Getting Marooned in Venice.

Editors note: Somebodyisfromhere.com has been pretty busy. He just finished his finals so in his two weeks off what better time to write about something that happened on the first day or so of July?

********

Somebodyisfromhere.com woke up too late as he was prone to do. He’s always been a fantastic sleeper and the prospect of spending his last night in Europe entirely sober wasn’t all that alluring. Meanwhile, leaving half finished bottles of wine in a vacated hotel room wasn’t an option. It’s just wasteful. On top of that, he enjoyed wearing one of those Panama hats they have over there so he stayed up late rocking that.

He waited a little while at the dock and decided he wanted check with the front desk to make sure everything was in order. While speaking with them he saw a green boat pull up to the dock. He noted its appearance but it didn’t really mean much to him. After all he had been taking blue boats all week.

Eventually, it became painstakingly clear, of course, that he was supposed to take the green boat or, really, any gosh dang boat that pulled up to the dock.

That’s when Somebodyisfromhere.com realized how far away from home he was. In some ways he was really in the center of the universe. It was fricken Venice, Italy. The land of some of the most unique things this planet has to offer. On the other hand, he needed something that could be found the world over. Money.

His bank account was doing fine, but his pocket had a wallet without cash.

He was on an island in Venice called San Servolo. When he tells people he stayed on an island in Venice, they invariably nod their heads as if to think, “Well, yeah, Venice is wet. Of course, you stayed on island.” They don’t realize that San Servolo is, you know, an island island. It’s a place for students to take classes and people to meet for conferences. There’s a main building, a few dorms, and a museum about insane asylums. That’s about it.

So he told the front desk to order him a taxi boat. They were expensive, but it was a time for extreme measures. Plus, it would be kind of sweet to have his own chauffeur take him to the airport.

The problem was that San Servolo had no ATMs. He also couldn’t think of any clever way to essentially cash out his credit card money. Like, would it be possible to pay for another room, cancel it, and get refunded in cash? He wasn’t sure.

Taxis in Venice don’t take credit cards. A ride would cost about $100. In Somebodyisfromhere.com’s office in the States he can use a credit card to purchase a $1.25 for a soda from the vending machine. He  wasn’t at his office, though. He told the front desk to cancel his taxi.

He waited the 45 minutes to take the next boat off the island. When he arrived to real Venice he found himself at San Marco Square in the heart of the city. He still had about an hour and a half until his flight.

It’s not like San Marco provided an easy decision. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was like an SAT question. Do you stay at the dock and wait 15 minutes to get the boat bus to the airport or do you find an ATM and come back and get a taxi?

Somebodyisfromhere.com knew from having asked a vendor a couple days prior that the nearest ATM was about 3 blocks away. This is crazy. It’s one of the tourist hubs of this city and nary a place to get cash.

Europe is old.

Somebodyisfromhere.com rolled the dice and went with the bus. With all of the stops it became apparent he made the wrong decision pretty quickly. Along the way, he passed pretty close to San Servolo and noted that it has taken a remarkable amount of time to travel what feels like a 100 yards.

He arrived at the airport about 10 minutes before his flight and didn’t bother doing the running through the airport thing. He went right to the ticket desk and talked to a polite woman who changed his flight information for the same time the next day (She ended up being the same person who checked his bags the next day. Fun being in a continent in which you know exactly one person who knows you’re an idiot and she’s the person you see the next day. She was nice, though.).

This was really the first time Somebodyisfromhere.com spazzed out in his own quiet way. He asked the information person where the closest hotel was. She said there were many on the way to town. He said, no, he wants one, like, across the street, are there any of those? She points in a particular direction that upon walking over, hoping to find a kiosk with a map or a window with a hotel on the other side, seems to have meant nothing. He tried the internet cafe but doesn’t see the English sign on the page until he tries again the next day killing time before his flight.

So he walked out of the airport in no particular direction at all. Or rather, away from the way from which he came.

There was nothing in the near vicinity, but he saw a building that simply looked like a hotel in the distance. He ended up walking on a local highway to get there but there was no going back at this point. It was only about a half a mile but the weather was scorching and when he arrived the wheels have worn from his luggage and his shirt is gross with sweat.

He asked the front desk if they have a room. The guy said in perfect English, “Yes.” Somebodyisfromhere.com gave him a defeated look about the price while knowing he didn’t really have any leverage. The front desk guy said, “Wait, let me see if there is anything I can do.” After a moment, defeated himself, the front desk guy said, “Free breakfast?”

Somebodyisfromhere.com replies, “Sure.”

****

Prologue to ensure Somebodyisfromhere.com gets over the rare 1000 word plateau: Somebodyisfromhere.com gets a C on one of his study abroad finals. His friend asks, “Is that bad?” Somebodyisfromhere.com thinks about it and says, “Well, I wrote half of it on a train in Italy and the other half in an airport bar at JFK so I guess it’s not that bad.” That’s why Somebodyisfromhere.com loves travel and thinks being in school is pretty okay, too.

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