Sense of humor while traveling

Aug 1st, 2003, 08:09 AM
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Sense of humor while traveling

One of my favorite vacation memories was when I was in Sorrento Italy during a downpour. I was in a little market and the power went out. I groped around trying to find what I needed. I selected a bottle of wine to take with us the next day to Pompeii. When we opened it the next day we almost spit it across the lawn where we sat. YUK!! It was terrible. The moral to this story is... never pick Lambrusco in a dark shop in Sorrento We still laugh at this. What is one of your favorite stories where a sense of humor while traveling helped?
JandaO is offline  
Aug 1st, 2003, 07:32 PM
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When I was on a vaporetto heading toward The Lido, when I was supposed to be going to the St Lucia train station? Does that count? Well I did laugh at myself!!!
suze is offline  
Aug 1st, 2003, 07:39 PM
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This is one of those "DUH" moments, but I laugh about it now...

We were waiting to take the ferry from Dover to Calais. Had some time to kill, so we were walking along the rocky beach. In a moment of sheer impulsiveness (aka stupidity), I decided to make a rock angel, much like a snow angel. *kinda* worked. But what it certainly did for SURE was it shattered the glass on my watch!

(ok, everyone reading this make a big L with your fingers, smack your forehead with them and say LOSER, all together now...)

BrimhamRocks is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 11:39 AM
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We were staying in Sorrento and decide to take a day trip to Pasteum to see the Greek Ruins. We ferried to Amalfi, bused to Solerno, had a quick expresso in a little hole in the wall populated by local workman (no English but my "broken Italian sufficed") and took the bus to Pasteum.
Had a great day wandering the beautiful ruins, taking in the museum and stopping for lunch at a neat little cafe. We had been advised that the last returning bus would leave the station (a bench on the side of the road) about 4:40. So, we got to the bench in plenty of time. By the way, it was Sunday. The bus was very late, but we didn't have much choice, so, we waited. It did come about an hour late and we boarded for the trip to Naples and, then, via the Circumvesuviana to Sorrento. There was a driver who greeted us and a conductor who took our payment. Both were very friendly. We found our seats and quickly came to the conclusion that we were the only tourists on the bus, that the rest of the passengers were Italians not on tour, but going to their homes somewhere along the route to Naples. There was some conversation among the passengers and with the conductor as he appeared to be a very friendly fellow. My streets of San Francisco Italian told me we had definately been identified as Americans. The passengers had smiled and greeted us and we were very comfortable.
WE were less than an hour into the trip and approaching a small village. The traffic on the two lane road which we found out would go through every small village along the way was stopped and we could see cars, trucks, tractors, horse-drawn trailers, etc., for as far as we could see. The driver started to take side roads to try to go around the traffic, but each detour eventually led him abck to the main two-lane road.
It seems that this particular Sunday was a Saints Day for some local beatified soul. There would be processions in each of the villages on this route. We moved at a snails pace with the driver continuing to try side roads, even getting out a tattered map that he and the conductor reviewed for an alternate route as we inched along the road. The passengers began to discuss the situation among themselves and with the conductor and driver and offered suggestions as they, also, reviewed the map. The banter was light hearted. No one seemed to be especially troubled by the situation. I had pretty well figured out the problem with my poco Italiano, but, we saw the passengers driver and conductor looking at us as they had what appeared to be a serious conversation about us. Finally, a young man approached us as the other passengers looked on and explained in very halting English, our predicament. He assured us that the bus would eventually get to Naples, but offered that the consensus of the group was the we catch a bus to Sorrento at Solerno rather than arrive in Naples late in the evening; "not safe" was the concern. We were fine with that and expressed our thanks. The group, conductor and driver included, became as old friends. Lot's of conversation, laughing, gestering, etc. and they were careful to include us as best they could. The bus continued to move slowly, slowly. In one village, the young man who had spoken to us in English, took orders from the group, got off the bus as we approached the town and ran ahead to find some place to fill the orders. Everyone passed money to him to cover the cost of whatever he found. As we got to the center of town, there was the young man, waiting patiently for the bus to arrive, arms loaded with goodies. A big cheer went up as he enered the bus.
On another occaision, the conductor who was about fifty years old, had to relieve himself. Out on the road between towns now (this was farm country) he had the driver open the door as it moved slowly along. The conductor jumped out of the bus, ran ahead to a tree by the road, went behind to do his business and as we passed, the group, again, cheered and made cat-calls as the conductor ran to catch up to the bus as it passed him. Lot's of laughing and good nature as they reached out and helped aboard. We had a little spurt of movement and the driver had to hold back as well as he could without starting a riot by the drivers behind him.
We continued to move along this way, actually having a lot of fun. The people on the bus were amazingly good humored considering our plight.
As we approached Solerno it was nearing midnight. The group huddled near the front of the bus and had an animated converstion which included the conductor and the driver. There was, clearly, much debate, some of which I could understand. They were talking about us. It was going to be too late to catch a bus to Sorrento from solerno or the Circumvesuviana from Naples. At the pace of the residual traffic (the processions had long since ceased), it was going to two in the morning before we reached Naples. So, the options were to stay in Sor stay in Naples. The young manwho spoke a little English approached us and explained. The group didn't feel it was safe to be looking for a hotel at that time of the morning in Naples. The group felt that Solerno, he explained was perfectly safe. We agreed to stay in Solerno. The driver actually left his route, drove into Solerno to an area near the train station where there were a number of hotels. When he got to the right place, we left the bus to the handshakes, good-byes, good-wishes and waves from all those aboard. What an experience.
We were not done. The first hotel we approached had thier front doors locked and did not repond to door bell. We went to another hotel and this one allowed us entry. We explained our situation and he agreed to provide us with aa room. Fortunately, we always travel with copies of our passports in a place other than the actual passports and he accepted these. He provide us with toothbrushes and tooth paste and we asked him if there was some place we could get something to eat. He offered that there were a few small, all night cafes near the train station, but "please be careful". We quickly found a small, nondescrept pizzaria, hut then I had to see how much money we had (not a good time to be looking for an ATM, even it was Solerno). We sat down, a pleasant looking fellow with an apron on came over and in my best Italian I asked what we could get for the money I had laid on the table. Turns out we could get a small pizza and while he didn't have salads, he agreed to chop some tomatoes and bell peppers and lettuce and what ever else he could find and dress it with olive oil and vinnager. He totaled the cost for us (it wasn't very much) and we found that we had enough left over for two glasses of wine and I could still leave a reasonable tip. We dined.
The next morning (after breakfast at the hotel), we found an ATM, wandered downtown Solerno a little and caught the train to Naples. This could have been a disaster. Thanks to some really nice people, some luck and, yes, some good humor, it turned out to be a wonderful experience we shall never forget.
Have to run. So, won't have time to proof this one.
joegri is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 03:35 PM
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joegri, felt liek i was there! thanks for such a wonderful true tale, thanks for taking the time to post it!!
suze is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 04:38 PM
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joegri ~ what a wonderful tale. That's the kind of adventure that I crave when I travel. Thank you for sharing it with me

BrimhamRocks ~ What in the world were you thinking? You gave me a great laugh ><
MizzEve is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 11:42 PM
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joegri, that was WONDERFUL!!! Other people might have gotten mad or frustrated, but you allowed yourself to be included in the experience and you did it with a great sense of humor.

When my husband was in the military and we got stationed overseas, we were told something in the newcomer's briefing that I've never forgotten: During the time that we are in any foreign country, we are all unofficial ambassadors for the United States. The way we conduct ourselves directly affects our current and FUTURE relations with the locals.

I hope you realize that the people who were on that bus probably remember you and that whole experience with great fondness, and that your positive ambassadorship will not be forgotten.

You really made my morning!
BrimhamRocks is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2003, 11:44 PM
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I know, MizzEve......I know. I've been considering an official name change to GOOFY, lol.
BrimhamRocks is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 03:06 AM
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Great story, joegri
ira is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 07:31 AM
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joegri. enjoying my cafe au lait all the more this morn, thanks to you.
cigalechanta is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2003, 10:21 PM
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Thanks for the kind words. I really do apologize for the lack of proofing, but I had to leave abruptly.
It was a wonderful experience.
joegri is offline  
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