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Around the World in 210 Days

Rome Sick & a run in with the law

ITALY | Tuesday, 27 November 2007 | Views [1072] | Comments [13]

As we mentioned in our previous blog, on Saturday we arrived in Rome, Andrew green-faced and Alex ready to try out the Roman McDonald’s. As luck would have it, Andrew needed some water when we arrived at the airport, so we went straight to the Termini Station McDonald’s and got a bottle along with a strawberry milkshake (1 Euro!!). We both felt better after that and were able to continue on our journey to the hostel we were staying at.

Some of you may have heard we were staying with a Roman woman while here… well, friends, that just didn’t pan out. And it was all our fault, too. The day before leaving for Rome, she emailed us directions to the apartment. Andrew logged onto Google Maps and discovered that her alleged “Apartment in Rome” was actually 25 kilometers away from the city’s center. We immediately logged onto hostelbookers.com and found a charming little place with bungalows that was going to save us 75 Euros, as well as be much closer to Rome’s center. We were furious that she had told us her place was so close, but Alex composed a surprisingly polite email refusing her services. We told her it was just too far and that the cost of transportation would be too much coupled with the rent price.

Later that night, we were telling Marina about the woman’s audacity and dishonesty, and a tiny voice in Andrew’s head shouted “check again, check again!” So he opened up G maps again and typed in the exact same address. This time, to everyone’s surprise, the arrow landed smack in the middle of the map of Rome. Oops. It was about a quarter inch from the word “Rome.” Marina laughed and pointed out that we can just tell the woman in the next email that we wanted something “in the O vicinity.” It was really embarrassing. We had plans for how to weasel out of how wrong we were, but she (not surprisingly) never returned our email and so we have washed our hands of it.

Besides Andrew’s train vomiting, our Rome travel day was by far our most successful. Although Alex made Andrew sprint to validate our tickets so we could catch a train three hours earlier than the one we bought tickets for (somehow it worked), we didn’t get lost once, not on the train, or the metro, or the bus, or anything. We were very proud of ourselves. Anyhow, our hostel is also a camping village, so there is an area of tents, then an area of bungalows (like college dorms), then some “chalets,” which are like cabins with kitchens and everything. Most ironically, we have to take a bus and a train to get to the city center. A 15 minute commute at most, but still much further out than the Roman woman would have provided…

We woke up on Sunday and Andrew had no health or energy to do any sightseeing. But, as it was Sunday, and the Vatican museums are free on Sunday, our thrifty consciences had no choice but to take advantage of the opportunity. We traveled into town and arrived at the Vatican City (the world’s smallest State!). It did not take long to realize what happens when one of the biggest tourist destinations has a free attraction. The line, or what we could see of it, went down the side of the city’s wall, turned with the corner, then turned again heading toward’s St. Peter’s Piazza. We went to the back of it and settled down for what we overheard was a three hour wait. This would be the first long “queue” we have had to stand in on our entire trip, and we may have gone crazy except for two things. First, the line moved fairly quickly. Second, we learned of one of the most entertaining sports/public spectacles available for Vatican line-waiters:

“Dodge-Cop.” The players: A large group of suspicious looking street vendors, and police officers. The equipment: Blankets and make-shift cardboard tables with a variety of shoddy merchandise: fake designer handbags, fake designer sunglasses, tripods, umbrellas, scarves, etc. The rules: The vendors are to set up there shanty-kiosks in a row next to the tourists and along the busy pedestrian avenue. As soon as they are set up, they are to immediately start peddling their wares as if they are official Gucci products, pricey hand-woven goods, or just not poorly manufactured camera equipment. At this time, the police are allowed to stroll nonchalantly toward the vendors. At first whiff of a police man, the vendors will, in order of proximity to the danger, fold up their kiosks with one swift motion (or in the case of handbags swoop them all onto one arm like some kind of ridiculously gaudy cross-dresser) and walk away as casually/quickly as they can. The police shall continue strolling until all of the vendors have scattered. The vendors are permitted to remain in the area, hiding behind legitimate souvenir kiosks, passersby, or street posts. Their eyes are allowed to remain deer-in-headlights wide as to better watch the police, and they can walk with their merchandise covered by a thin white sheet in circles until the danger has passed. At that point they are to set up their kiosks again for round two. The game ends when A) the vendor sells all of his wares, or B) one of the strolling cops catches up to an unaware vendor and tickets him for selling without a permit.

Best. Game. Ever. We watched if for a good third of the line waiting, and time flew. Unfortunately, the police and vendor presence was more subtle on the other sides of the Vatican walls, and it was limited to walking umbrella salesmen. The game can be played at most of the good sights, and is always a pleasurable way to pass your time after soaking in one of the monuments.

After what felt closer to an hour and a half than three, we made it out of the drizzly weather and in to the Vatican museum. Because it was free, we walked passed the ticket office and decided to see if an audioguide was worth the investment. It was kind of pricey, but in a museum this large could come in handy. That is, until we heard that the museum was to close in an hour. No time for audioguides. Probably barely enough time to see the Sistine Chapel. So we booked it to the back of a long trail of cattle. We mooed slowly through rooms filled with ancient statues, frescoes, tapestries… it was reminiscent of the Louvre, although with less words in English explaining the artwork. After forty-five minutes of stepping on heels, we arrived in the Sistine Chapel and spent the rest of our time craning our necks. The big surprise here was how small the Creation fresco really is. I had expected it to be larger than the others, but it is simply the painting in the center of the ceiling, surrounded by equally impressive paintings of the same size. It was cool to see, and also fun to watch everyone try to snap their own picture of Adam and God, despite the signs demanding “no photos” and the security guards shouting the same whenever a flash went off. One guy in front of us turned around and surreptitiously aimed his digital camera to the ceiling. He pushed the button, and the bright orange pre-flash light shown in all of our faces. He saw it and quickly dropped the camera to his side again, embarrassed, but laughing.

We had to walk quickly through the remaining halls as the museum was closing, but there were some impressive works along the way that we were surprised rarely get any love. Although it was the mid-afternoon, because Andrew was feeling particularly crummy, we called it an early day and went back home.

On Monday, Andrew woke up feeling half-better, so we went to Termini to book an open-top bus tour, so that we could see a large part of the city without the headache of navigating it. It took three seconds for us to be approached by men and women with brochures, so after a compare and contrast session at McDonalds (not the one in Termini, the one across the street), we decided on the best tour and hopped on. Actually, it was a hop on, hop off, but we decided to refrain from hopping and see the entire tour first. It made a large, 2 hour loop of the main sights, with English pre-recorded facts read by a woman that had to be from the Chic-ah-go area. That was humorous. After the tour, we rode the circuit again until it hit the Coliseum and de-boarded.

The Coliseum is impressive. Not because it is such a large structure, but that it is such an old structure that is so large, and used for such ridiculous things… not to mention it’s existence is due solely to the number of slaves that worked for however many years to make it (the upside is that the slaves did get to go to the events, and even had their own special little seating area!). Something we didn’t know is that during the middle ages the Coliseum was used as a marble quarry, which could actually account for the level of decay inside (which we did not see except from the gates). Anyway, it turns out almost all of the Roman ruins were ransacked for their marble… more on that later.  Point of interest only 2% of the gladiators that fought in the events lived to tell about it.

After the Coliseum, we hopped on the subway decided to check out some of the piazzas. We started at the Piazza Della Repubblica (where sits a McDonalds that Alex and her parents had dined in several years ago). We bought some (almost the only) used English books from one of the many book vendors along the street, and then dodged Vespas over to a church. Inside they were having a small service. It was in Italian and a few of the nuns probably should have taken a vow of silence due to their singing abilities, but we enjoyed watching it for a while.

We walked on to the Piazza Barberini and then to the top of the Piazza Di Spagna, home of the Spanish Steps. As Andrew was still sick, we were happy to take the stairs downward, although the steps are best made for sitting on. We sat and watched street vendors launch plastic light discs into the air for a while, and then called it a night, but not before walking past window after window of Gucci, and stopping by a grocery store so Alex could buy a 700 gram bag of chocolate chip cookies.

On Tuesday, because our bus tour ticket was good for 24 hours, we decided to hit a few more sights that aren’t on the main metro lines. We rode the bus to Il Campo Di Fiori, a plaza that hosts an eclectic outdoor market, with a large flower section. Walking through the fresh vegetables and spices was very appetizing until we reached one booth that went unattended long enough for a couple pigeons to go after some grapes… ew. We then made our way to the Piazza Navona, which is an oblong plaza with a small fountain on each end and one large one in the middle that holds up an Egyptian obelisk. That fountain, unfortunately, was being renovated, but we did get to see a human statue King Tut, a mime, and another human Statue of Liberty (which was a stubble-faced man).

We then headed to the Pantheon, one of the most recognizable Roman landmarks, and more importantly, another building that Andrew traced as a Graphic Artist at UT. Man, that guy did everything! The Pantheon was initially a polytheistic temple but was later converted into a Catholic church, which, we have learned, was the fate of most of the pagan sites in the city. It sounds unfortunate at first, as it is inevitable that the initial frescoes and statues would have been removed or covered, but it is actually probably the only reason most of these buildings still exist. Because they were converted into churches, they were tended to during all of the hard times and therefore remained pristine compared to the crumbled remains of the other buildings.

Raphael and an Italian king or two are buried in the Pantheon, but the coolest part is the large dome (considered a huge feat at it’s time) which has a giant hole in the center. When it rains, it rains in the Pantheon, and there are several holes in the ground to drain it out. We went out into the plaza in front of the Pantheon and ordered a strawberry milkshake from… yes, the McDonald’s across the plaza from the Pantheon.

Our last scheduled stop for the day was the Fontana Di Trevi, which holds the costly tradition of throwing a coin over your shoulder to guarantee your return to Rome, and a second to grant a wish. We figured ten cents on each one would do the job. The fountain was covered in people so we left fairly quickly and decided on a second visit to the Spanish Steps, as it was one of Alex and her mom’s favorite spots. (One other interesting side note, the fellow that cleans out the fountain each night, not a public works worker, earns 180,000 dollars a year.)

The steps really are great for people watching, and we found a secluded place that gave us a great view of the tourists. We were even immortalized in many of their photos, which was flattering. A few men were playing a game of Dodge-Cop, and one of them chose flour-filled balloons as his shoddy merchandise. He was deep in bartering with a tourist couple who wanted 3 for 2, and when they pointed out that one of the balloon creatures was missing an eye, he began digging into his bag for a better one. Suddenly, his eyes darted up, he crammed his merchandise into his bag and jumped up four steps at once, easing into his panicked walk. Two cops were within a yard of him when he saw them. We didn’t even see them coming (part of the job of a Dodge-cop spectator is to ooh and ahh as the cops get closer). They glared at him, maintaining their saunter. He kept his eyes locked on him and his bag at his side, and slowly eased behind a statue to wait them out.

Darn, no winners again. But before we got up the man was able to get back down to the couple and complete the sale. One point vendors. We got up and climbed the steps to the second platform and looked out. As we were watching people, we saw a Korean couple caught in one of the common scams at tourist attractions: bracelet making. These guys walk up to you and throw a string loop on your finger, braid it, and then tie it tightly to your wrist. Then, when you thank them for their apparent act of kindness, they ask for payment. The problem is the bracelets are really tight, and the only way to avoid being harassed is to either not let someone tie a string to your wrist or tear it off. The man wasn’t lucky enough to do either, and while the bracelet crook asked him for payment, another sleazy man started braceletting the woman. She was not having any of it, and when he asked for payment she tore her bracelet off. The man was too polite though, and after repeated bullying by the main bracelet crook, he handed the man a ten Euro bill. The bracelet crook leaped the stairs to our level lightning fast, and before he had even put his stolen money away he was next to us, and asked us if we wanted bracelets. We both laughed in his face. Alex said “Are you kidding? You just stole that guys money!” He muttered something in another language and walked off. We were both pretty annoyed and felt bad for the couple. We contemplated going to a pair of cops who were nearby, but decided it would be fruitless and continued to the top of the steps.

As luck would have it, the same bracelet crook was leaning against the wall, talking to one of the street artists. We stopped, and Alex decided to take his picture… no doubt part of a bigger plan to add him to some kind of most wanted list. She snapped a few quick shots and the man saw her. He came up to us and asked Alex if she took his picture. She said no, and gestured to a large church on the horizon. “I was taking a picture of the dome,” she said. It was a legitimate excuse, but he wasn’t having it. He came closer and asked to look. “No way,” she told him, “we just watched you steal from that guy. You can’t touch my camera.” He was persistent, and reached for the camera but Alex pulled it away. He tried to grab Alex’s arm, which made Andrew’s blood boil. Andrew stepped in front of him and held him away. “Do not touch her,” he said. The crook whacked Andrew’s forearm with the corner of his cell phone, but didn’t come any closer (at this point the only thing keeping Andrew from throwing him down the Spanish steps was the fact we didn’t know if we could find the US embassy before the polizia found us… we do get lost easily, after all…) This is when the crook’s artist friend tried to intervene, sensing trouble. “Don’t touch her, man,” he added. The crook was angry. “Fine, I’m calling the cops.” That caused Alex and I both to laugh. “Call them! Please! We can do one better, they are standing half way down the steps! Let’s go talk to them, tough guy!” we shouted, almost in unison. His toughness waned as he realized the complete lack of effect his threat had. We continued to goad him, laughing and daring him to follow us to the cops. He just stood there. His artist friend apologized for him and asked us not to do anything.  We headed down to the cops and tried to explain the situation, but because our Italian is about as good as our Portuguese, they misunderstood that we were the ones that got ten Euros taken from us. We brought them back up to the top of the steps and of course the crook was gone. He knew the rules of Dodge-cop as well as the rest of them. The cops ended with a lecture to us not to give our money out to anyone, to make sure we know the price before-hand… you know, the kind of stuff you read in ten different guidebooks when you’re planning a trip around the world. Oh well, the cops don’t get it but the crook did. We didn’t want his bracelets.

After that, we decided that it was enough excitement for one night. We caught the subway to our bus stop and then hopped on the bus. After Andrew validated our tickets, he headed for a row of open seats, but a large, bald, beefy, smelly man had his forearm straight across the aisle, holding onto the opposite bar. “Scusa,” Andrew said. The man turned and looked at him, said something that Andrew translated as “thirty,” and then looked away, not moving. The crowd behind us was growing, and the top half of the bus was completely empty beyond the smelly man’s thick arm. On top of this, Andrew was still sick and wanted quite a bit to be sitting down. So he decided to play arm limbo, but the man was watching him and actually lowered his arm so Andrew couldn’t duck under. Andrew gave him the “What the heck?” look, and the man responded with the “I dunno…” look. Andrew rolled his eyes and pushed straight into the man’s arm, looking at him as he went. Surely that would translate into any language that we wanted to get by. The man looked to another man, who was almost identically large, bald, beefy, and smelly, and wearing a similar black leather jacket. He sighed and lowered his arm, muttering to his buddy. We sat down and discussed the oddness of the situation. The man’s arm was back in the way, blocking most everyone else from getting a seat. Then it dawned on us; these men were intentionally creating a crowd. They were pickpockets. Now, it could be assumed that because of our recent run-in with crooks we were being paranoid, but no, this really was happening. After the bus started moving, the men pushed into the crowd, keeping one hand on the rail above them and their eyes darting everywhere. At one point the original thick-head glanced over an old man’s shoulder and then looked at his partner, who was on the other side of the man, and pointed down at him with his eyes. The other nodded, but luckily for the man this was his stop and he pushed passed them before anything (as far as we could tell) happened. We watched them for a few more stops, when they finally got off. Not to go somewhere else but to turn around and smoke a cigarette until the next bus on the route drove by. It was crazy, and we agreed that when we got to Turkey we would be starting out with an Orange security level.

After all of that excitement on Tuesday, today was pretty chill. Andrew was finally feeling better.  We slept in, went jogging, stopped in a trattoria for paninis (no, not on the jog… on the way to the metro), and then went into Rome. We spent the day in the Roman Forum, an area northwest of the Coliseum that has a huge amount of excavated and still-standing ruins. It is in the valley between the “seven hills,” and is considered the center and birthplace of Rome. The seven hills were inhabited by different groups, and the Roman Forum was used as a burial ground for all of them, which led to a conversion of the peoples. But also some babies raised by a she-wolf purportedly had something to do with it. Anyway, there was a lot to see, and again this was partly to do with the church. The senate house and several temples are still standing because they were converted into churches. Most of the buildings are brick now, though, because the marble was stripped during the renaissance (which makes you wonder what pieces of artwork used marble from the Coliseum or some temple of Jove…). After the forum, we went to the Trastevere district, which is supposed to have a nice nightlife, and dined in a pizzeria. We also found a really cheap grocery store and stocked up on chocolate goods and cherry pies.

Tags: Adrenaline

 

Comments

1

WOWzers! And Oy Vey! I got so involved in reading this international crime novel that I let a pizza burn in the oven. And it wasn't a crumby vinegar and fishjuice pizza either it was a delicious work of art.

For that you must endure more internet interaction from me and my legally trained accomplice in the DC area. Get ready. Our humor is 'cutting edge'.

I am EXTREMELY proud that sick Andrew went into a defensive protective manly mode. Otherwise that crook could have easily been killed if Andrew had let him get to Alex. She is not one to mess with.

  Richard King Nov 29, 2007 9:32 AM

2

Ah, the Camping Village Roma, how I miss thee. I would be absolutely amazed if you can get into town in 15 minutes everyday, but there were also problems with the subway while I was there.

The best part of the Camping Village is by far the bar during the summer months. Every night at 10:00 PM, come hell or high water, the place turns into a "Discotheque" for 15 year-old tourists.

One night, a rail thin Italian bartender (in designer everything) turned off a football match that was on the projector at EXACTLY 10 when there were only 15 minutes left.

What, you ask, could have possibly been so important?

The visualizer for the trance music that suddenly began blaring over the speakers. Obviously! How could you possibly instantly transform a bar into a Discotheque without dimming the lights, turning on rave music, and flashing seizure-inducing images on a giant projector screen?

Riddle me that, Batman.

  Richard Hall Nov 29, 2007 10:37 AM

3

Mystery solved. I wondered who the other Richard was and never suspected the Jack Bauer look alike Richard Hall (aka the Smart Richard)

I can see clearly now. Thank goodness there is a peer to keep an eye on Andrew's antics.
Sadly his twin brother has abandoned him for the Scandinavian night life.

You flatlanders sure turned out to be quite the world travelers.

  Old Richard Nov 29, 2007 10:49 AM

4

let me catch my breath and slow the heart rate down, ok andrew it has to be you shannon and i traveled the same roads you are and we never had a problem with anyone so you must be the magnet so cut it out. shannon do i need to come over there and whoop up on some italiano butt? you need the mace i have you should have taken it. isn't it wonderful over there andrew, i love rome. and to tell the truth we did eat at mcd's when we where there as really i do not like italian food. how is the wine, i have not heard one word about that and hey your in the country for it. the squares are great and yes the spanish steps are really neat the night shannon and i sat on them some guys were playing a guitar anad everyone started singing songs and then come the police and tell them they can't because they don't have a lic. but the church right around there had the best lights on it at night. i really had a great time there when it was just us two and had a pretty good time when it was the three of us. andrew isn't shannon fun to travel with. never a dull moment. it was in rome tho where the indian food was so beware. the bus ride was really pretty cool with the tea, i do not remember shannon letting me rest, watch tv or just bum out though. shannon you are going to go on the bus ride like we did aren't you i really feel the trip would not be complete unless you let andrew ride the bus and ride on the right side next to the window on the way there. andrew how do you like the beaches or have you seen one yet? you will need to get a speedo first to fit in. and shannon glue the hair on your legs and underarms. you two are using the next to your body things right so a pick pocket could not get anything off of you without knowing you really well first of paying for it. now i will tell you that i do feel that you have been to mcds enough in rome so do try some of the other places. shannon take him to eat at the place where you can get the scampi and andrew you will love it or maybe not. have a wonderful time and keep safe. shannon if you need to stay a distance from andrew to prevent the thugs from accosting you do it. and tell anyone who wants to see the camera that they need to call your mom and ask permission as it's not yours yet. love to you both stay safe and happy mom

  mardi Nov 29, 2007 11:28 AM

5

Sorry to hear your bus ran into the colliseum. Did it do much damage? If you would please try not to start an international incident.
love dad

  dad Nov 29, 2007 3:56 PM

6

I have now become one of "those" teachers, instead of teaching class I have been catching up on the blogs that I have missed. (Richard lets not tell any future bosses about this)

  spanky Nov 30, 2007 5:16 AM

7

Spanky,
I have been there brutha!

REPEAT AFTER ME
The system forces you to become "that kind of teacher."
THE MAN (administration) is always trying to keep you down. Its not your fault. Education schmeducation.
You can't make chicken soup out of chicken...droppings. Bloggin' on the school clock aint doggin' on the school clock.

Instead you and I can just be thankful we don't live in the kind of crime ridden neighborhoods that Alex and Andrew hang out in. Wouldn't that be horrible to be around thieves day in and day out.

  Richard King Nov 30, 2007 6:39 AM

8

Mardi, help me out here. I need punctuation, paragraphs, CAPITAL letters. I suspect that your comments are filled with wit and wisdom, as I find you filled with wit and wisdom (and bluster -- a lot of bluster) in real life, but I just can't slog my way through that e-mess. I don't mean to take over Spanky's role as an old school-marm here, but the internet did not give you permission to forget every bit of grammar you ever learned. No, no, no, Mardi, you must guard the English language, our written word, like the treasure it is.

Speaking of Spanky, I'm with Richard on this one: Work of all forms is meant primarily to drive us to the internet.

In other news, I believe that AndreWalex is trying to overwhelm us and make us regret asking for longer posts. The last two read like those corporate contracts they later bind into giant multi-volume books. Shew! I mean, I dig learning about foreign culture just as much as the next American (which is to say, not at all), but I feel like I live there now!

(Seriously, AndreWalex, IMPRESSIVE! I really kinda do feel like I'm there when I read your posts. And then I realize I'm HERE. Booooo. But it is great escape while it lasts, my little future novelists/historians/art history teachers/travel-guide-writers.)

AndreWalex, what is the creation fresco? Is that the one with Adam and God touching their index fingers together? I like that one!

  Annie Nov 30, 2007 7:44 AM

9

Ummm, Rrrricardo, you haven't written anything lately. What's going on? Not feeling well?

  Annie Dec 1, 2007 5:20 AM

10

Annie I'm busy. Busy as a pickpoket in Rome trying to figure out if Alex is too poor to rob or not. I can hear them now..." Hmmm expensive camera, BUT McDonalds food, no jewelry or Gucci bag, disoriented husband. "
Is it even worth it.

Anyway I can't just sit and read blogs all day like the Lubbock school teachers do.

First I have to get a punctuation book so I don't get the spankin'you gave Mardi.
>Still, haven't: done; that. yet?!..
Since I know she is going to fly to DC and kill you is there anything special you would like said of you at your funeral?

And I have been worried sick about your depillaries.
Isn't there a cream or some sort of shot you can get to make those unsightly things go away?

I did hear from Alex today. Even when she is threatening to throw walnuts at me I feel so privileged to have broken down her email resistance and gotten a few words out of her. That shy quiet little thing. Or so she would have you think.

I tell you she is a spitfire. Do NOT let the little baby doll eyes fool you.

She claims that Rome is lovely and she promises she will post something about that within at least THREE WEEKS! She has already refused to buy me a hookah or a curved Turkish sword so when she shows up with penquins for Spanky I am going to be just a little hurt.

  Rrrricardo Dec 1, 2007 8:27 AM

11

If you really really REALLY want to test the patience of 'LEX REX' (Alex and Andrew)... ask them about the gigantic transportation strike that happened today (Friday) in Italy. It stopped planes, trains, busses, ferries and even hearse drivers.

They need to get in some sort of transportation that drives out from under that black cloud.

  Danny downer Dec 1, 2007 12:32 PM

12

Fine, I will write like the rest of the world. Do I like it? Not at all, but alas I have been on vacation from life Annie, and did not feel the need to follow any rules. But now my freedom has come to an end. I will now start to work in Hobbs in 2 weeks (if I can pass the drug test and such). And can you believe it will be in nursing. Out of all the professions in the world who would have thought I would wind up working in an ICU unit with really sick people? Lord do the people in charge know what they are doing? ok now was that what you wanted annie, and do you know how many more key strokes it takes to put it capitals and commas and periods and such? i mean really. when i do go back to work i will go back to typing like the rest of you that are living under the iron fist of big boss and big boss rules, but until then i want to remain out of the mainstream, is that really too much to ask of my fellow posters? and really you should be really happy that i do not use the ways and means of the phone text message users, of which i can say i am one kinda. shannon and andrew i fear that the luck of the irish has not gone with the two of you out of dublin. did you make the wee ones mad some how? did you maybe dip into the pot of gold or take a four leaf clover that was not yours to take? if i were you two i would get on the net and check out when the labor contracts for transportation of the different places your are to visit will expire or come up for renewal. so if you are stuck due to lack of movement from transportation i would say your in a great place. if i had to be stuck rome is where i would like to be. Also Annie is it ok to send you a package for yours and Shannon and Andrews late Christmas? Also Annie remember that as a Texan I do not have to breath as often as you and others from the west and east coast, as we have great air so we have really great lungs. So I guess what I am saying is that I type like I speak. love to you all, and wish the poor people of hobbs well, will let you know how the drug test and that pesky criminal background check turn out. mardi

  mardi Dec 1, 2007 1:40 PM

13

I found this to encourage the travelers on their way to the next destination:

"If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul. ”
—Alphonse de Lamartine

I could not however find a similar quote about Hobbs, New Mexico to encourage Mardi.





  Richard King Dec 2, 2007 1:51 AM

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