Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Houston, We Have A Problem...

The only thing that hasn't been lost in the last 24 hours is my mind, but I have to say -- we're a hop, skip and a jump away from sheer lunacy.

The airline lost our bags. Not just one... BOTH of them. 

After deplaning, changing our US cash into significantly less euros (a process I am not learning to love, and doubt I ever will), we waited at the specified baggage carousel for about a half hour. Long enough for almost everyone else to leave. When we went to ask, the nonchalant response was, " just give it ten more minutes." after 15 and still nothing, we spent an hour filing a lost luggage claim over a language barrier that would have the Dalai Lama ready to scream.

It gets better. I know that seems impossible to believe, but it does.

The train employees are striking. I buy tickets at the self-serve kiosk, which in itself is an Oscar-worthy feat (I'd like to thank the Internet, my family...) I digress. Some trains appear to be running, but others are making passengers get off and shutting down. We end up having to pay double to take the high speed train, after I get a lecture from the agent who wants to know why I didn't come right to the window. If you want me to use the window, why are there all these convenient ticketing machines? I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but this whole thing is a bit suspicious.

We get to Rome's Termini Station late to hear an announcement that our train is departing. Track 10. We are on track 25. We are running, and poor mom -- I know she can breathe. Her asthma has been bothering her, and she's trying to keep up with me. I ask if she just wants to scrap it and try and change the ticket, but she just asks if it's much further. I feel so bad, trying to encourage her that we are almost there, then sprinting to the train just as the conductor is getting on. I beg him to wait, trying to explain by pointing to my chest that she's coming, though is having a hard time. She rounds the corner and he shoos us unto the train, directing us to compartment nine. 

We are in compartment one. 

It's a long walk back on a moving train. Mom is tired. My feet are blistered. We are both utterly exhausted. I am sitting here, looking out the window at the Roman countryside, trying to make lemons out of lemonade. Here's what I've got: we didn't have to carry our luggage through the train station. If we'd had it, we never would have made the connection to Naples. With any luck, we'll get our bags in a day or two, and I thought to ask for toiletry kits at the airport that included clean t-shirts. Having to shop for a few things in Italy doesn't suck, either. 

The point is, yes -- it's been a rough day. But when it boils right down to it... we are here and we are safe. And HERE just happens to be Italy. I'm looking at Mount Vesuvius and watching my beautiful mother sleep. I have a month off to spend exploring this country, and a few credit cards at my disposal if the bags DON'T come.

What else do I  really need?

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