Dilemmas

Sorry for the delay folks, this travel life can get a little hectic when you a) don’t plan ahead and b) cannot speak the language. Southern Italy is not only famous for buffalo mozzarella, it’s also famous for Italian.  Who knew there would be so many Italians in Italy?  Something else Italy is famous for is dodgy public washrooms and the virtual extinction of anything resembling paper, either nasal tissue or toilet paper.  (Cigarette rolling paper is plentiful but too small for other more practical purposes).

The washroom at the Sorrento train station was just off the platform, down a flight of stairs and through a guard gate that only opened for the price of 50 cents Euro.  It’s like paying for a fortune teller; you’re expecting a miracle but often just get a load of shit.  Anyway, I paid my fee and barged in.  <Aaaaaargh!>  Two dirty squatters, a broken toilet and nothing but empty cardboard spools.  “Nope, can’t do it.”  I mumbled aloud.  Six weeks spent in Asia and I haven’t used one of these horrid things yet; hurriedly waiting for a bus in Italy was no time for a Baptism, and it appeared as though others had recently tried and failed: tourists.  I turned to use the urinal and saw someone had left a large loaf of bread next to the sink.  What the hell?  Were it not for the amount of bread we’d already eaten in Italy I may have taken them up on the offer, because 50 cents for toilet bread is better than nothing.  I ran back to the bus queue and told Julia I was waiting until Positano, and that hopefully this would be a quick journey.  What else could go wrong?  I thought.

Fortunately we were on the bus early enough to get a seat, because it was standing room only, again.  Our friends from the train were standing near the front, looking bewildered.  They had just arrived from two days in Rome and were spending two days in Positano before heading to Barcelona for two days, Amsterdam for two days, then finishing their trip with two days in Paris before returning to Ohio.  I said we were spending four days in Positano and he said “chillin’ out, I like that.”  Forty-five minutes into the journey the bus stopped on the side of a ridiculously narrow road and a bunch of people got out, huddling against the barrier next to a sheer cliff.  Should we get out?  Is this the bus station?  It just looks like the side of the road.  Someone said people were getting out to take pictures, but then the bus took off without them.  What’s happening?  We drove on, through what looked like Positano, then heading out of town the bus stopped again at the side of the road.  What?  I finally asked the bus driver if we should get out and he just said “Positano,” as if I was supposed to know by ESP that this particular spot on the side of a road was where we should get off the bus.  That and our baggage was on the street side of a very busy thoroughfare that was now less than a bus width wide.

“Our bags?”  I muttered to the driver.

“Yes, your bags.”  He replied, nudging his chin towards the bus cargo door.

“Here?”  I asked, dumbfounded.

He looked frustrated, pushed me aside and walked around to the cargo door, completely oblivious to the traffic that was mere inches from his ass.  He opened the door and pulled out our bags.  We retrieved them and stood on the side of the road with the people from Ohio.  What was that I said about strength in numbers?  None of us had a clue where we were or how to get to our respective hotels.  Finally they said.

“Um, we’re supposed to be near the water, so I guess we’re walking down.”

“We’re way up there,” I replied, pointing to the sky.  “We’re supposed to take a bus.  We need to ask around.”

“Have a great trip.”

“You too.”

Off they went and Julia and I were alone, at the side of the road, with four pieces of luggage.

I found a hotel in the area and got some advice.  Our B & B was in Montepertuso, high in the hills above Positano, and we had to take a local bus, which ran every hour.  The next one was in 45 minutes.  By the time we caught the bus to Montepertuso we passed by the exact spot where the first busload of people got off.  Ha, typical, we probably could have caught a bus an hour earlier had we known the right stop or had the bus driver actually said something.  (My ESP doesn’t seem to be working in Italy!)

The bus coughed and choked for fifteen minutes up a winding narrow pathway until we arrived at Montepertuso.  We were greeted by a strapping young lad who slung our heaviest bag on his shoulder and led us up 115 stairs to Le Ghiande Bed and Breakfast.  I carried the second heaviest bag on my head and paused three times to catch my breath.  Finally we arrived in the room and slept for about two hours.  There was nothing to do today but have dinner in the B & B.  Another long day of travel was over and it was time to party.