Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 12: Amuninni! (Let's go!)

And after such strained circumstances last night we are itching to leave I must confess. When we went down for the 6.00p shuttle to Taormina we were told that there was no point going into town as the Sunday spiaggia (beach) crowd would be clogging the roads. Sure enough, we hear that the shuttle ends up taking 1 1/2 – 2 hours when ordinarily it would take 15 minutes. We dodged a bullet there.

But no matter - we had lost interest in leaving on the shuttle because as it turned out our rented car was completely dead (likely the battery was depleted) when R went to check the GPS system for the following day’s trip to the airport. How we were responsible for this I don’t know as we drove up, parked the car and never used it again until today. My suspicion is that one of the drivers who has had to move the car twice or three times may have left the lights on and depleted the battery. 

Here the father/superhero in R kicks in and he is on the phone for almost two hours trying to sort out this mess: how to get the car back to the car rental agency sixty miles away in Catania on a Sunday night? How to get us to the airport for 6.00a to catch a 7.50a flight on Monday morning? Who will pay for this? Europcar, who rented us the car, will only reimburse us 30 euros but the trip by taxi with cost 95 euros! Davide, the concierge, tries to navigate this for us in Italian after R finds out what we need to do. But it is too complicated – his English is not great, my Italian is comparably bad. I suggest we just order the taxi for the next morning and I will ask the travel agent to fight for the full amount when we get back.

Still we have the problem of food on this last night … we were meant to get both that night’s dinner and the next morning’s breakfast. Desperate for food, we relent and agree to have dinner on the fancy terrace with the lousy service again despite my reservations about the food, service and price. The maitre d’ tries to convince us to do the buffet again which was overcooked and mediocre so we pass. Surprisingly, the risotto ordered ala carte is quite good and the salad very fresh. J has the ubiquitous spaghetti and R has melon and prosciutto to start.

Off to bed and finish packing around 9ish …We try and redistribute the weight of the luggage. We had to pay Air Canada $100 for a too heavy bag and Alitalia 40 euros on the way here. This particularly irks R as he says I advised him to pack too much stuff (true).

We try and fall asleep by 10.30p or so as we must rise at 4.30a but I, for one, am too keyed up. As I start to fall asleep the phone rings, a message from Canada, nothing urgent. Then an hour later a text comes through (again nothing urgent) waking me again and then a loud reminder that the text has not been read. J and R blissfully sleep through this. Feeling not well and tense I am aware of every sound. Arrrggh, the gods of sleep are against me tonight. I am being punished for calling my sister at 4a from Firenze when we first arrived when I forgot the time difference.

But we wake on time and meet the usual surly cab driver at 5a in the lobby. He hits the pedal at 140km practically the whole way. Tutto a posto. We reach the airport at exactly the right time and pass through the various checkpoints easily. For once, Alitalia is on time. Sneak one last cannolo from the take away restaurant and soon we board. I have to say though, the Hamilton cannoli are pretty darn close to these Sicilian ones.

At one point I buy a stamp for a postcard that has been languishing in our bag for ten days. Finally I find a post office but have no idea where to post it. The woman says in Italian to post it in the red box outside and keeps pointing but I can’t see it (because it is across the huge hallway about fifty feet away). Finally, a man intercedes and points directly to the box. Then the clerk exclaims exasperatedly, “But I thought she was Italian!” Sorry lady, I just play one on TV…

Smooth flight to Rome except the travel problems always begin in Rome – unbelievable line ups and check points and two flights to Toronto on Air Canada and Alitalia next to each other and leaving five minutes apart in the same space and it is a combination of Dante’s Inferno and the Tower of Babel at the gate - hot and insufferably loud. Finally lift off at about noon (Rome time)…we should be home by 3.15p Toronto time if all goes well.

R spots a little hipster in the airport just ahead of us – he is maybe nine and wearing a fedora, a loud shirt and a plastic guitar which he strums energetically. He is also climbing all over everything. This kind of kid makes him crazy. You watch I said, he is going to be right behind or in front of you on the plane now. Uh huh. Mama knows everything…

Finally home at 7p after fighting rush hour traffic and landing about an hour late…door to door almost twenty hours of travel!

We ask the kid, “So was it boring being with your old parents for twelve days?” She says brightly, “No! I thought it would be but it wasn’t as boring as I thought!” Ahhh, victory at last.


Cheryl said...

There truly is no place like home. Hard to believe that in a few months I will be complaining about the cold!

Enjoyed your travel journal so much.


Michelle said...

Thanks Cheryl ... do you have travel plans this summer?