As we were getting back on the bus to Massa Lubrense last night, at least two groups of people asked us how to get somewhere.
This makes me laugh. A lot.
I've spent the last week utterly frustrated by my apparent inability to get ANYWHERE, despite a concentrated and somewhat educated effort. And now, people are looking o me for guidance. Mama Mia.
It gets funnier. There's a Scot on our bus this evening who we joke with a bit about the trials and tribulations of getting from here to there. A few minutes after we board, I'm giving a young girl -- I think German or Polish -- advice on getting a bus card in the morning. The driver was nice enough to let her and her friends board tonight without paying (more on this in a moment.) I told her to make sure to get the three day Compania pass that will take them all over the region for 20 euro.
The Scot comes back up to our seat afterward to say we've been here too long... he says, "You sound like a bloody tour guide!" Me... an Italian tour guide! Now THAT is funny.
On the bus fare thing... I have a theory I've been working on after watching people board the bus. The locals never pay. It seems like the only people who DO pay are tourists. I'm not complaining, but I do think Italy might make a dent in their financial problems by actually collecting bus fares from all passengers. Saturday night, there were about 30 teenagers from Sorrento to Massa Lubrense. At 2,40 euros per person... That's around 72 euros.
I'm just saying... it's a start.
We've decided to try to hit Herculoneum on the way to Naples to pick up our bags. The only issue is, we have a crapload of stuff and no new bags in which to carry said crap. I am quite sure watching us get down the hill looking like two pack mules will be pretty damn funny.
I made a Caprese salad with the mozzarella we bought at the factory and the rest of Lucia's tomatoes and fresh basil. Yes, for breakfast! I tried some of the mozzarella, which I can barely describe. Simply cutting it was different. Commercial mozzarella in America would cut in uniform slices. With this, the outside layer is more firm, almost like a shell, and the inside -- sort of crumbly in a way. This only breaks apart in softly held together chunks, bleeding a milky white liquid when cut. The taste is unimaginable... like cheese rather than a squeaky waxy imitation. It's sort of sweet and savory at the same time, but also delicate. This is the beat thing I've eaten in Italy. I tuck it in the refrigerator to wait for mom to wake up and take some tea to the roof overlooking Massa Lubrense, Capri, Vesuvius and the sea.
I'm listening to opera -- something from Turandot -- as I watch smoke from one of this morning's fires roll lazily down the hill. One of the first ferries cuts through the water, making it's way to Capri. The sea is calm, the clouds low in the sky, hugging the water and the island. Drivers beep their horns to let other Italianos coming around the many blind corners know that they are there. A rooster crows in the distance as a cacophony of dogs sing to the new day. The tag from my tea flutters in the breeze, clinking against the side of my mug.
I'm feeling relaxed today.
I've been thinking a lot about the stress of the last few days. My mom said something really poignant yesterday about being in a foreign country and needing to play by their rules instead of trying to get them to play by mine. That's tough for someone who is pretty used to making things happen. "Making things happen" leads to a lot of conflict, though, conflict I claim to loathe. And don't get me started on my preoccupation with getting a good deal, milking the most value from everything. It's how I make my money go further, which is greconflict it can also create conflict. For example, yesterday there was a tour boat to the Blue Grotto heading out, but I was convinced we could get a better deal. We waste a good 45 minutes looking for that better deal. Unsuccessfully. We ended up back where we started anyway.
Sometimes you just have to let it go.
The path of least resistance will still get you to your destination.