I left Noci, rested and recuperated, ready to go back to Roma. I was especially excited to get back cause I had a date with a man I re-connected with whom I had known from NYC, that had been living in Roma for the past few years. He was cooking me dinner and taking me to see an outdoor Italian movie in a beautiful ancient castle. Let’s just say, I was looking very forward to the evening.
I arrived at the train station in Bari, which was an hour away from Noci, with 40 minutes to purchase my ticket before the morning train departed. I went to the self-serve computer but was having trouble. Quickly learning that the reason I couldn’t purchase a ticket was because the train was sold out. Huh? SOLD OUT??
My anxiety immediately started to build. I went over and stood in the long line to talk to the Italian ticket guy. My turn comes, 25 minutes later. ‘I gotta get on that train to Roma now.’ I demand. He just shakes his head,” No no no English. No available”.
He didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Italian but my lack of speaking this beautiful language will not stop me either from convincing whom ever I needed convincing that I have a date for dinner tonight and I gotta get on that f-ing train!!!
I begged, bribed and cried (for dramatic effects, I mean, I am after all an actress). Another Italian ticket guy, very broken English, yelled to me that I need to talk to the train captain on track 3. Oh grazie grazie, I yelled back. I made my way on over to track 3, after rushing and falling UP the stairs carrying my suitcase in one hand and my computer bag and purse in the other. I think this is a great time to inform everyone that I have not seen ANY elevators or escalators in the train stations in Roma, Lecce OR Bari. Which meant I had to schlep my heavy ass bag up and down the stairs. I know, I know, this was why everyone said, “pack light”. Yeah, well, I thought I did and I still don’t understand why my suitcase was still so f-ing heavy?!
As soon as I got up to track 3, my eyes immediately met a cute Italian student holding a train ticket in his hand. I’m gonna bribe that mothaf-ker. Forgive the language, but I was officially a badass woman traveling alone in Italy with a mission to get on that train! Fortunately for me, he didn’t accept my money cause in my panicked state of mind I forgot to look at the sign that stated his train was going to Milan! Phew.
So again, I hauled myself and my heavy ass luggage down the platform in search of the train captain. No luck. I noticed a few Italian men in train uniforms staring longingly at me. I sauntered on over, dripping with an incredible amount of sweat from, not only the insane heat but also my heightened anxiety. I must admit, I was amazed that even in my very uncomfortable state, I somehow was still able to squeak out a sexy sweaty smile and say with pizzazz, ‘molto caldo’ (very hot). They were charmed and laughed. Good. I’m in. Almost.
One of them spoke passable English so I told him my problem and he reassured me that everything was gonna be ok. He introduced me to the ticket officer for the train to Roma. She told me to go to cabin 5, sit in an empty seat and she would find me so I could purchase my ticket on the train. Woooohooooo. I’m IN! Grazie. Grazie!
I get on the crowded train and the heat was so thick, with no fans or AC, I was even more drenched in sweat. I found the only empty seat and sat, swimming in a pool of my sweat, hoping that no one coming on the train was gonna claim my seat. A few minutes later the engine turned on and as the train started to move out of the station – the AC came on! YAY!
I began to relax and cool down so I took out my lunch that I thankfully made back in Noci, which was in a recycled plastic bag consisting of cut up organic local cucumbers, tomatoes, oregano, frise (that crunchy bread), pumpkin seeds, olive oil and basil. Not the best thing, needed some salt and lemon, but it was fresh and I was beyond grateful.
My happiness was short lived though when the train stopped at the next station to pick up more people. I was kicked outta my seat by a very large Italian woman who yelled at me, very upset that I was in her assigned seat. I moved, but just as my ass hit another seat cushion the ticket officer came over and said with a wink, I had to go to cabin 9. More empty seats, she said.
The train was moving, mind you, and I had one suitcase, one duffle bag and my purse. I moved through four cabins while the train was moving. Bad idea. I was bumping into everyone’s sleeping limbs hanging into the isle saying, “scusi” all the way down to cabin 9. I finally arrived at cabin 9. A bunch of empty seats! I walked past a small group of sweaty, cheesy, Italian molto metro-sexual men staring at me, like they wanted to eat me for lunch. Ugh.
I found a seat far away from them and FINALLY sat my tired ass down. But before I could relax, a strong piercing, pungent scent of body odor wafted through my nose. Great. Of course I found a seat in front of a smelly, pardon the generalization here, O’ naturali European.
I discreetly looked behind me, no one there. Looked across, no one. To the side, no one. Hmmmm…where the F is that smell coming from? And then it hit me – as well as my inspiration for writing this post. I was the one who STUNK!!
I laughed and embraced the cosmic humor in the universe.