24 January 2008

The rest of Pisa (aren't you proud of me?)

Ok. So I haven’t even had time to get the rest of Pisa up. We (meaning me) were under the impression that our last hostel, the one we’re staying in right now, would have wireless internet. That would be a negative. They do have the internet, it’s just not wireless. And the monitors are so old school, it’s like being shot back to sixth grade typing class with Mr. DeGrote. Yet again, I have no idea where any of the keys are.

The rest of Pisa was pretty cool. We spent the morning laughing at ourselves for waking up so early, and then were walking around looking for a garden that our hostel desk people had told us was really beautiful. Of course the first entrance we found was not the main entrance, nor even an entrance that we could actually go through, but the entrance telling us to go somewhere else. We looked from side to side along the wall around the garden and decided that left was a good direction to walk. Then we walked almost in a complete circle around the entire garden. It seems we had some problems with figuring out where we were and when we were that day.

The Orto Botanico: Museo Botanico really was beautiful. It was pretty small, and is used by university botanic studies students. It was like, the Botanical Gardens meets my mom’s dream herb garden all enclosed in the Secret Garden. Between the three of us some really cool pictures were taken. Hopefully I’ll have wireless internet sometime soon and will be able to post them. It was in the garden that Maggie decided to become a lemon. We were just leaving the complex when we saw these giant yellow…things. They really truly honestly no joke looked like lemons on steroids. Each of them were about the size of a nerf football and were all bumpy. We had some fun then pretending to be lemons on steroids. One of those “you had to be there” things, I think.

After the garden we were all so exhausted that we decided to go back to the hostel and sleep for a little while before going out to dinner a little bit later that day. We headed back and I think were back in the building around 2. By the time we got in the room, we didn’t feel very tired, so we turned on Italian MTV and sat in our beds with the lights off. Four hours later, Ariel and I woke up and Maggie breathed a sigh of relief. Maggie had been able to sleep for about an hour before she was completely awake, while Ariel and I were completely unconscious for four solid hours. We woke up and apologized to Maggie for having to sit alone and watch MTV, which actually isn’t that bad of a fate.

The Italian cafés, called bars, are always playing Italian MTV, which is pretty much ¼ Italian songs and ¾ American songs. But it’s always kind of a weird mix of American songs, like, a good handful of them will be newer, released in the past year or so. The rest of them will be from the 80s. Honestly, I like this better than being stuck with mounds of Justin Timberlake bringing sexy back from who knows where. Seriously. Where did sexy go? I don’t know, you don’t know. … Nevermind.

After waking up we headed out into the cold to find a place to eat. This proved to be a little harder than you might think. First, we were walking everywhere. We only knew about the places that we had passed while we were walking around that morning, and even then we had been a tad lost when all that had happened. Well…let me rephrase that. We had been half lost. I knew exactly where we were on the map. But when it came to seeing store fronts and remembering them, we were lost. And then there was also the factor of not wanting to spend 10 euros on dinner. In the end, haha, we had Chinese food. Yes. Chinese. We went to Italy and had white rice and beef and broccoli (at least, that’s what I had). But it was good Chinese, and cheap, and it made us happy. We were so hungry that we power ate the entire meal and didn’t even talk until our plates were completely clear. After talking for a long time afterwards, we went back to the hostel room and had massage time and watched a movie. Then we went to sleep. Again.

The next morning we checked out and had breakfast at the hostel (I love chocolate spread). Walking back to the airport was a lot easier that second time along the route, probably because that time it was daytime and we knew how far we had to go. Still, it’s hard lugging these suitcases around. There’s so much to carry. We bought train tickets from Pisa to Firenze (Florence) for 16,50 for all three of us and traversed the airport to wait for our train.

Maggie taught us how to play Gin. I like Gin. I win rather a lot. I have two main nicknames this trip, one of them is Gin Master (the other is Mapquest, because I am apparently the only one who can read maps…or likes reading them, either way). We didn’t have to wait very long for our train to show up, and after some hesitation stemming from our lovely language barrier, we loaded our things into the car and sat down. That’s when we discovered that the headcushions were made out of rubber that was about as stiff as a piece of wood. Maggie and I both had fun finding room for our legs; there was a lot of sprawling involved in our seating arrangements. Lucky there were very few people on the train and we pretty much did what we wanted.

When the train man came through to check our tickets we were the only ones in the car who had actually validated them in the little box on the platform. Yes, I just called him the train man. No, I don’t know what his real title is. I just know that we didn’t get charged 5euros because we were nice and prepared.

The ride wasn’t too eventful; the only thing worth talking about besides it’s top time of 42 minutes, was the scenery. The problem with touring places is that you only ever see the areas that profit from tourists. When we were leaving Pisa, I kept noticing that everything looked incredibly run down. I mean, the part of the city we were in wasn’t necessarily the best, but it was still pretty nice compared to the shoddy houses and dead cars and trash I saw all along the train tracks. It made me feel like we were being pulled through the beginnings of a shanty town. Again, there are a few pictures. There aren’t as many as I would have liked (it’s hard taking pictures through a panel of glass from a moving vehicle), but there are some.

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