although not by me). The last thing that Mr. Snoots wanted to hear from me was this exact situation. Frankly, he was forced to get over that the moment I hung the phone up on him. Yes, I did.

Apparently, *Charlotta* called Mr. Snoots for the address of our apartment because she couldn't remember it after the dozens of emails I'd sent her with the address (I wasn't aware that she'd been having internet problems before leaving on our trip). When she got back to the apartment, the phone rang and the first words to me out of Mr. Snooty's mouth were "WTF?", which received a *Click* of the phone from my end. Perhaps it wasn't the most diplomatic way to handle the predicament, but it was MY way of handling it and I was good with it. It made me angry that I was immediately the one to blame, which clearly was not the case. The blame was totally *even steven*.

At any rate, we were eventually reunited and all was right with the world again. For a few hours anyway. The following morning we went to the neighborhood Banca di Roma to exchange our American dollars for Euros but Italians don't want our worthless American dollars, nor do they want our American Express Traveler's Checks. I was so frustrated at this point, I began to bawl like a 5 year old child, with snot spewing out my nasal passages and all. The bank manager immediately agreed to exchange my $800.00 American dollars into 563.00 Euros, for which we were both very thankful. Yes, I was completely thrilled with being screwed, again. Why would I have listened to Mr. Snooty about Euros and traveler's checks when the last time he went to Italy was 1970? Hello.

Let me also just say that in order to enter any bank in Rome, you must go through an airport like security booth (with sliding glass doors on both sides), leaving everything but your clothing in a locker you pay for with the security guard on the outside. We were more than certain our attractive security guard wanted us to dis-robe completely, but he had to dream on. Can we spell *pain in the azz*? But, it certainly must quell those pesky would-be bank robbers, not to mention the crazy Americano la donnes that want to exchange currencies. Uh-Huh.

Walking back to our flat, we both agreed it was a good thing that I've had acting classes and learned to *internalize*, therefore making it easy for me to cry on queue. (Okay, sometimes, but not quite on queue.) Frankly, had our husbands not been so unwilling to let us loose in Italy with their ATM cards, this entire scenario would have never happened.


By the way, we had both also taken several thousand dollars each, in AMEX traveler's checks, which are basically no longer accepted anywhere outside the U.S., which is something we weren't aware of. Not even our banks were aware of this, (or just didn't tell us). Since we aren't a large city, we were told getting Euros would take 1-2 weeks. Evidently, there has been a lot of counterfeiting and such involving traveler's checks, so DON'T TAKE TRAVELER'S CHECKS outside the country, or anywhere else for that matter. It's a total waste of time, fees and energy.

The remainder of the day, we pretty much hung out in our *hood* and walked around for hours, eventually getting ourselves lost. However, we were treated to a local orchestra of men in black-feathered green helmets putting on a concert at a nearby park, which we were definitely intrigued by. Once it began to get dark, we both kind of freaked out and realized we weren't sure of where we were. (Oh, there's a surprise.) By the time we found someone to tell us which way to go (ummm... 3 blocks sinistra (left) and one block destra (right) then va dritto, it was too late to make dinner plans so we stopped at the Supermercato and bought dried pasta and sauce and a loaf of crusty Italian bread, some Brie cheese (along with a rather large bottle of Limoncello, as we already had a lovely bottle of wine), which I made for dinner that night. That was never part of my vacation plan, but we needed sustenance.

The next day, we were so exhausted that we slept until Noon, making it impossible to see any sights before they closed. Luckily, our neighbor Gino invited us for a second supper with him. This time he commanded that we arrive at "sei mezza" (7:30 PM) and had a friend visiting from Naples who spoke excellent English and we had a fabulous time. Then, Gino took us out to see all the Roman sites lit up at night, which was fascinating. Afterward, he took us to his favorite place for Gelato. Even though I'm not a big fan of ice cream (it hurts my teeth), I had the Pistachio Gelato and fell in love with it. Creamy and delicious, I slurped away at mine as if it were the best thing I'd ever tasted in my life. It. Was.

This was the famous *Mouth Of Truth*. As the story goes, prisoners were led to the Mouth Of Truth and asked if they were guilty of the crime for which they were accused. Whether they were guilty or not, the soldiers would occasionally stand behind the *Mouth Of Truth* and choose a prisoner to chop their hand off, in order to keep the other prisoners believers in the process. If your hand was chopped off, you were obviously guilty. The picture on the right was an artist's rendition (I don't remember which artist) of the story, which is older than anything in America, I trust. Although archaic, I can  only imagine that  the method worked quite efficiently. Just a thought.

In other news, I'm starting my first two tooth implants this week, with the last week having been a living Hell. Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to know the details about this. Tooth Pain Is The Devil's Torture Of Us.

To Be Continued.....


Mental P Mama said...

LOL...did you wait in that long line at the Mouth of Truth? BTW...those bank entrances were so weird, but I have decided that only an ATM card is necessary for travel. I got great exchange rates, and my bank refunds the fees for using another bank. Even Roman banks! Oh, I totally would have hung up, too. GAH

Diane said...

Yes, I would have totally hung up! Men!
Sorry about the teeth implants. Been there, done that with my little K3. Lots of chocolate milk and cream of wheat for you!

Suburban Princess said...

Oh Snoots!!!! If I had known you were taking travellers cheques I would've stopped you!!

The Incredible Woody said...

Love love love that you hung up on Mr. Snoots!

My advice for travel: ATM card and GPS:) But getting lost in Italy just sounds like fun to me!

Bodaciousboomer said...

Mr. Snoots got what he deserved at that moment for sure- and as far as tooth pain goes, did you ever see the movie, The Marathon Man? It had a short but very intense torture scene involving a tooth.

Blarney said...

I'll have to ask my Dad if he had any problems with his t. checks ~ he returned from Poland tonight.
I'm planning on surfing the G.America site to see if they have the Rick Springfield interview up ~ just can't not watch it!

Sjn said...

Thanks for stopping by my friend! Yes, wouldn't it be fun to play golf together! My mojo ran out after those two rounds, today I was back over 100. Oh well, I'll keep hopin' and playin' and workin' on my game!

Hope your mouth feels better and the pain is put to rest!

Heather Jones said...

First of all, you look MAR-VEL-OUS!

Second, if I ever leave the country again I promise not to bring travelers checks.

Third, love Limonecello and gelato--it's SO not ice cream.

Fourth, I have totally hung-up on Hubbie for the exact same reason.

Lastly, I'm really sorry you have to deal with implants. Hubbie has gone through EXTENSIVE implant work (long story), but it's not fun. I'm an anti-dentite and proud of it. Honestly, I'd rather give birth again.

Hang in there!


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