When In Rome

by - April 07, 2014

So I met an older man on the plane from Munich to Rome.  We'll call him Joe.  Joe works for NATO.  Joe was really nice and has been to Rome many times.  He was going to meet with George and Dan, also NATO employees when he got into Rome.  Ok.  I moved seats after a short visit so I could see the view out the windows.  Worth it.  Beautiful Alps led into little Italian villages led into Rome.

We landed.  All is well.  Our baggage took a very long time to come to the carousel.  Joe came over and asked how I was getting to my hotel.  I honestly wasn't sure how I was getting to my hotel.  Either a $60 taxi or a $20 train ride that I wasn't really sure how close it would drop me to my hotel.  I found myself answering his questions.  He was going to meet George, who had been in Rome several days with his wife, and ride the train from the station.  He said if I would like they could accompany me through the train and help me find a taxi.  As we walked toward George and the train, I started to run through scenarios in my mind. I went ahead and told him that my Dad was meaner than Liam Neison.  He said he was actually thinking of that movie too and wondered how he could assure me he was safe.  I laughed uncomfortably kind of.  I told him I had taken his picture and e-mailed it to all of my friends and family.  He told me he would hope his wife and daughter would do the same.  I went ahead and mentioned my Krav Maga background.  Not the extent of it.  But, I threw it out there anyway.  We got to George and he introduced me.  They both appeared very NATOish.  Joe is from Great Britain, and George is from Canada.  Joe told George he was helping me because he felt it was his responsibility to look after the Colonials.  Let it go Joe, we won. We road the train into Rome along with many other people.  They both shared with me some tips for Rome travel, and to not take rude waiters personally.  They said they are rude to everyone. Later on this evening I found that not to be true of all waiters.  They reminded me of the Pastor and Deacon from McKinney I met in India.  Help always seems to be there when I need it. 

They walked me through the big train terminal, George helped me get a cab and we said goodbye.  The cab brought me right to my hotel.   A quaint little hotel.  The building was formerly owned by Mussolini who abandoned it when he died, and the current owner took ownership.  Ok, I'm staying at Mussolini's place.  Then I got the news they upgraded me to the honeymoon suite.  Not kidding.  I'm in Rome, alone, and just got upgraded to the honeymoon suite. I kind of feel like Rome just punked me.  But, I'll take it.  I have my own little veranda, and I can see St. Peter's Dome.  I'm already looking forward to coffee in the morning.

Then I walked down after settling in, and went across the street to a little basement trattoria.  I had a nice small plate of pasta and a garden salad.  I couldn't figure out quickly the US dollar to Euro ratio.  I got out some coins, got out some bills.  Then handed him the bill jacket with the receipt and a 20 Euro and asked him for change.  I was going to give the coin as the tip.  A few minutes later they brought the bill back with no change.  I thought "well, they decided to tip themselves."  Ok.  So I climbed the stairs back up to the street and left.  Then I heard "miss, miss!"  See what had happened was... I stiffed them on the bill. I put the 20 Euro back in my purse instead of  with the ticket.   I counted my money and they weren't lying. They were very nice and told me to come back tomorrow and eat there again and not to be embarrassed.  Ok.  I bet I come back tomorrow.

I went and bought some bottled water, headed back up the stairs to the honeymoon suite, gracefully franked, and I'm going to go on to bed now.  Tomorrow, I'm going to go on a walking tour, and try to not act like a dork. Tomorrow, I'm going to be totally cool.  When in Rome. 

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