Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's not a dry heat. But that's okay because I'm leaving.

Last Friday I was out in the heat, doing stuff, as I do. It was a hot heat. A wet heat. The van's brand new air conditioning couldn't make any headway, it was nearly powerless against the brick wall of steam. I was sweating so hard my wet hair was stuck to my wet neck and a moderate stench of mildew was coming off my sopping wet t-shirt (not the sexy sort of wet t-shirt), or perhaps my underwear (do not leave clean clothes in a front loading washer for even an hour in this weather, or you will regret it). I felt defeated. I kept fantasizing about San Diego, and cursing all the people who live there and drive up real estate prices. And I thought, I can't do this for another two months. I will do something criminally insane, and then they will send me to a nice, air conditioned asylum where I can spend the remainder of my days in a Land's End maillot and a microfiber straight jacket. Which doesn't sound bad, except that my children don't brush their teeth enough even when they aren't motherless. The dental and asylum bills will bankrupt us.

So, Friday turned out to be some sort of record: 117 degrees plus all kinds of monsoon humidity. And I felt better, because it validated my concern that people can't and shouldn't live in this kind of heat. Because normally, it is only like 110 with humidity. And if it is 117, it is usually dry.

So maybe I can make it to Halloween. If temperatures return to their normal ranges.

Or maybe, if I take a couple weeks off and go to Italy.

I hear the weather in Italy is a lot like San Diego. Only in Italy, I'm told, they have way better architecture, ancient Roman stuff, pizza, frescoes, huge statues of naked people, and ice cream. At least, that's what I heard from watching my Rick Steves Travels in Europe Italy DVD like 100 times.

I spent most of yesterday on the internet trying to decide if I want to buy Rick's backpack and silk money belt for my trip. Rick says polyester money belts can get very sweaty. And you can imagine, sweaty is the last thing I want to be on my Italian vacation. 

Yes, I understand that I sound a little nerdy and a little Rick Steves stalkery. But I swear, it was my sister Jen who googled him yesterday and found out he's divorced his wife and found himself a young Asian girlfriend.

Have you been to Italy? Watched a lot of the Travel Channel? Read A Room With a View? (Or seen the old A Room With a View film, which included a young Bellatrix Lestrange and Minerva McGonagall, and all sorts of surprising dangly bits? Or even the 2006 version, in which Wormtail puts on a good show, but not nearly as good a show as all the 1985 dangly bits, if you know what I mean?) I need your help. Got ideas for what to see and eat and where to sleep in Rome, Venice, Pompeii, or Florence? None of us (except sister Jen) has ever been, so we'll need to be pretty touristy, but also, I will feel a failure if I bring less than ten pounds of pasta and gelato home in my haunches, so we will need to make time for that, too.

Bon voyage to me!
(What? Maybe I need to stop looking at suitcases and start looking at Rosetta Stone Italian?)


InkMom said...

Do not skip Orvieto.

Do not ever -- I mean EVER -- pass up the opportunity for gelato. Especially in Florence. We ate it 17 times in four days. I'm not exaggerating even a little bit.

Do not go to the place Rick Steves says claims to have invented pasta carbonara. It's too salty. Yours is way better -- and if it isn't, mine is, and you can come have some here. Unless North Carolina is too humid for you even at our seasonal high of 89.

Do find the pizza joint in the square at Chiesa San Spirito in Florence (which we didn't see last time because it was being renovated, but is nonetheless my favorite little church in Florence) called Ramses. Out of sight good.

Do not spend as much time in Venice as you think you will need. You will run out of things to do and the wandering all starts to look the same. Don't get me wrong, I love to wander, but I don't love to wander with only tourist-gouging, island-isolated prices for every single thing you might want to buy. Including a little baby 4 oz can of orange Fanta in the vending machine at what I swear must be the only laundromat in the whole city. But while you're there -- do stay at the Albergo Guerrato (Rick Steves approves, at least did a few years ago) and make sure to say "Prego" to the old guy at the front desk when you pick up your key every night, if he's still around. Prego! I still say it. And it makes me look stupid, but I don't care.

Do wear skirts all the time. You'll be mistaken for a native, especially if you both wear a skirt and walk around like you own the place.

Do order truffled everything. Be decadent! Enjoy the fungus! I think if they made truffled gelato, I would even eat that.

Do not get the Rick Steves bag. Get the Patagonia MLC (maximum legal carry on) instead. It's awesome. We have two -- best travel bags we've ever owned. Heavy-duty Patagucci awesomeness.

Sigh. I'm jealous. I love Italy. Love, love, love, love.

Have fun. And I'm done now.

Brittany said...

So jealous. We are thinking about going next year, so you'll have to give me all your travel tips.
Also, loved the old Room With A View. Didn't even know there was a new one.

acte gratuit said...

I love Helena B-C's Room With A View. But I've always been a closet fan. How can I recommend it to the world when it has so much of the dangly bits??? But then, that part is so funny! But will people understand? Once, in college, I tried to watch it with a boy. He found it very offensive and was ashamed of me. (And he was a naughty rated-r watcher.) So I just keep my love inside.

I think I'd better rent it to console myself about not going to Italy.

So yeah. Italy. Because you live in Arizona not San Diego, you can afford to go to Italy. Move here and you wont even be able to afford the neighborhood Fro-Yo. Let alone Gelato. Wait, maybe I'm talking about myself.

Sigh again.

Have fun and take lots of pictures for those of us back home! (In ideal temperatures here, but still...)

Kelly said...

I'm just to jealous of your Italian vacation to comment....

K said...

Italy is fabulous. Eat some gelato for me.

I second Orvieto--fabulous. But be careful in the driving. Either leave your car at the bottom of the mesa or at the car park at the top and wonder around. It's not fun getting onto a one way street that is suddenly too narrow for your car and no way to get out. Most dangerous driving we've ever done. But easy to walk, so don't bother with a car. And take the underground tour--you'll love it.

And just an hour outside of Venice is Asolo--lovely and quaint. We stayed at the Villa Cipriani, originally owned by Robert Browning. Stunning. And great little locations all over. Ask the locals. Bassano Del Grappa was a favorite--the best pizza we ate, hands down, and lovely shopping for blocks and blocks.

Leave plenty of time for just wandering--it's all enchanting, you can't miss.


Amber said...

Being that this is my first summer in AZ, I feel like it's a death sentence. I remember Halloween last year--we were at Schnepf farms and it was 108!

I love "A Room With A View" and have fond memories of playing it for my Molly roommates and watching them scream when the jiggly bits came on. Loved that.

When I went to Italy it was HOT--nothing like San Diego. But the men were beautiful, as was everything else, so I got over the heat. Told myself I was swooning from the romance of it all.

Beeswax said...

Thank you so much for the ideas, ladies! Inkmom, Kari, and Amber, I might email you to further pick your brains, if that's okay.

I saw the old RWAV when a sneaky book club lady switched the new movie someone had rented with her copy of the old one in the DVD player. I've never heard 15 adult ladies squeal like little girls before that night. Oh. Except maybe at the Twilight movie.

Shelley said...

I also want to tell you to order truffled everything. I cannot stress this enough. If it is on the menu, that is what you want! Enjoy! Also, take sexy underthings for Venice; it is the most romantic place in the world.

Brett and Shireen said...

Florence is one of my favorite places I have ever been, and the food was incredible. I'm sure Rick Steves has told you that, but I'm telling you again.

Can I fit in your suitcase? Do you need a caddy to tote around your luggage? I'm available if you do.

Katrina said...

Hi! We've met at a few dinners at your parents house and I decided to drop by your blog(hope you don't mind!) and I couldn't resist adding my 2 cents about(my favorite)Florence/Firenze! :)

I loved: taking the couple hundred stairs to the top of the Duomo- the view!

Eating at a lovely outside cafe literally in the shadows of aforementioned cathedral

Seeing David! Wow. There is something really special about seeing that work of art in person that I didnt expect. love.

Saying 'Ciao!' every chance you get!

Passion fruit gelato

Buy leather anything. (I bought a beautiful soft leather journal that I treasure!)

Anyhow, sorry so random- Have a great trip!

candace said...

Kelly, I just booked a week in Italy for my graduation gift to myself. I must borrow your videos before our Feb trip. Have fun and tell me all the fun things to do and see there. Also, I so agree... the heat this summer, esp August, made me want to be a homeless person in San Diego. I posted on FB my feelings of the hottest August in AZ record, is this how the people up north feel when it snows in April? See you at book club. Candace