Come Again?! What Exactly Happened on the Trains between Florence and Nice?

English: Westside of the church Santa Croce, F...

Santa Croce

There was a train at 12 PM today. We missed it. We were trying to get to Ventimiglia. but we got on the 7 PM train instead. Doing so, we just missed our transfer, the last train that you have to use to switch trains between Italy and France for the night. Damn, we’re in such a BIG mess, do you even realize? There is no train into Nice after midnight, and we get in at 1. We’ve got reservations at a hotel in Nice for tonight.

OMG, I’m so going to camp out out here.

No no, let’s just go to the border.

Oh, please, por favore, pardon , s’il vous plait? Do you know of any taxis at the border between Ventimiglia? You see, my friend and I, we got a bit lost. 200 Euros!

I’ll wait for you at the station. Of course things are more expensive over the Internet. We’re in Italy! We will bargain!

There is a purple bus parked in the parking lot, which the taxi driver will advise you students to take. It makes a stop at every beach town at 1 in the morning from Ventimiglia into Nice. No, I can’t believe it’s free either.

I can’t believe I’m sitting on this bus either, and the bus driver told me that for you pretty ladies, it’s free. Exact words, I tell you.

It’s pretty magnificent, yes I’m really loving the view. Oh, you don’t say? Efe? Oh, it wasn’t even recommended in our travel guide, but you’re right, we must go check it out!

Yes, yes, let’s do lunch. Oh, it was so lovely meeting you on this bus. Who would have thought.

She was so lovely! Could you even tell she’s lived in NYC half her life? What grace. Yes, yes, let’s get some sleep. But I’m so excited for lunch tomorrow!

The journey between Ventimiglia takes about an hour, and in the changing landscapes, you will notice the sea is to your left, and you can see the dark sapphire of the water is lit up from the bottom of the pier in Monaco, and you will realize, you can go to Monaco without an extra worrying visa.

Ah, but earlier today, when you were on top of the Duomo, and you were casting down your eyes over the red tiles as the sun climbed up the sky, and the air was fresh, the air still light and the markets just stirring to life, you were smiling, you didn’t think you would be worrying about all this train business, in hindsight, did you? While you felt the rabbit fur, the sweet deal for those soon to be doomed gloves that you wouldn’t recognize as you ran down the tiny alleyways, and over cobbled streets, thinking back to a week ago when you were also running late over a field and past cows, for a meeting, gulping down mountain air, drinking schnapps at the wooden lodge of two hunters in Tyrol who almost shot you thinking you were deer except for your Heidi dress.

The next day it is raining in Nice but it’s so fresh here, and you, you’re so elegant and you dress in silver and white, with the green bauble ring you found in that American jeweler’s store, between Santa Croce and Santo Spirito. It looks like a Seurat painting, the white cobbled streets dotted, a mural of a million colors.

The day is for walking, for salmon, for a crisp bottle of vintage Bordeaux (you nod, you are presumed to know nothing about wine, and it’s better to be found dumb than pretentious), and discussions of how alabaster absorbs the aesthetics of the green marble and the ferns will provide a natural cooling system which ventilates the room. The technology is remarkable. It is being used in a “green” hotel overlooking Cours Selaya, at Place Massena where the flowers, the leather, the jewels, they overwhelm like a voluminous hardcover novels, antique stores with copious old currency notes, pearls, and the Oxford Comma.

There are cats everywhere, fluffy cats, thin cats, cats more than Prague, the city of cats, and lovers, tourists, taking photographs everywhere in the hot weather.

Suddenly startling green eyes are peering at you intensely, in the sunlight.

Yes, our hotel in that little Tyrolian town. Well Mozart couldn’t afford the rent and had to stay in the stables, did you know, in the 15th Century? Oh, you should have definitely bought that comb back when we were in Innsbruck. Your hair wouldn’t be so messy.

Blueeeee KEEEYYSSSS, shriek shriek, all banshee like, inwardly all smiles.

Ah, I thought you meant pass me the honey!

Your warmth, it’s becoming, your voice so silky, let’s go and be fabulous in Monaco. We are in the French freaking Ri-VIE-ERA! It is fabulous, si?

Oh, oops we have been in so many countries, I forgot which language!

But I absolutely loved the  sunlight in that hotel, thank you so much for showing us! Yes, if we’re ever back in the States at the same time?

But of course, I understand! Time flies! The ballads we play, the sapphires, the sonnets, what sense do they make, anyway?

(If only you knew that you would be back to Pisa to see Miro, exploring still waters, contemplating their depths, sleeping on the grass in the fields behind Heroes Square eventually, dreaming of the elephants temples that you saw in India for that master’s thesis, for all the phosphorescence in Vieques which led you here).

But you need to stop it, stop the extravagance! We are not pretentious people! We do not lie, why do you show off? It’s condescending, you come from cities of ample pollution, cars treating rickshaws like ants on the street, over-boiled vegetables, bruises and blisters caused by intense heat, and urine on the streets…

This exuberant romancing, isn’t it simply the masked disdain of polite society? Why have you suddenly started enacting the new money tendencies you dislike? This is the sort of thing which makes you feel that you’re  pretending, but after all, what happened in Budapest should be a reminder, of supremacist ideals.

Oh, but these are not sobering times.

As I am standing there, watching the tide wash over my feet and over the pebbles past the promenade in Monte Carlo, I am drinking a Sexy Boy cocktail of mulberries and raspberries.

Suddenly there is silence but the wind is blowing, a pause, and then a shrill laughter, little babies building castles, laughing about our courage, optimism, that old hunter’s wrinkles, how you wouldn’t go inside old churches and how I should have gone to a synagogue.

Yes, I too wish we had had time for Greece, and Byzantine mosaics, and oh shit did we just miss our connecting flight from Rome? I wish we had just flown out from Paris instead. These Air France people, I tell you! What rubbish service.

There there, you know you like being photographed, just stand for another one, it’s our last night!

Ah, but the summer isn’t over!

We will have more nights of the smell of barbecue on charcoal. Let’s have a picnic in Prospect Park? Oh damn, it’s raining in NYC but I so love walking in the rain. Ah, that orange sorbet, why was I too full for it! How I wish for it now, and the blankets in Al Italia, so warm.

But don’t you worry. Can you believe he’s still writing you after all the conversations which caused you to miss the train and made me upset and that’s why I was late for the train between Florence and Nice?

Of course, he wants you! You know, that snow you wanted to see in the Alps in Audrey Hepburn’s resting place (man, sometimes you’re so weird!), go see it with him.

But no, really, I loved that dress you wore, with your straw hat, always carrying your little anthology by e.e. cummings.

Oh, those couples, they were so darling, with that incredible salsa, so unusual too, no?

Oh you sounded Indian just for a second there.

But I am South Asian.

Under the arches of the Piazza Della Republica, where you were twirling too, with that dashing young lad, what was his name?

But why did we even have to ever leave Florence?

Firenze, the stars, the stars, oh those stars.

Remember those beautiful starts in Riomaggiore, oh, after that very amazing and incredible risotto. That risotto.

I reckon I will always  love trains, man.

I can’t believe you guys decided to give an offering to the Pacha Mama and threw all those seeds you bought into the Mediterranean. What? Those Aussie tourists wanted you to go SKINNY DIPPING? Man, I so would have gone. You two are a bundle of surprises, I tell you.

Oh, I do love the trains, even if it means that I don’t have freshly laundered clothes for 17 days, we had no time for Shostakovich, hahaha, and even though you didn’t take one of those black and white cinema photographs.

Yes, let’s have the crew over for a game of Risk and margheritas among the skyscrapers, this weekend, you say? Yes, I’m down for some freshly squeezed lemonade while we discuss  Caraveggio, your Audrey Hepburn fail, but please, no more experimental cooking like that awful white rubbish you took out in Nice.

Let’s get out the lace dresses, love, amore, amore! Isn’t that what he said, so much more suitable than your Barbie, oh wait, you meant Heidi, tendencies.

Oh, but I do love you, It was a slip up. So much faith for you, for your loyalty, sense of truth. Yes, I do reckon it gives me a sense of control. I remind you of Medusa, WHAT? Ah, I love your eccentricity.

Tell me about that spectacular sunset, the spaiggia, you said? Oh don’t cry, please? There’s no need for the tears. Ugh, I know what you mean, those dumb NYC cockroaches flying around. Ah, I don’t blame you, I’d feel defeated too.

Here, pass me a cigarette.

You hate having to think about floods, war, and violence all day? Ah, never thought about that, that that’s what it means to be working in human rights…

Those cops everywhere, the unnecessary politics. Yes, wait, let’s continue after we shift our laundry from the washer to the dryer.

No, hon, nothing is formulaic. Except for death, for apocalyptic prophecies, for organized religions, which are just shamanisms of forms, sugar coating reality, you think? Yes, exactly, like Picasso. Yes, I know you abhor him.

Yes, that crack in the ceiling of the bathroom really was rubbish.

Haha, I can’t believe you haven’t sent your postcards out yet. You’re like, Robinson Crusoe, man.

But, when are we ever in the mood for love? So much work to make it work. No, none of it is for me. No, niente, nothing, never!

Ha! I loved the alliteration, let’s just get some overlarge sunglasses, there’s a sale at Ann Taylor’s Loft! I tell you, the glasses there are a steal. Wait, you’d rather get a sweater?

Yes, it’s getting colder now. Mmmm, You should pass that hot chocolate. I think it will go well with the fondue. Yes, let’s focus on getting back to a forest: sakura matsuri in Japan 2012, baby! WHAT A GENIUS IDEA!

OMG, can you imagine the two of you, sitting on that little bench in Astoria Park, admiring the crocuses, kissing, hugging, and loving. What freedom. Just like horses, you two. Oh, come on, stop saying that’s what she said.

Strangers coming together for a surprise, conquering all despite NYC’s subway system, what hope!

Let’s go together to some isolated beaches. Tu voglio bene. Ti amo, mi tesoro.

Some more fromage? Yes please, oh but that bubble tea, it was, too much for my stomach? So, boh. It was funny, boh.

Just your imagination, mi tesoro. You have such poise, but are you passionate? Like a candle or like a fire?

Will you pass out?

Pass me the popcorn!

Oh, but I hate flying and empty beaches, roller coasters that plummet from heights, too much Rococo, you know?

So let’s please, stop. I don’t want to know about your sibling rivalry, you have such intimacy issues, how do you say? You’re a pansy.

Look, I love you but I think I’m fine, I think I need to go, Yes, on my own. Oh please don’t spit out over that. I can’t. No. Listen, there’s slowing down, but there’s stagnancy, and it comes from too much initiating and not enough satisfaction.

Dammit, I am fine with the rats in NYC, it’s one of the worst of the problems in their transport system, has. At least I can always go places whenever I want.

It was just an accident. We all be falling, mate. Ah, did you really have to tell me you like my pseudo British accent.

Yes, I can’t wait for the palm trees and the banana leaves and I will survive, albeit badly without momo, but honestly, you’re cool, you’ve got style!

Oh, tesoro, you’re cute when you stutter. No, I do love you, I do mean this. I am sorry. I don’t know how to explain. But let’s stay in touch! Remember how you just plopped yourself down on your excessively manicured lawns?

No love, we are all fragments, and sometimes it’s okay to wear clashing colors and eat cotton candy, and look, the beach is just two minutes walking.

No, okay. Listen, I am in the airport and I gotta get on the flight. No, I didn’t think I needed to tell you what I was doing.

Enjoy yourself while you’re here. That’s all. Yes, and pass me the daiquiri.

How do you feel about stargazing tonight?

No, you shouldn’t ever leave here. No one ever wants to leave paradise when they find it.

But you knew that already, didn’t you?


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