In Italy, it seems as if foreigners are paid a lot of attention to, both negatively and positively. Our first night in Florence, we stepped into an non-Italian restaurant in order to take a break from the not-so-good (in my opinion….) Italian food. The owners were elated to see people who spoke their language, and gave us preferential treatment…though they were a bit annoyed after a while from our questions about Florence. Not too long after, a group of American girls (early 20s or late teens) walked in, sporting summer dresses and taking advantage of the drinking age in Italy. The owners of the restaurant treated them quite well, smiling and optimizing their limited knowledge of English. After the girls were settled, the owners convened along with some ethnic customers and began talking about the girls in their own language & of the fact that they were from the “abominable” country of America. Highly offended, we refused to return upon our good morals.
Here’s what we typically hear while walking on the streets of Italy: “Indian? 60% off!” See, it makes us feel kind of special so we usually take them up on their offer just because we love to shop. Twenty minutes later, we hear: “English? 60% off!”. Hmmmph. Some deal that is. So, I guess that means that all foreigners get “60% off”…what’s the point of original price, then? Maybe we ought to learn a bit about business from the Italians…
This is a perfect example of the Italians’ obsession with asking if we’re Indians. Sometimes they ask in a light and cheery manner in which we respond yes, but sometimes it’s so scornful that we just ignore them. Sometimes, saying we’re Americans makes things more costly for us or causes us to be bombarded with questions. But either way, we’re on vacation so why does it matter? The street vendor who illegally sells faux Louis Vuitton bags doesn’t need to know my ethnicity, thank you very much.
Meanwhile, English is like a sweet melody to my ears and Americans are like gods. I used to consider Italian to be the most beautiful language, but it’s beautiful as a screaming baby now (which I’m very unfortunately listening to now…remind me why people bring babies on planes?). I think if I learned it, I would disagree with myself. But regardless, it’s so exciting to see someone from the US!
While I paid lots of attention to people, I didn’t forget about the city around me. Florence is beautiful…much more beautiful than Rome (though my parents find it too crowded with tourists…which it is). It’s quaint, but too hyped I suppose. The small alley next to where our apartment was looks exactly like Diagon Alley, no joke. Harry Potter could’ve easily been filmed there.
- I’m a bit disappointed because I found out that Michael Buble was in Venice the same day as us.
- Wherever I see prices, my mind automatically converts them to dollars.
- I brought clothes for 80 degrees…it was 60 almost everyday.
- I managed to follow the time of the East Coast almost the entire trip…which explains the fatigue, sleeping in, crankiness…etc.
- The tourists in Italy are so diverse. Sometimes, while sitting on the train or at a cafe, I would wonder about their stories…or make stories for them. It was kind of fun seeing so many different people….really makes you think.
- I cannot WAIT to eat non-Italian food.