Cab drivers, paintings, ants and Catholics
Cab drivers: On Friday Italy played Ukraine in the quarter-final of the world cup. I went and met up with some friends from school at the end. Italy trashed Ukraine 3-0 and it was madness. I was at one of the big screens and there was a parking lot behind it where people spent about 30 minutes honking horns. Most of that was celebration but after a while I started to suspect that they were also frustrated at not being able to leave. We spent a while hanging out in the city center and then I went to catch a cab as it was very late and the busses had stopped running.
When I got to the cab stand there was a bit of a line. I also saw about 15 empty taxis. Apparently every cab driver in the city was on break right next to this cab stand, getting a coffee. It took probably 20 minutes for one cab driver to come out and take a fare. I stood there for probably 40 or 45 minutes waiting. The great part was that towards the end of my wait a cab drove up, to take a break of course, and the only place to park was in the line. It looked as if he was trying to get in line too. The whole thing was so ridiculous. Only in Italy.
Paintings: Yesterday when I woke up i sent a message to my friend Ani, who had said she wanted to do the museum thing with me over the weekend. A little later I got one back saying she wanted to go and which was i going to see? We decided to go to the Pitti Palace, which has an amazing art collection and a medici costume collection as well, so I headed over to meet her there. When I got there I started looking for her and this other guy Mark came up. Mark and I had also discussed doing the museum thing over the weekend, but he had my number and I didn't have his. It turned out that Ani had never replied to my text message, Mark had sent me a message that looked like it was Ani's reply. Needless to say I was more than a little confused, but once we got it all sorted out we headed in. Mark is an artist and it was really neat to do the painting museum with him because he knew every painter and could point out different techniques. The costume gallery had so few costumes in it I have no idea how it justified the name, but those that they did have were absolutely gorgeous. Our tickets also got us into the huge Boboli gardens, but I had forgotten my sunscreen and our passes get us in free anyway, so we decided to save those for another day. All in all a fun time, but I am a little curious about what happened to Ani.
Ants: On Thursday morning when I woke up I noticed some ants in my room. I told Rosella and she said she would buy some poison for them. The ants were coming in through the balcony door so I vanquished them and shut the door. No problem Friday morning, so I figured maybe Rosella had gotten the spray. She and the girls are all out of town this weekend, and I woke up in the big empty apartment Saturday to find hundreds of ants marching all the way across my room, out the door, and down a crack just outside the door. I spent about 20 minutes killing them and didn't manage to finish the job, I was too worn out and had stuff to do. When the door is closed they can't come in, but I also can't breathe. I opened it for a while last night and saw that they had started coming in again, so I took matters into my own hands: I picked up my pillow and alarm clock (no sheets necessary) and slept on the couch with the FAN ON! Best sleep since I got here, it was the perfect temperature and the fan kept the mosquitos off, which was awesome. Might not be able to pull that off tonight though, since they should be back by now.
Catholics: I wanted to go to Mass today so I got up kind of early, but didn't wind up getting out the door soon enough to go to San Miniato, this little church on a hill that has mass (I think) at 10. I decided to go see if they had mass in the Duomo. I should say that I had decided to do a Catholic mass because Catholic churches are much easier to find than Protestant ones, and if I'm not going to understand anything anyway what does the denomination matter? The duomo did indeed have mass and I was not late yet, I was actually a little early, so I decided to circle the place once to keep from being too early. As I began my walk I saw two people I recognized from school, one of whom I had actually met for the first time on Friday. that guy is a Franciscan monk, the other woman works at the school. I asked if I could come with them and they said yes. We sat down and they were saying something vaguely rosary-ish. Graham, the monk, ducked out. Maria was really nice and tolerant of my ignorance of all things catholic. We didn't see Graham again until the procession of the head dude and three other dudes in green, one of whom was Graham. Surprise! He apparently had important priesty type things to do like wipe down the cups that held the communion wafers, all of which was done with a great deal of ceremony. Except for the incense, kneeling, and signs of the cross, oh and the fact that everything was in Italian, it was all very similar to a Methodist worship service back home. We do have better music though. The head dude who gave the homily spoke really clear Italian though, and I was able to understand him very well. The readings from the bible were easy to get too, they were pretty common passages.
In all it's been a good weekend despite the ants.