Monday, October 29, 2012

Venice, Day 3 – October 28, 2012

Venice, Day 3 – October 28, 2012

To paraphrase a famous quotation from a former President -- "Sunday, October 28, 2012, a date that will live in infamy."  The temperature was 45 degrees, the rain never stopped the entire day, and the wind blew at gale force, blowing the rain sideways.  It was one of the most miserable days I have ever spent.  I had planned to go out first thing, but the high tides had flooded the streets, making walking impossible.  It was very interesting to watch the water rise over the sidewalk outside the hotel and inside the hotel in the lobby. 

Despite the miserable conditions, I didn't want to waste an entire day in Venice, so I decided to get on the water bus (the vaporetto) and ride it for its entire route.  It is the local bus here, and it goes the entire length of the Grand Canal and takes several hours to complete its route.  The vaporetto has an inside cabin and an outside standing area that has a roof but no sides.  The windows of the inside cabin were fogged over so that I could not see out, much less take photos, so I decided to try to stand outside.  No one else was crazy enough to stand outside, so I was able to get into a corner for a little protection.  I rode all day and took lots of photos, but it was truly miserable.  At one point, I was thinking that only someone completely insane would stand out there. 

Several times a few other people stood outside for a few minutes between their stops, and I met a few people.  One elderly gentleman was a tour guide for some students, and he told me about some of the places we passed.  At another point, a couple stood outside, and we talked.  They were from Cairo, in Venice on vacation, and completely miserable and completely unprepared for the weather.  I told them about my visit to Egypt, and they told me about their visit to San Francisco, which they loved.  At the end, when they were leaving, I wished them a Happy Eid, and they smiled broadly that someone would know and give them good wishes. 

Last night, I went to see a performance of opera arias, and it was wonderful.  The performance was advertised in all the hotels, and I had passed the beautiful building where the performance was held, not far from my hotel.  So I thought, why not go.  It was well worth the effort.  The performers and the musicians were dressed in period dress from the 1800s, and the music was really wonderful, as well as the beautiful hall.  After the performance, I stopped into a litlte Italian restaurant just outside the hotel for a bite to eat.  As I was eating, I suddenly noticed that all of the workers in the restaurant (all men) were not speaking Italian, but Arabic.  The restaurant was an Italian restaurant run by Arabic immigrants.  I found that very amusing. 

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