Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bill is Paid

I have a few inquiries on this, so just to let everyone know...I successfully paid our gas bill. It turned out to be quite easy...other than the fact that I got sick in the middle of the night, resulting in a late morning start. Arriving at the post office about 9:30 a.m. is the thing to do. Now I know. Except when I arrived, the little letter/number ticket machine had a big out of order sign on it. I just don't know why I was even surprised at that. Thankfully, there was only one other lady present waiting in "line." I put that in quotes because Italians don't do lines. They don't form them, stand in them, or honor them. It's every man for himself. This includes Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican and large groups of nuns. As an aside, DO NOT get between a nun and her chance to see the Pope in person. Just don't do it. In fact, I'm adding that to my Life Rule Book. So far, there are three other rules:
1. Do not wear Pantyhose (decorative tights do not count).
2. Do not allow a Doctor you know socially to see your hoo-ha (i.e., in a feminine exam).
3. Don't pinch the whores. (This is one coming from Aunt B. - she observed a French phrase on our local Metro during her visit here. After lots of studying and attempts at translation, this is the best one we came up with. We decided this is a good general rule, whether that's the Metro's intended directive or not.)

But back to the gas bill...being the Good American that I am, I stood in line behind the one other lady there waiting. A man came in right after me, and being a Good Italian, he attempted to get in front of me. There was an exchange of glances in order to indicate that I saw he was attempting to jump in front and he saw that I saw him trying to do may or may not get the picture. Upshot = I got my turn and paid the bill. Easy peasy. Nine a.m. must be the magic hour.

Today saw a return to Pizzeria Brandi (where the Margherita Pizza was invented - for reals, as our friend K. would say). Nathan, K., and I took the Metro towards Centro (downtown Napoli) and took a chance by getting off at a stop none of us knew. We wandered through a nice, little area before happening upon something we were familiar with. From there, we took a walk through Chiaia, browsed the windows of shops such as Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Frette, Rucinella, and so on, then had lunch at the beautiful, Pizzeria Brandi. Afterwards, K. treated us to coffee at Caffe Gambrinus, the prettiest coffee bar I've visited yet. It's quite famous and has a reputation for being snooty and overpriced. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's gorgeous, the coffee costs the same as any other bar in Centro, and the decorations are divine. Joining true Napoletano culture, we drank our coffee standing at the bar, but we took a peek into the rooms with tables, and they are sublime, reminding me of the grand coffeehouses of Vienna. And prices for sitting at one of these gorgeous tables are no higher than any other tableside coffee in a nicer bar here (and still cheaper than the Big S. back the U.S.A.!). Nathan thought his coffee was a little bitter, and I have to say, it's a bit of an assembly line with the coffees already waiting rather than being made after you order, but for me, the lovely atmosphere made it a lovely, post-lunch stop.

I am headed off for almost two weeks in Venice, Florence, and Siena with Friend K. I will try to post a few updates as we travel around, but I'll be using my phone only (with an itty, bitty, touchscreen keyboard), so a longer description of our Big Adventures will have to wait. Ciao!

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