Friday, July 08, 2005

It's 2005--Aren't Credit Cards Accepted Everywhere?

June 17, 2005, No Watch—Probably around 1:30 PM, Poolside, Lombardi Hotel, Marina d’ Pietrasanta, Italy

It’s another gorgeous day in Marina d’ Pietrasanta. Since we didn’t want to pay another 20 Euros today, we decided to hang out at the pool. We’re the only ones here right now. In fact, there’s not even a lifeguard whom we’re supposed to get our pool towels from. Hopefully, he’ll show up soon.

Okay, last night. We left the beach about five-thirty, and went back to the hotel to shower. I let Kathy have the bathroom first, and while she showered, I sat out on the terrazzo and read “The Heiress” by Claire Delacroix. It’s a wonderfully written historical romance—one of the best I’ve read in years. Brava, Claire! I wish I could find more romances like hers. It’s a damn shame that writers like my friend, Hope Tarr, who writes just as good as Ms. Delacroix, is having trouble finding a publisher these days. Not to mention writers like me who write just as good as the big names out there—Nora, Susan Wiggs, Barbara Samuels, Sandra Brown—and still have trouble finding a publisher who believes in her. Uh oh, sounds like I’m falling into my whining mode. Time to move on. (NOTE: Both Hope and I found new publishers since this was written. Yay!!!!)

After I showered, I joined Kathy out on the terrazzo, and we went to find a restaurant, walking south along the ocean boulevard. Not to brag, but we looked pretty damn good—especially Kathy with her long, lean body. She wore a short, red, fitted dress with a halter top and red sling back heels and gold jewelry. I wore one of my favorite blue and white sundresses with a scooped neck and fitted bodice, and accented it with my lapis lazuli necklace I bought from the Southwest Indian Foundation catalog. Kathy let me borrow her lapis and mother-of-pearl earrings which I almost lost (twice) during the evening. (They were studs, which I can’t seem to keep in my ears.) Anyway, as we turned onto the sidewalk from the hotel walkway, a couple of male bicyclists were coming toward us. One of them—and he was typically Italian gorgeous—threw me (me, not Kathy!) a big smile and said, “Bellaissimo!” Talk about an ego stroke! It made my day. :)

We walked farther down the ocean boulevard than ever before, and saw a sign for a restaurant down one side street. So we went that way—and lo, and behold—we found a whole street of restaurants, shops and markets, pedestrian only. We explored for a while and then found a pizzeria with outdoor seating that took credit cards. We decided we felt like pizza so we each ordered a Margherita (pizza, not drink) and I got a beer while Kathy ordered red wine. It was good, but not nearly as good as Roberto’s. We had specifically asked if we could use credit cards before we sat down, and they had assured us we could. But about halfway through our meal, the outdoor lighting went out. And stayed out. We joked about it probably being a scheme so we couldn’t use our credit cards, but we didn’t really believe it. After all, there were lights on inside the restaurant. But sure enough, when we got ready to pay our bill, the waiter told us he couldn’t accept the cards because the electricity was out. That’s two nights in a row now that we’ve had credit card problems at dinner. But tonight, we stuck to our guns, telling him we had no cash. He suggested we walk down the street to the banka and get cash. We refused. He then said, “Perhaps electricity will be on at 11:00.” It was not even ten. I shook my head. “No, I’m not sitting here until 11:00.” Then we wrote down our hotel and room number on a slip of paper and told him we’d return tomorrow to pay them. He took the slip of paper and disappeared. I told Kathy I’d give him five minutes to return, and if not, I was leaving. And guess what? About a minute later, the outdoor lights came back on! Imagine that! What timing! What a coincidence! Next thing you know, the waiter appears with our checks.

We can’t wait to see what happens tonight when we try to pay with our credit cards. :)

This morning we went back to that shopping street and…yes, shopped. I bought an Italian linen tablecloth for Kristin & Jimmy’s wedding gift, and a dishtowel set for Bunco. Also, found a cute linen top for me.

Now, here we are at the pool, waiting for a lifeguard to show up so we can get a towel and go swimming.


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