A belt of sunlight.

First off, let me make clear that I wouldn’t be blogging my vacation, so this is obviously not a vacation. What it is is a “day off” between the 30+ hours of travelling it took to get here and the “training session” that opens this conference experience. Where am I? I could explain it but I can promise that for 99% of you it still won’t be clear or precise. Suffice to say, I’m in a small resort town in the southern part of the Italian Alps. (I find endless amusement in the fact that these mountains are the Dolomites, which I associate with a blaxploitation character (and only one “o”), not a geological phenomenon.)

And before I get much further–I would normally embed a lot of links in a post like this but I’m on a third world grade internet system and it takes about a million years for a single page to load. Just pretend you’re reading my first blog, circa 2003.

So, I’m not on vacation, and I’m in a place that makes me giggle. Although I suspect it is possible that some of the conference material will blend into this post (which I’m guessing I’ll have to keep revising and updating, see above description of internet), I’m mainly going to shoot for the lowest hanging fruit here: observations of other tourists, their hosts, and cultural difference as only a bourgeois American staying in a four star “environmentally graded” hotel in Alpine Italy could conceive of it.

First, what’s the story behind the guys taking off their wet suits and putting on dry ones, all while standing pool side? Us women just sit here in wet suits, uncomplaining, mostly because it is so freaking hot out (with virtually no humidity) that everything dries in a second. What gives? Is your weensie European high-cut thong suit chafing?

Second, although I leapt out of bed this morning eager to discover the little town below (and get some basic provisions, and sense of where the conference will take place) it took me a whole day to figure out I was sitting by the “quiet”, small pool. There’s a huge pool just around the corner (and a cafe from which the kids keep getting what looks like microwaved pizza) with a slide. And on the topic of pools, I might mention the careless disregard shown for the well-being of children. Although I am sure they will grow up to be higher functioning than American children, it wouldn’t kill the resort to hire a lifeguard or two, especially considering the whole 3 story high slide attraction. Also, it would help them to enforce the “no diving” rule, which I think is what that sign prescribes. I can’t tell because it is in Italian. By the way, why are your public safety signs only in Italian, but all your other slides (e.g., Jazz at dinner on Fridays! Join us in the bar for happy hour!) are in three languages: Italian, German and English?

Speaking of signage, why is it necessary that I weigh and stick a pricetag on my apple? Since you’re the only grocery store in town (I hadn’t yet bumped into the farmer’s truck of veggies, bah!), and we’re all tourists buying a single piece of fruit, what say you just pick a price–.50 euros seems fair–and charge it? Then I wouldn’t later mistakenly eat a sticker with your store’s name on it. But you have my congratulations for selling wine at 3 Euros a bottle. Brilliant choice. I’ll be back for more as long as I haven’t just bought the Italian equivalent of Gallo bag-o-fun.

City planners: since you have built this lovely town, next to this beautiful lake, and invited all these visitors…in fact, you offer GARDALAND RESORT, Italy’s most popular theme resort…so, why not make it possible to get here without heat stroke and financial collapse? When the tourism agent told me, “oh, just take the train to Rovereto”, I thought the biggest pain was going to be the two planes, bus ride, and two trains that it took to get to Roverto. Instead, I realize it is the 50 euro cab ride from “nearby” Roverto and the un-air-conditioned trains that stop at each little town. All told, your “quick and easy” method took almost 10 hours and cost 63 euro, while the private ride you were offering cost 60. Thanks.

(Sidebar: How freaking awesome was Hannibal and his elephants? Because these are big hills, I tell you. Very big. Even if I was an elephant, I’d be all, “thanks, it’s beautiful, but I’ll just rest up here.” Mind you, I’m an elephant with a b-12 deficiency.)

Looking forward to the great adventure of finding a dinner spot. The question is: should I wait for my roommate to show up? She said she’d arrive today, but since we’re pushing 7pm, I’m starting to wonder if she took the trains….


1 Comment

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One response to “A belt of sunlight.

  1. Patrick Hunt at Stanford has actually gone looking (unsuccessfully) for the bones of Hannibal’s elephants. He has a whole class on Hannibal on ITunes U but here’s a link to a stand alone lecture on the alpinous pachyderms

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