No Insult Comic Dog, Sorry!

What you are currently reading has been posted from an MSI Wind Netbook affectionately known as Stan. Yep, first blog post from the new lappy top. I still haven't gotten the network at home figured out but it can connect to the interwebs. I am currently sitting in Galeria Krakowska after eating a nummy Greek Salad. I have 20 minutes before class starts so this won't be a long one but I just wanted the world to know that I have a laptop! It is tiny and adorable and it is now fulfilling its intended purpose. Yippee! I'll update about the visit of the 'rents at a later date but I figure this is big enough to merit a blog entry. Because I can. Cue the evil laughter and triumphant music.


Back from the Dead (Part 2)

Roma! Our hostel was super sketch. It was under construction and overall, delightfully "shabby chic." The lady at the front desk was nice but kind of scatter brained. She told us that our rooms would be ready after 4 o'clock. That was not what we wanted to hear as we were stinky and sweaty and tired from traveling. Also, because Ashley had set our check-in time as 9:00 so we should have been able to go straight in. Well, I guess something happened or they realized that we were not at all happy about not having access to a shower but they let us into our room after we got the money bit squared away. After quite possibly the most amazing shower in my life, Ashley brought back breakfast of a yummy croissant and fresh-squeezed (right in front of her very eyes) orange juice. The shower was just amazing due to my aforementioned state of hygiene (or lack thereof) but the OJ was fantastic on its own merit. After a short nap, we went out and explored. The front desk lady gave us a map that looked more like the Enchanted Kingdom than the Eternal City because all of the major "attractions" were shown as little charicatures of the buildings rather than just a star and label or something. We thought we might see maybe one or two because we were both hella tired and not really feeling like walking several miles. Turns out the map showed every tiny little side street and alleyway so what looked to be a fair distance was actually a 5 minute stroll. We ended up seeing the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Santa Maria Maggiore all in a few hours. Every day we were there we walked at least 10 kilometers and that's a conservative estimate. I'm so glad that I had my Keens. Ashley was wearing sneakers and she said that her feet hurt after an hour or two because the streets are all cobblestone and not terribly feet friendly. I didn't feel anything. The only thing remotely sore was my butt from all of the hills. The second day we tried to go to the Vatican but we were on the later side of the afternoon and I was wearing a tanktop so we couldn't go into anything because they require that both your knees and shoulders be covered. The rest of that day was spent at Circus Maximus and the Colosseum. I bought some super cute sunglasses for 7 Euro next to Trajan's Column and the ruins of the Forum. We walked through the monument to Vittorio Emanuelle II, the first king of a united Italy. Let me tell you, that is a whole lot of stairs. Third day was the Vatican. Let me remind you that this was Holy Week. More than that it was the day before Easter. There were a few people there. The line for St. Peter's Basilica only took about 45 minutes even though it was at least a quarter mile long. They had us moving at a pretty good clip. There was a group of Americans in front of us and a Polish couple behind us. We didn't really talk but we created a little bit of a "line community." Maybe 50 meters from the entrance, a family tried to sneak into the line and cut. Shot down! I saw them at first and decided to take the passive-aggressive route. I started a very clearly enunciated rant (about 30 decibels louder than necessary) about how quickly the line moves and therefore how unnecessary it is to cut. "It's the Vatican so you should really be respectful to the PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN WAITING PATIENTLY FOR 40 MINUTES rather than be in such a hurry to see a holy site. In fact, it's just BLOODY RUDE to assume that their time is worth less than yours and that you have more of a right to be there than anyone else." Passive aggression had no effect other than making them avoid eye contact and maybe die a little inside. They continued on in the line undetered. The Americans in front of us saw the source of my disgruntlement(is that a word?). I knew that they could be counted on because earlier on in the line they also called out a group of teenagers who tried to hop up in position. It was at this point that I regretted not being direct because the Cheaty-McLineJump family had already been behind us for a few minutes. (Oh yeah, they were behind us and therefore not having any impact whatsoever on our wait time. It was a matter of principle) They claimed to have been there the entire time which was just a plain old lie. I saw them slip into the line, looking rather unsure and suspicious, like they knew they weren't supposed to be there. The other Americans joined us in consulting the Polish (who spoke not a word of English) in the veracity of this statement. We had a conversation that involved a whole lot of hand gestures and strictly Polish on one side and English with a few words of Polish on the other. We understood each other is true show of Solidarity (Anti-Communist Revolution jokes, you gotta love 'em). They just moved back a few places in line but refused to go to the beginning. It pissed me off but some fights aren't worth fighting. The Basilica was beautiful but I ended up losing Ashley so I had to wait for a while. We went through the temporary museum set up to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Vatican as an independent country. It was sort of interesting but most of the things were in Italian and directly related to the Catholic Church and therefore not holding a great deal of personal meaning for me. I did get to see the actual signature of Mussolini and that was pretty nifty. After that, we went to the Museum that holds too much art to see in one day. We went through but as previously mentioned, the Mayflower ain't got nothing on these pilgrims. Too many people in not enough space. It was beautiful but they save the Rafael rooms and the Sistine Chapel for the very last(which Ashley had never heard of and thought it was the "Sixteen Chapels"; don't know whether to laugh or cry at that one). I started tearing up when we first walked into the Chapel. All of these frescoes that you see reproductions of your entire life are actually there. There isn't a single inch of unadorned space. It was absolutely amazing. After we finished with the museum, we went to the Santangelo Castle and walked around a bit. On our way back across the Tiber, there were these two Chinese girls. One took a picture of the other and then they switched so they both got a picture in front of the Castle. I heard that they were speaking Mandarin so I asked if they wanted me to take a picture of the both of them. They didn't notice for a second that I asked in Chinese but then they started freaking out. A white girl speaking Zhongwen?!? It cannot be! I took the picture for them and they called their friends over and we talked for a few minutes. They had Ashley take a picture of the group of them with me in the middle. It was really cool. That night, we went to the other hostel, in Ostia. It was way nicer but it didn't have the wicked awesome location of Chez Sketch. We had to take 2 trains, a tram and then a bus to get there. One of the amenities offered there was a daily cinema. The scheduled film was Solaris but no one really wanted to see that so we asked if we could change the movie to another one on the list. We chose Gladiator which was so bloody cool! They showed the Colosseum and I couldn't help but think "I've been there!" Then, there's a scene where Maximus asks Cicero "Where are you camped?" and he answers "Ostia." I was totally geeking out at that point. Russel Crowe was talking about my present location!!! How awesome is that? Really, is there a better location to view the soaring epic of a general who became a slave, a slave that became a gladiator, a gladiator who dared to challenge an emperor? The answer: no! The next day was Easter. I'm so glad that we weren't in Rome proper for that. We walked out to the beach and I guess it was too cold for the locals but we went just the same. The sea was wicked cold but I went wading none the less. I got some crazy sunburn and sand flea bites but it was totally worth it. For lunch, we went to an Italian Chinese food restarant. It wasn't that great but it's fun to be able to say that. The train ride back was long but we ended up in a car with three Mexican guys. Ashley had previously claimed to be able to speak Spanish. Yeah, hon, one or two semesters at GV don't count. I was talking with the youngest of the guys, Aden. We had already covered the basics, name, location, why we were in Italy etc when Ash popped up with ¿De dónde eres? It took her 10 minutes to think of how to say that... After being around all of these native Spanish speakers, I was feeling kind of bad about my skills. My ego was slightly reinflated. When I got home, I was stinky and tired (4 days of wearing the same jeans does not make for a fresh and fragrant Chelsea). While I was gone, Melanie had rearranged, organized and cleaned my room. She also did all of my laundry. That girl needs to start her thesis because she has WAY too much time on her hands. Next entry: the parents invade Kraków! More details at 11.


Back from the Dead (Part 1)

I didn't bring my camera with me to the computer lab so pictures from Italy will have to wait. Even though I don't have pics this second, I can say that this trip was amazing! It was really expensive but if you go anywhere on the Euro, expensive goes without saying. Rome during Holy Week was an experience. First, there was the Krakow Airport. At Polish airports, instead of regular security personnel, they have military commando looking people. We flew RyanAir which translates to we only brought carry-on luggage. I brought my face wash (112 mL) and my conditioner (200 mL), both of which were over the 100 mL limit for liquids allowed in the cabin. I cunningly avoided having to throw my stuff away by spilling the entire contents of my luggage on to the floor. Although it wasn't really planned, I pulled my bag off the table but neglected to zip up my bag before doing so. I thought I was just creating a whole new route for the struggle bus but it ended up working in my favor. All the commotion meant that they forgot about my liquids and went on to the next person. After a pleasant flight, we arrived in Bergamo, a town about 50 km from Milan. The plan was to just take the train to Milan but that would have entailed waiting a long ass time in a podunk suburb while a major city neither Ashley nor I had ever seen was tantalizingly close. We bought a bus ticket to Milan and got to explore there for a few hours. The people in Italy are way nice than the people in Poland. We had no idea how to get to Il Duomo from the train station so we went to a tram stop shelter and were looking at the map, trying to get the slightest clue where we were. This middle aged gentleman, dressed in the manner of the residentially challenged, stopped and asked in alarmingly good English where we were trying to get to. He gave very clear and easy to follow directions to where we wanted to go. That would never happen in Poland.
Il Duomo is gorgeous. Mark Twain had it right when he called it "poetry in marble." So many details and embellishments. You could spend a lifetime looking at it and notice something new every day. This is about all I have time for at the moment but trust me. There is plenty more to come.



I am in Italy until the 13th so I won't be posting until I get home. I am taking some amazing pictures. Yesterday we took the train into Milan and saw Il Duomo and La Scala. Now we are in Roma and it is so beautiful. (They have real napkins here!) Never thought I'd look at that as a perk. Can't wait to show all of you our amazing adventure but I'm running out of time at the internet café. Love to you all!


Doing Nothing is the Best Use of My Time

Konrad and I were supposed to go to lunch today at 1. We planned to meet at the Big Head in the Rynek. Well, he was a loser and forgot so I had some time to kill in Old Town before he got ready and came to where we were meeting (Indus a.k.a. delicious!) Well, I used that time to take some pictures as it was gorgeous outside.