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Posts Tagged ‘Passport’

So good to me.  Monday mornin’ , it was all I hoped it could be….

Peter left for Rome very early Monday morning, hitching a ride with two other expats heading out of Guardia.  Luigi (Pasquale’s father) drove the trio to Telese, the nearest town with train service.

It started out all right;  the alarm went off, he had packed the night before.  I mumbled from the bed, do you have your passport? Pills? Take a banana, I love you, make sure you close the door.  And went back to sleep.

A couple of hours later, he called in a real panic!  He didn’t have his passport, it was 90 degrees in Rome and he was soaking wet from the long walk from the Termini to the somewhat obscure hotel I had found.

What do you mean you don’t have your passport?  You heard me I don’t have it.  Well of course I said, you must have it.  However Peter claimed he searched all of his bags.  Thankfully, the desk clerk let him in so he could go to the room and search thoroughly because groping in his suitcases in the lobby was difficult.  I looked in the night stand drawers and all around the bedroom.  Now we were both in a panic!  He thought he would have to come back by train and I said, why, it’s not here!  Now I know that when I’m frantic and think I’ve lost something, I keep looking in the places where it should be and it isn’t – until it is!  While we were talking, he kept searching and there it was, tucked into a small zippered pocket he hadn’t noticed before.  Thank God, that disaster was averted.

On a lighter note, when the the trio had to change trains in Caserta, Kelly and Mike had a two page printout for their tickets and Peter had one, uh oh…. Kelly to the rescue.  He calls Pasquale (who had printed Peter’s ticket out the day before) who says, “Turn it over”! Lol.

Joel was expected to land in Naples at 7:30pm.  I had arranged for Pasquale to pick him up.  About 5:00I get a frantic call from Joel ( it’s been that kind of a day), saying he got off the plane in Milan and has no ticket to go to Naples, and the flight number on his itinerary is NOT on the departure board!  OMG 😮 So back and forth we go with: well find an Air Italy desk, there are no desks here only signs for gates, there must be maybe a sign for departures, go there where people check in, I told you I’m in a part of the terminal where there is nothing, but shops, I’m screwed. Go into a retail shop..what good is that going to do? Listen to me, go into a shop they all speak English, ask where you can get information about Air Italy! OK.  They send him to some gate where, yes the flight number was changed, guess they were keeping it a secret!  Joel sends me a text saying he is getting on plane 6:15.  I show this to Pasquale and he searches the departing flights from Milan to Naples and nothing is leaving then.  Texting Joel is futile – I think he must be on the plane already since it is now like 6:10.  Pasquale continues to search for a flight leaving Milan and I’m saying maybe we should go now so we are there when he lands.  I say, please call the Naples airport they must know when planes are landing!   Come to find out Pasquale never even heard of Air Italy!!! Now as I am looking at his computer screen, I see a flight from Milan, Flight #615! Geez Louise, Joel never made it clear that the new flight number was 615 or that he was getting on the plane 6:15 and you saw how he texted it.  Color me exasperated.  So the computer says the plane will land at 7:40 which means we should be on the road already, but while we were scrolling through the list of flights, he DID call the airport.  It took a while but finally he got a hold of someone who looked up the flight and said that plane wasn’t arriving till 9:30pm because it was going to stop in Rome on the way to Naples.  Thank God we called.

So time for a quick chicken dinner with Michael and then Pasquale and I took off for Naples Airport.  If you think your airport like LaGuardia in NY or West Palm in FLA where they don’t want you to stop for a minute to pick someone up with their luggage is tough, then don’t go to Naples Airport.  The police regularly come through and make all the cars move that are semi-parked and waiting for an arrival and don’t want to pay exorbitant parking fees.

Luckily I hopped out of the car, found Joel in an instant, and we were on our way.  Joel had now been traveling for 17 hours through at least 4 time zones and he was bleary-eyed and hungry.  We stopped for pizza and gelato on the way home and we got home just after midnight.  The last of  Monday’s madness.

 

 

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For once in our lives we actually left for the airport on time, no racing out the door, no panic because we could not find a cab.  Off to a good start.  Let’s begin by saying I’m probably not the best packer, so for me to pack for a month’s stay in a place where they hang their underwear out on the front balcony was a real challenge and we ended up with 1 LARGE suitcase, 1 Carry-on suitcase,  2 small Travel cases and 1 large  leather tote and a cane of course.

First things first, we knew our best bet was to get me in a wheelchair because you know the gate I’m going to is ALWAYS the farthest away.  I like to look at the boards of the other 9 gates as I drag my bags along to see if they are going someplace I’d rather be.

Never being handicapped before, I had no idea of how fantastic it was to travel this way.  I was wheeled up to the counter because I had a bag to check (and no Juanita we we were not overweight). Madeia took care of us, with the broadest most perfect ivory smile I have ever seen. She laughed, she told us about her singing career and her idol, Billie Holiday.  We promised to be in the audience when she performed some day in Carnegie Hall and I do believe she will get there.

She signaled for someone to take us to the TSA check and me and the wheelchair just cruised to head of line and we let Peter come with us.  For some reason I was pre-approved but he was not, Mmmm.  Who knew Mr. Press was a security risk? Anyway I had to put all my bags on belt and hobble thru the X-ray.  I didn’t beep but they ran the wand over the boot – let us not forget the infamous shoe bomber! Once thru I’m left sort of standing there leaning like the Tower of Pisa waiting for the man and the wheelchair to appear and at the same time look over at the conveyer for my bags.

FC482810-7C9E-4F66-9933-BAD5EE1D2B60.jpegI see all but the tote which of course has my phone, my iPad, and my euros. I’m really panicking and if you can imagine what a whirling dervish with a limp would look like like -that’s me as I scan my entire perimeter looking for that bag and Peter joins in looking for his passport. Kindly man shows up with chair and wonders what the problem is? Where is my bag?  Apparently it is under further examination….

It’s noon, we left at 10:10, still no coffee, still no breakfast.   C554415C-58A1-4490-BFA9-381229FC0AECI wish I could remember kindly man’s name but I can’t, says Dunkin Donuts and that sounds good to me.  Wait a minute, didn’t I envision a month of frutta, formaggio, Parma e caffe per colazione every morning for a month?? Oh well still in USA. I drew the line at the coffee though insisting we go to Starbucks after we got the donuts. Look how quickly one can become a diva sitting on a throne! LOL.

Finally onto the plane for a quick flight to Charlotte NC for a 2+ hour layover  where I suggested we eat some real food because I remembered last year they didn’t serve dinner till around 11pm. When it was time to start boarding, this adorable young man shows up –  Kevin Hill.  Oh my, after a protracted winter of gray days and the stress of the last few days, that Southern charm was rolling off his tongue like ice cream melting on a warm day. He “yes mam’ed”  and “Miss Laura’ed” me every few words all the way from the gate right up to the plane. I told him he needed to trade up that green uniform working for the airport and get a blue, red and white Americann Airlines uniform to cash in on the perks.  With his south of the Mason Dixon line charm,  he would make a great attendant.

I booked each of us an aisle seat at opposite ends of a 4 seat row.  I figured we would work it out and so I talked Peter into giving his seat up to sit next to me.  BUT that wasn’t so smart since my bad foot was not on the aisle and we wedged in there pretty tight.  Halfway through the delicious airline meal, the man in front of Peter shoves his seat back  in full force, just about knocking his meal off the tray. Shortly thereafter the woman in front of me does the same.  THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! I sit on the aisle  so I can access the bathroom and not disturb anyone else – these other people sit in the aisle seat because they are the size of a cow.

Long night, could not sleep, pretty scrunched up. I can’t even turn sideways but the rude disgusting person in front of me with her seat pushed back and blanket up to her chin , legs stretched out in front of her watching tv like she was in her living room. I was miserable 😩. I tried taking the boot off and letting it  rest on the plastic bag holding the pillow and blanket but my foot kept falling off the slippery plastic.

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I tried to take some Tylenol to ease the pain in my arthritic knees and wanted to stand up so I asked Peter to turn on his light. All the controls were on an unlit  panel and in a  moment an attendant appeared  – how embarrassing ! I tell her we don’t need any help, it was a mistake. She says, “perhaps you do, you are holding pills”. I try to explain in shorthand that my knees hurt, my foot can’t move, nor can I get up because the seat in front is so far back and and I had been thinking of going to rear of plane to see if I could sit in back with her and prop leg up. At first she said it was against regs  but then said seeing how I’m in distress, it would be ok. I opted for the Tylenol and would see if they worked. They didn’t!

Now I notice Peter is waching The Phantom Thread and I want to watch it also but my screen isn’t quite functioning correctly. We can’t get my screen to move to another page so Peter starts tapping really hard on the screen and rapidly. All of a sudden the seat in front of me jerks forward! Ha! I guess she thought I was sending a message , Oh please let me just make it thru this night and off the plane.

Plane was scheduled to land at 9:30am and we needed to get luggage, go thru customs get a 🚕 and get to Rome Termini (train station) where we had reservations for a train to Florence. Well first ondoes not mean first off. Quite the contrary.  I was told to move up to front of plane to wait for the wheelchair.  Got to sit in Business class and was able to fantasize how easy it would be to sleep there. Well turns out several people were gathered and directed off the plane not onto a jetway with a wheelchair waiting- no it was like a large tram on stilts because it was at plane exit level. We sat on benches along the walls. They were all over 80 I swear and not a cast, cane or boot among them!!! We began to move along, going God knows where. We stop. A young girl calls out a name and after several attempts we figure out she is saying McCarthy. That couple exits. I’m wondering how we are going to get our luggage go through customs and get that taxi to the train on time. There were like 2 couples nearer to the door than me but the nice Italian man who was the driver, looked at me and held his hand out to escort me out to the platform that then lowered you to ground level where the wheelchair was waiting.  What a contraption and how efficient!

We are wheeled to yet another terminal and I see the place looks empty, maybe the lines for customs has come and gone. NOT. Long hot lines of overtired, unwashed, teeth undressed people shifting their weight and dragging luggage.  Ahhh the wheelchair rules. Right to a special deal, no line, no questions. Nobody cares why we are here or how long we will stay or did we vote for Trump (ha ha only kidding)!

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