Thursday, November 10, 2005

Florence (The Europe Saga, Part IV)

Weekend 2: Florence

I Just got back from Florence, and let's just say my the trip kinda sucked (for me at least). The first day was just fine, we went to the Academia where Michelangelo's David is located. D and I had seen it before, but Tiny had not. I couldn't resist pointing out the Michelangelo purposefully made David's head and hands overly large, the net result being that David's pinky is larger than his penis. While there is no good explanation for this artistic choice, it is rather amusing. And before you think that I have some strange genetalia fixation, let me point out that the Italians are genetalia obsessed and that if the subject creeps into conversation, it is merely the natural result of continued exposure. As evidence, let me point to a strange fashion found in the crap kiosks all over Rome and Florence: bike shorts decorated solely with David's genetalia. David's genetalia being strategically placed on the shorts to line up with the wearer's genetalia. Sexy, yes? No! I defy anyone to find me a situation for which these shorts are appropriate.

Gentleman, I assure you that your girlfriend or boyfriend never, ever wants to see you in these shorts. They are as un-sexy a getup as I can imagine, and if anyone I know were to ever wear them, that would be, what I like to call, a "deal breaker". (NB: after hearing about these, my sister insisted that I buy her a pair. I was embarassed, but I obliged and the little shopman chuckled at my purchase.)

As further evidence of the pervasiveness of genetalia, I point to other works now on display at the Academia. With some foolish notion of artistic progress, the Academia is now exhibiting modern art in addition to the David and their other traditional works. My advice for them is to stop this practice immediately. Currently hanging directly across from the David is a large banner which depicts the back wall of the Sistine Chapel that shows the risen Christ with an upheld arm (here's a link if you can't picture what I'm talking about check this out).

There is one minor alteration however. Instead of Jesus, there is is an old man raising his arm. Who is naked. With an erect penis. You may not think this is traumatic, but I assure you it is. I couldn't find any info. on the piece, but I can only imagine that the naked man is the artist himself (who else could be the model?) and that he is very proud of his, ahem, piece. Er... work. Although he really shouldn't be.

Bad taste in art didn't disrupt the trip, what did jack it up is the fact that on my second day in Florence my bank had an internation meltdown and I could no longer get money out of the ATM. And then my credit card got declined -- i.e. it was all f*ed up too -- so there I was in Florence with no money. None. And when even water costs money this is DISASTROUS! I had to depend on D and Tiny, and they were very cool about the whole situation, but it sucked nonetheless. Tons of time was spent trying to get this situation straightened out, and as of yet I still don't have any money. My bank sucks so much that I am having to get my own money wired to me via western union.

Aside from being flat broke, I am also apparently give off the "whore of babylon" pheremones or equivalent thereof to Italian men. We went shopping in this giant market the other day and split up and this guy swooped in on me while I was shopping and grabbed my hand and told me I was beautiful blah blah blah. Here is the gist of our conversation:

Him: Are you here alone?

Me: No, with friends...

Him: Men friends or women friends?

Me: Women friends...

Him: Where are you staying?

Me: With friends (trying to wrench hand free now)

Him: You come back here with me, we go out tonight. (he touches my cheek) You think about this.

And then I ran away and felt bad in my squishy places.Of course I would have thought more about "it" if: a) he wasn't creepy b) he was good looking c) he was a purveyor of fine leather goods, instead of a purveyor of knock-off D&G belts. We all gotta have standards.

Market man's ickiness was surpased only by a an older, nastier man who I had the pleasure or riding with on a very crowded bus to the train station on the following day. We were smashed in and then I feel this someone pressed up behind me a little too close, but it's really crowded and I am thinking that I am paranoid because this is a very crowded bus. The bus gets less crowded and he is STILL on me like white on rice and begins rubbing his groinal area on my butt so I turn and give him my hip bone and am honestly ready to burst into tears because I am not sure if what I think is happening is happening (but it is) and I am so frazzled with my money situation and hotel problems that I am starting to get really upset.

But then more people get off and he walks away. I figure he must have got off, so I resume a more relaxed position waiting for our stop, and damn if he didn't somehow sneak back around behind me and is rubbing up against me again! And it takes me a second to realize it's the same fucking guy, but it is, and I am about to flip out...and then he gets off. And really, after that, I just wanted to sit in the train station, make a fort out of my baggage, and keep everyone away from me.Obviosly I am an easy target, but holy hell. I am about to get medieval on people. D thinks I give off a "nice" vibe which results in icky man situations, but she thinks I will channel all this rage into some new power.

I hope so, because there is still the train trip back to Siena. Half way there, we pick up this family with a special child. And by special I mean Corky, and by child I mean 30. His name is Giorgio. Giorgio likes to run up and down the train and yell things. Giorgio also likes to lift up his shirt so he can pull up his pants, as their current resting place at nipple height is apparently not high enough for Giorgio! Once his pants are sufficiently hiked up, the running and yelling begins again. Yay yelling! Yay Giorgio!

Then Giorgio will look at his train ticket and shout something at his mom (who has some hellified underarm hair). His mom in turn yells "Basta! Giorgio!" "Stop Giorgio!" I am kind of in-and-out awake wise while this is happening, and doing my best to block it all out as I have no nerves left. However, at one point I wake up and Giorgio's face is literally 2 inches from mine. I almost, in Candy Girl's words, "professionally flip my shit". Giorgio is about to bear the brunt of no money and two bad man encounters. But I check myself, hold it all inside like a champ, and cry on the inside. But you better damn well believe I don't go back to sleep.

So let's recap the weekend, shall we?

1) no money

2) molested

3) molested

4) Giorgio

5) still no money

Awesome. So we get back to Siena, and the girls and I go to dinner. I have retrieved my Amex from my dorm room where I left it and try to find a restaurant where I can pay with said credit card. After a few places are not fruitful, I remember a nice reastaurant and we walk there and for some strange reason I decided to be experimental in my dinner selection. I get something that sounds interesting -- cold basmati rice on carrots and cuccumber with sliced quail in a mustard sauce. It sounded delicious on the menu, but what I received was a nightmare. Sliced carrots and cuccumbers (so far so good), layered with cold rice (still ok) but then covered with avocado puree and diced radishes and then stuck in this circle of green goo is this tiny weird looking quail leg (not sliced!) and then the whole thing is covered with some clear gelatinous layer. It was, in a word, disgusting.

D made it all the better for feeling bad for the dismembered quail with its lone leg stuck crazily in the goo on my plate. damn bitch, you are not helping! But she bought me gelatto so it's all good.

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