I HAVE dread returning back to Italy.
The experience I have is not something I would cherish. The memories I have are even embarrassing. Stuff stolen mostly. Dad had his wallet stolen along the subway one time, despite being secured from prying hands. They did wave bye even after, we waved back seemingly saying welcome.
A train strike left us stranded in another occasion. Local trains and buses it was for us from then, lost time and lost feelings. We were mistaken working here too. Once, we were kicked out of the train station and forced to find a room in the middle of the night. We find one but it cost us some.
Even when about to leave back for Germany, we found ourselves in a bind. I was alarmed to see a bag in the restroom of our train looking like mine. Found out it was mine. It was taken from my waist, how, I don't know. Might have been our wine but I don't think so. I'm a light sleeper, maybe we were drugged?
All this unfortunate events I tell you. But even back in the Philippines, applying for a visa was not a pleasant experience. I filed a couple of complaints for some unpleasant words spoken. I had to pull out our passports. Was I afraid it would be denied? No. We did no wrong.
They wondered why we would stay for so long? Most countries would want Juan to even stay longer if possible. I wanted to apply for a visa in Germany or France but seemingly, it had to be Italy. I dared them to deny Juan one. I would have to protest to do so.
The only reason why it had to be Italy was because it was our point of entry and that we also had half of our stay in Italy. We have planned to visit friends and relatives in Sicily for quite some time now. It is a first for us all.
Sicily has been known to be the land for the mafioso or mafia. It has also been known to be dirty, filled with garbage and gangsters all around. If Rome was teeming with scoundrels, well expect the worst in Sicily.
We miss our flight initially. A botched airport transfer. No other available flights as it is the start of summer, end of school too. We instead choose to take the train. We soon found out it will take a whole day to reach the island of Sicily. We have no choice.
Our hosts have already learned of our predicament. Appointments made are doomed. We explain, we have no choice. We took a sleeper train. We took it. We wake up and found ourselves inside a ship crossing to Sicily. Early the next day, we were met by our hosts. They understand.
We are greeted with a place up in the mountains, a gated and secured villa. A Jaguar awaits, a van reserved. The cupboard is filled. Unlimited gas for cooking, water, olive oil and electricity. I later learned that even petroleum for the cars is provided for. Thanks to the North Atlantic Treaty Operations (Nato) here in Sicily. I'm in heaven.
Hell has no place here. It is heaven everyday. No bad day. We are treated special by every Juan. Guest passes are even provided for in the military base here. We can shop in the commissary! I get more food for storage and cooking. It just never ends.
My experience so far has totally changed the way I think of what Italy is about. Silly me. I have never felt so in love with such a place, and its people. Yes, they have their craziness, well every Juan is too. So they are nothing compared to Juan like us.
The sites we were brought have all been spectacular. Unbelievable. Never have I thought to be able to go see it. Remember, I hate Italy, much more Sicily. Still, silly me. Now I am finding myself red faced and sorry for thinking the way I should.
I really dread the place. Not a single reason for me to return. No good memories. Fear after fear is all I can think of. Even for food. Italy is known to have good food. Well I never really had that experience. In Venice, an order of pasta and pizza was just with tomato sauce, tasting like ketchup placed over the noodles and flat bread and a charge of 20 euro for it.
In Sicily, we were treated to a Michelin restaurant. It was so good. Pastries are also the best in Sicily. Olive oil is abound. The best of pistachios is also in Sicily. The wines have been so good. We cannot get enough of it. At least four bottles a day. The food served every time is spectacular. These are words I choose. I'm just being silly again. See what I mean. See me silly in Sicily.