Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sisterly Squabbles

June 18, 2005, 4:32 PM, Siena, Italy

Made it to Siena. The stop sneaked up on me, so I had to quickly put my Alpha Smart away.

Okay, where was I? Oh, the naked “breakfast man.” Well, there is really not much more to say about him and his topless wife. But just to summarize…Europeans are different.

Last night we walked back to “town,” and had dinner at a lovely little ristorante outside near a goldfish pond and waterfall. I ordered caprese (tomato & mozzarella salad with basil topped with balsamic vinegar and olive oil), and penne d’ salmone (penne pasta with salmon sauce) and it was out of this world! Absolutely delicious! Oh, and sparkling white wine, which was also delicious. Kathy and I are amazed at the low price of wine here. A liter usually runs about 8 Euros—and that’s a lot of wine! It’s just too bad Kathy likes red and I like white, so we go for the ¼ liter or ½ liter.

We got back to the room last night about midnight and slept well until 7:30. The train trip to Siena went very smoothly, even though we had to change in Pisa and in Empoli. It wasn’t until we arrived at the Siena station that things began to go downhill.

Kathy bought bus tickets to get to our hotel. The lady at the station told her that we needed to catch bus # 17. So, we made our way to the bus stop, luggage in tow. Looking back now, it’s amazing that things can take a turn for the worse so suddenly.

A bus pulled up. Kathy said it was # 17, so we struggled to get our luggage up on it, then Kathy made her way down to the driver to ask him to tell us when we came to the Hotel Moderno. He shook his head and said we had the wrong bus, that we needed # 16. So, we hauled our luggage off again and set to waiting. I was already disgruntled at being told the wrong information at the station, and then Kathy said something about hoping the hotel was within the city walls, and how that was the whole reason she wanted to come to Siena, and then for like, the third time, she said, “I don’t like the name of the hotel. Why would anyone want to come to such a historical place and stay in a modern hotel?”

Naturally, I took that as a barb aimed at me, since I was the one that had made all the hotel arrangements. So I shot back something like, “Well, I was the one who spent all those hours on the internet, trying to get us a good deal at the hotels, but I wish to hell I had let you choose the hotels in Tuscany because if they’re not going to be up to your standards, I’ll never hear the end of it.” Of course, that pissed her off, and her retort pissed me off, so by the time another bus arrived, we weren’t speaking. Kathy goes over to ask the driver if he went by the Moderno Hotel; he nodded yes. We got on. But once we had our luggage on with us, then he tells us that no, he doesn’t go past the hotel, that we need to catch # 17—the first bus we were told to catch. Well, by this time, my Irish temper is at a simmer. And yes, I guess you could say I acted like “an ugly American,” but by God, I’m not going to apologize for it. I wrenched my luggage back off the bus—all four-hundred pounds of it—and snarled, “Fuck this! I’m getting a taxi.” (I’m sorry, folks—those of you who don’t like that word, but I vowed to tell the truth in this blog, and that’s what I said.) I slung my tote bag onto my shoulder, fastened my cosmetic bag to my suitcase and turned to Kathy. “I’m going back to the station to get a taxi. You can go with me or you can stay here and wait for the bus.” And I started walking. Well, damned if she didn’t stand right there watching me go. I got to the crosswalk to cross the busy street, and luck was shining on me. Down the hill came a taxi. I stuck my hand up in the air, all the world like I’m standing on 7th Avenue in New York, and he pulls over. The driver jumps out and begins to load my luggage in the car. I yell over to Kathy, “Come on, Kathy!” And do you know what she does?

She shakes her head. “No, thanks. I’ll wait for the bus.” Can you believe it? So, I got into the taxi, and we took off. Five minutes later, I was checking into the hotel. It cost me 5 Euros and 55 cents. All I had was a twenty, and the driver was put out because he had to make change, but too bad. That’s his damn job.

Up in our room—and believe me, just because the hotel is called Moderno, doesn’t mean it’s modern. The room even locks with an old-fashioned key, and that’s how you lock it from inside, too. At least, it’s right across the street from the walled city, so hopefully, Kathy won’t have any complaints about that. Anyway, I had time to go to the bathroom, count the remainder of my rapidly vanishing cash, unpack the clothes I want to wear tonight and tomorrow, come downstairs and check out the courtyard and back garden—probably a half-hour before Kathy walked into the entrance of the hotel.

At first, we were cordial, and she told me about how nasty the bus driver was, and how he refused to tell her where to get off for the Moderno, saying, “I drive bus. No more!” (Asshole!) Then I asked her why on earth she didn’t get in the taxi with me. And she said something like, “I needed some time away from you because you were in a bitchy mood, and you were mad at me, and I don’t have the slightest idea what I did.” Well, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, I admit it. And yes, I admit that sometimes I’m a bitch. I don’t know too many women who aren’t. But I just couldn’t let this go. So I told her, yes, I was mad at her because she kept making these snide little comments about my arrangements, and how it didn’t matter what I’d done, she always seemed to find fault with it. So then she really let me have it, saying that from the very beginning, she’d gone along with everything I wanted to do, and that I had to be in control of everything, and it didn’t matter what she wanted to do because I always shot her down, and she just went along with me to avoid trouble. And when I demanded that she give me an example of what she was talking about, she brought up the timeshare in the Alps, saying that I’d coerced her into going there, that she wanted to wait for something better to turn up, (translation: something in Tuscany) and I retorted that it was probable we wouldn’t be here at all if we’d turned down Sestriere because it isn’t all that easy to get an exchange to a specific place, and she shot back something about how maybe that would’ve been better and after all, she’d paid for the airfare and…well, it deteriorated from there.

I stormed out of the room, announcing I was going for a walk, and I came down here to the courtyard with nothing but my bottle of water, and sat here for about ten minutes, trying to cool down. When I went back in to the front desk, they had our key, which meant Kathy had left the hotel. I took a shower, did my hair and began writing in this journal.

It’s now five-forty-two, and I’m still out here in the courtyard. Once I finish this up, I’m going to take my Alpha Smart back up to the room, then go out and explore the walled city.

Maybe I’ll run into Kathy. Maybe I won’t. But when I see her, I’ll apologize. I’m not saying I’m wrong, and she’s right--or vice versa. We share the blame for the fight. But she’s my sister, and I love her. And in the end, that’s all that matters.


At 8:53 PM, Blogger ratheedom said...

(well, i don't know if the first one went through or not!) anyway..........I said! - You go girl! It's a tough job - being a bitch - but someone's got to do it! Great journal!!
Rosemary, Mission, B.C.


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