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Back from Italy and I need an expert to answer these questions for me

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Jun 14th, 2006, 11:33 AM
  #1
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Back from Italy and I need an expert to answer these questions for me

When we travel, we learn more about the world outside of our own back yard. When things are different, in most instances, if we keep our mouths closed and our eyes and ears open, we will figure things out. However, after two weeks in Italy, I have a list of questions that I simply have not been able to answer. Feel free to answer, or post questions of your own:

1. Why are there no fountain drinks in Italy? I have heard from clients in the restaurant business that fountain beverages are a big profit center, thus they are able to offer unlimited free refills and still make a lot of money. Why only bottled or canned soft drinks in Italy?

2. Why is there no facial tissue (e.g. Kleenex) at hotels? With what are folks expected to blow their noses?

3. Why is salad so expensive? We'd eat at a pizzaria, and the pizza would be 7 euro and a very small house salad, with maybe a couple slices of tomato, would be 6.50. Why?

4. Where do the nuns buying souvineers at the Vatican gift shops get their spending money?

5. How do Europeans wash their faces at the end of the day without a wash cloth?

6. Do Japanese women all wear little floppy hats at home, or do their tour guides strongly suggest them for travel abroad? About 95% of the female Japanese tourists I saw were wearing little floppy hats.

7. Why are the folks speaking Italian in Rome all Caucasian? The workforce in Florence and Venice seemed pretty diverse, but the workforce in Rome seemed all white (except for the guys selling knockoff purses.)

8. Do Italians take their kids out to eat and if so, what do THEY order to drink? Do they, also, pay 3 euro for a Coke?

Answers, please!


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Jun 14th, 2006, 11:51 AM
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OK, I'll try to tackle them...

1. Soft drinks as a whole are not a part of Italian culture. Since relatively few Italians drink them, I do not think that fountain drinks would be the profit center that they are in the U.S.

Another aspect of the problem is the "supersizing" that Americans are used to. Pay for one drink and have unlimited free drinks. Italians don't normally want unlimited free drinks of anything, not of wine, not of coffee, and certainly not of soft drinks.

2. Folks are expected to blow their noses with facial tissues - of a better quality than most American ones - that they can buy cheaply at pharmacies and supermarkets.

If you had stayed at an upscale establishment like the Hotel de Russie (rooms starting at $500 a night), I'm sure facial tissues would have been provided, but in small three-star establishments (I'm afraid I don't remember where you stayed, but I suspect it was not a four- or five-star hotel) guests are expected to provide their own.

3. I admit I have no idea why salads are expensive.

4. Nuns take vows of poverty, but that does not mean that they are never allowed to spend a cent. The nuns you saw buying souvenirs were probably in Rome for the only time in their lives, and their superiors or orders would have given them a small amount of money to buy souvenirs.

5. Europeans wash their faces with soap and water, using their hands; they do not require a special cloth to do so.

6. I don't know the secrets of the Japanese tourist industry. My guess is that you are right and that the information they are given before their trip tells them to buy floppy little hats. Not that surprising, since Japanese women traditionally prize pale complexions and would therefore want to protect their faces from the sun.

7. That was not my experience. In two very traditional restaurants (one of them over 100 years old, the other in a location that has been an inn for over 500 years), I was served by Middle Eastern waiters.

8. Of course Italians take their children out to eat. But they generally take them to Italian restaurants - occasionally to McDonald's as a treat - where the traditonal drinks on offer are mineral water and wine. The children drink mineral water (which costs 3 Euro for a liter); many of them get a tiny splash of wine into it.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 11:53 AM
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1. Italians drink wine

2. Men use sleeves, women - bottoms of skirts

3. Because it's healthier, so more desirable

4. What do you think happens to the donation you deposit through a slit in a box?

5. They do? They wash??

6. No, only in US and Europe

7. Are you sure it's not the bright sunlight which colors everybody white?

8. See #3. They don't want to poison the kids.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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I'm Spanish , no Italian, but I'll give it a try

1. There are a lot of fountain drinks in Italy...on the streets. Public fountains with the most fresh water I've ever seen I don't think there are that fountains in restaurants anywhere in Europe, certainly there are no one in Spain.

2. You are supposed to bring your own. Everybody uses Kleenex and carry them in their bags or purses or pockets. No need for the hotel to provide them.

3.Salad was not as expensive but it's becoming to this because of the lack of rain..there is less quantity of vegetables than we used to grow.

4. Don't know about the nuns !!

5. What is a wash cloth ? I wash myself with water and soap..

6. The Japanese wear the same hats here, probably they are cheap in Japan

7. Because most of them are Italians and they are white..as I am. Inmigration is a recent issue both in Italy and Spain..we used to migrate to other countries.

8. Yes, they order the same things and pay the same money. Outside the big tourist places..prices are more normal

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Jun 14th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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I can try to answer a few:

1. I think the US on a whole consumes a lot more soda than Europeans do, because I almost always get a bottle or a can in any European country that I visit if I order soda. Usually I just drink water and local wine.

2. I'm not sure, but if I have to blow my nose and don't have any tissues with me I just use toilet paper. Unless you have a cold and are constantly blowing your nose, using toilet paper shouldn't really be a problem.

5. They probably just use their hands and soap or cleanser. I wash my face morning and evening and never use a wash cloth.

7. I didn't experience this at all. I ran into lots of diversity in Rome.

8. I'm assuming that the kids drink water or juice, which is far healthier than soda anyhow.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:13 PM
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I simply cannot get my makeup off without a washcloth. I hate to imagine what's in the stuff, but it is designed to "last all day." I could splash all I wanted and most of the make up would still be on my face. Maybe European women buy those little cotton pads and makeup remover?

I understand that soft drinks are not big among Europeans, but you'd think that the "tourist restaurants" would have fountain drinks since the fast food places do. Obviously it is not profitable for them.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Kenderina, in US a "fountain drink" doesn't mean water out of a public fountain. It's a glass of soda out of a machine.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:17 PM
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Another observation and question: In Paris it is possible to find a clean, public toilet; in Rome, there is abundant free water. Where is the magical city that gives one abudant free water AND toilets?
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Missypie,

To coin a phrase: "Nothing's perfect."
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Looks like you got all of the answers but I need to add to #4. Many nuns do not take a vow of poverty. I know nuns who live quite well, drive Mercedes and wear Chanel suits...I kid you not.

Oh #5 - try using Dermalogica products and you won't need the wash cloth.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Thanks guys, looks like I am skipping Italy this summer.

Gene
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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"Where is the magical city that gives one abudant free water AND toilets?"

In Rome, you can use the toilet at any bar for free, though it is considered polite to buy something. You can buy a glass of mineral water there for about .30 Euro (though I suppose, in a way, that defeats the purpose of using the toilet ). In my experience, Roman bar toilets, which used to be pretty funky, are now generally quite acceptable.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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OMG, no washcloths and soda fountains...we Europeans are so uncivilised
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Teddybear, these are mere questions. I didn't say Europeans are uncivilized. But there ARE differences.

I can imagine that the primarily European message boards feature questions like, "I was just in New York and there were no bidets. Ick! What's up with that?!" OR "I was in Dallas and I ordered tea and they brought me this huge plastic glass that was mostly ice and every time I'd take a drink, someone would come and fill it up to the brim again. What's up with that?"
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I put this on the other one but I'll post it here too:

#6: Japanese women are serious about sun protection for their skin. Whenever I saw them hiking in Switzerland they wore, in addition to the hat, long pants, long-sleeve shirts, and white cotton gloves, no matter how hot the day or how strenuous the trail. And they were always friendly.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Hmm, about the question nuns having spending money...aren't they allowed to accept monetary gifts for holidays and birthdays from their relatives, i.e. parents, siblings.

When I was growing up, our house was directly across the street from the entire city block that housed the church, school, rectory, convent and parish hall. The nuns went shopping downtown every Saturday.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Missypie, on the face-washing question: I live in the US, and use cleanser (Lancome Galatee) to remove makeup and grime at the end of the day (taking it off with one of those Kleenex!). No scrubbing involved. Then I rinse with water, using my hands. No washcloth.

Those Kleenex flat packs are the perfect solution to your no-tissue problem, and they pack in zero space...
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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Thanks. Being a Baptist turned Presbyterian, I know so little about nuns. I really did enjoy seeing the priests at nuns at the Vatican, however; it was obvious from their faces that they were glad to be there.
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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Missypie, no offence, but all the questions you asked are cringeworthy. The last one is the icing on the cake
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Jun 14th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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OMG- this post is funny! TravelT-nuns driving Mercedes and wearing Chanel! Teddybear-the great uncivilized (ised-must be English) no washcloths or tissues (yes, admittedly this is tough for me as well) drinking sodas from a public fountain!-Thanks for the laugh!
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