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Ham tacos and the toilet isn't sucking mud

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Part One of the Loons Change Maritime Law:

Via British Air, arrived Gatwick Airport early afternoon. 3 Loons took Alitalia to Venice, and said they had wonderful service and food, highly recommending the airline. I took British Air from HEATHROW, and so had to change airports. Important info: British Air will cover the cost of the SpeedLink bus BUT you must get the voucher from the British Air customer service desk first (it is across the floor from the SpeedLink desk) then turn it in at the SpeedLink desk for a 'boarding card'. The bus is comfortable, and even in near-rush hour traffic, took about 1 1/2 hours. It rained a bit, then the sun came out...and the good omen appeared. Over Heathrow, a DOUBLE rainbow, full arcs end to end over the airport...and PURPLE bands. Have never seen either of those phenomena, and I knew the trip would be aces from then on.

I arrived at Marco Polo airport (nice teeny little airport; never worry about meeting people there - you can see the whole airport from any spot) about 30 mins before the other Loons, so had a chance to pick up some brochures on the buses, etc. As we arrived at midnight, the water buses had stopped running (they stop around 12:05) so we had to take a water taxi. It was about $60 I think, but split 4 ways, not budget-breaking. It was a truly memorable experience...the boat went very VERY fast across to Venice, then putt-putted into a tiny canal near the hotel; it was appropriate that our arrival was over water. Driver got all our bags onto the dock (mind you, it's now almost 1am), and though he spoke no English, gave us directions to the hotel (I have enough pidgin Italian to get simple directions...and order food). No sounds... so quiet...through narrow alleys that must have been trod by 15th century Venetians, who also heard nothing...so strange to not hear the hum of traffic. The directions were perfect, we turned the last corner and saw the lit front of the Albergo Santa Lucia at Calle Misericordia, 358. I had let them know we would be arriving late, and they kept the front lobby and the sign lit up to welcome us. The lovely man at the front desk spoke no English, but again, pidgin Italian, I figured out my sister had called and left a message for me to call her (she wasn't joining us this time, but her daughter was). He took us to a HUGE room that looked onto the terrace - chandelier over the center of the room - full bathroom - all for about $30 a person (including breakfast). It turns out, after calling Ah Gheez, that her daughter, Neeeece, had left her ATM cards on the kitchen table, and basically had NO money with her. She was to arrive the next day with OldHand's cousin, Photog, from Florida, around noon at Marco Polo...we all assured Ah Gheez we'd front Neeeece the money, so Mom sighed in relief. Beds weren't the most comfortable, but they were ok...the mosquitoes kept us awake. Suggest that during skeeter season, you bring bug spray (we had repellant, but they still buzzed our ears all night). We recommend the hotel for good value for the money (it is about 5 minutes from the train station).
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