Pop quiz. Read the following comment and then choose the correct answer.
"Go! Go! Go! They will never stop for you! You just must take a chance and go!"
A. Advice on how best to live life to the fullest.
B. Boarderline suicidial advice on how to cross a street in Italy.
C. All of the above.
If you answered C, then you win the prize. That advice was given to us the other day when we were on tour and trying to cross a street. Our tour guide practically started shoving people into the middle of the street, hoping that cars would stop for those pediestrians and that the rest of us would be brave enough to follow.
We really are liking Italy, but there are always small complaints. We try very hard not to be ugly tourists, complaining that Italy is not like where we are from. I heard a couple the other day get upset because she was asking for orange soda and the waiter kept saying "Fanta?", which is orange soda, but she kept getting madder with him, thinking Fanta must be some strnage Italian word she never heard of before.
Anyway, if I have three complaints, it is these.
1. Charging to sit at a table and eat a meal. Rather annoying. I suspect the hospitality industry in North America would fold quickly if you had to pay for the pleasure of sitting down.
2. Many public toilets are pay ones. Anywhere from .50 to 1 euro. Actually saw the most redundent position in all of Italy today. Two security guards standing to protect the machine that takes the money to allow you into a washroom. I wonder if the washroom makes enough money to pay for the guards and the people who clean it? Pay toilets mostly went away in the 70s in Canada. Would not be a bad idea if the same happened here.
3. Charging more than 1 euro for 500ml of water. When caught short and desperate near the Vatican, we actually paid 2.50 euro (about $3.30 Can) for a bottle. I can only hope the pop waved his hand over it at some point. Seriously, charging that much for water should be an act of terrorism or something. If they want to gouge away on soft drinks, no problem. But water?
Funny story...on tour in Tuscany and waiting for the bus, I popped into a supermarket and bought 1.5L of water for .31 euros. I was laughing as I hit the bus stop at how cheap the water was and how badly gouged we had been other times. One lady, after hearing the price yelled "do not let the bus leave!" and bolted for the supermarket, buying three bottles and throwing a euro at the cashier as she ran through the place.
Anyway, off to Venice tomorrow. Cathy has low expectations, figuring it will be like Pisa. I have slightly higher hopes, but we shall see.