No We Aren’t Dead

Florence, Italy

24 September 2017

No we aren’t dead and yes we are still traveling.  I hope -- and some of you probably don’t -- to get back into the routine of writing.  As much as Nancy and I enjoyed our travels in Singapore, Malaysia, almost into Thailand, back to Malaysia, Cambodia, Malaysia again, India, Nepal, and India again I think we overdosed on Asia.  I think we should have left 3rd world countries (no, Singapore isn’t a 3rd world country – heck it’s ahead of the U.S. on most economic scales) at least a month earlier for a 1st world country.  Live and learn; next trip around the world we will know better.

We spent our last 11 days of our India travels in Mumbai (Bombay), or its sister city across the water, Pune.  A portion of our time was devoted to Nancy’s teeth.  This time it was a crown.  Took three trips: (1) dentist to review, (2) prepare the tooth for a crown, and (3) install the crown.  Total cost less than U.S.$500.  Nancy had three choices of crown material and we both agreed, “Go with the best”.

We also had some shopping to do.  The photo below is Nancy, with the assistance of our taxi driver, crossing the divided street (I was left to watch the taxi which was double or maybe tripled parked).  Yes, the two of them are standing on the concrete divider getting ready to cross the second line of traffic.  Hey, it’s India.

India

Always looking for ways to reduce our travel costs I booked us two economy tickets from Mumbai to Rome, Italy leaving at 12:50 am – no hotel room required for this night.

Mumbai’s airport is an architectural delight.  However, you still have to wait in lines.

Mumbai airport
Mumbai airport lines
Mumbai airport
Guess who had the middle seat?
Guess who had the middle seat?

Our flight to Rome was by way of Munich, Germany.  We landed, got off, didn’t stop for anything but a very slow security line and having our passports stamped into the European Union, and with one minute left after our passports were stamp we walked as fast as we could – and had a very nice lady tell us we missed our flight.

We re-book for a flight two and half hours latter and found a place to sit and have coffee.  Two coffees and $10 poorer but hey, its an airport.  Waiting for flights are so much fun.  Note three out of five people have phones in their hands.

inside Munich airport

An hour and a half later we land in Rome.  Taxi to our hotel that is located between the Vatican and the Pantheon.  Wait a minute: (a) our taxi driver doesn’t speak English but basically understands us; (b) our taxi driver is driving but not honking his horn and no one else is honking; (c) our taxi driver stops for red lights; (d) all the drivers stay in their marked lanes and don’t make their own lanes; (e) no cows, water buffalo, camels, goats, people, broken down trucks in the road; (f) the sidewalks are vehicle free; (g) there is no garbage in the street and the buildings may be old but very nicely maintained; (h) I see blue sky not smog; (i) the weather is cool, not hot and you are probably getting the idea we are in slight state of “shock”.  It took three or four days for us to stop talking about the difference between our last eight months and now.

This isn’t India!

Rome

We dumped our bags in our room – our very small room that cost more than at least two thirds of our lodgings since Jan. 1, 2017.  We went out on to the sidewalks of Rome – you don’t have to walk in the streets of Rome; heck it’s against the law and the law is enforced.

Didn’t take us but a few steps to find a place to relax and have a meal.  I ordered my first bottle of wine in I have no idea how long.

Rome cafe
These two ladies showed up while Nancy was getting an Italian sim card for her phone. We really are in Rome. Doesn’t the nun facing me look like the 1960’s nun who used a ruler across the top of a student’s knuckles to let them know they were misbehaving?
Nuns in Rome
Rome and India do have several things in common. Religious statues and tourists, for two things.
statue and tourist
And finally, Rome does have some poorly maintained buildings.
The Colosseum

As I sit here writing it just dawned on me what the biggest difference in our lifestyle occurred with our leaving India and arriving in Rome: I can have a beer at breakfast, a glass of wine at lunch, a scotch before dinner and another glass of wine with dinner if I so choose.  Now that will put anyone in a better mood.

P.S. Shock of change in cultures and sights may have faded but the shock of the cost of Europe versus Asia is still a daily occurrence.

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