Italy and France

June 6, 2008

We get off the boat in Italy. Its not quite as hot (read: miserable sweating mess and feet burning disaster) as Greece was which was a relief. All three of us were in pretty much tip top shape. No hangover from the night before, a good solid sleep… a breakfast that i could not choke down at all. It was an omlette with chips and bacon in it. At the time, I woke up starving so it SEEMED like a fantastic idea. One bite in, I had a hard time with it. The chips were dry and the egg wasn’t a real egg i don’t think… maybe I was just being picky… but i pretty much eat everything now a days. I couldn’t get it down. Haggy on the other hand diluted its flavor with a butt load of ketchup and salt and pepper.

We take a few pictures and walk around on board for a bit while the boat pulls into Italy. I noticed, the people on the boat were pretty fucking rude. We were all in a line waiting to get to our cars and since we were all on stairs we were backed up. Haggy and i had both of our bags plus Johnny’s bag while he took care of something else. We had nowhere to go, but to stand in line until it began moving. Some prick behind us got impatient and tapped Haggy’s shoulder and pointed down the stairs as in telling him to move down. Haggy didn’t really have anywhere to go, so he walked down a few steps and then since the bags were in front of me i could only move down a step. Then he could only shuffle forward a bit but not take a full step. take that asshole! We get down to the car and load everything up and turn around to wait in the line to get off. We had our engine running and this pencil neck nerd with a FANNY PACK (sheesh, who wears those anymore?) comes up to the car and tells us to turn off the engine and then pinches his nose to indicate the fumes were getting to him. I thought he had some nerve. He went around and told other cars to turn off their engines too. I can understand if he worked there… but it was just some random guy.

Once off the boat we sat in trafffic for awhile and then started driving along. We arrived about … halfway up Italy and drove straight through it with a few stops here and there for petrol, water and drinks and once for lunch. Inside the Service Station I got my full dose off Italians. Most of the men were dressed in black t-shirts tucked into black jeans with a black belt. They had their scraggly hair pulled back into a greasy ponytail. With gold necklaces and braclets. They acted all macho and tough, but it was so hard to take them seriously when they were at the espresso bar drinking coffee out of these tiny little tea cups with a pinky raised. I had to laugh. It was pretty funny. Not so macho now! I saw one guy who obviously had no clue how to dress or even look in a mirror before he left the house. His hair was shaved in a mohawk style but where the hair would be to spike it he put tiny braids in. It was horrible. LOL We bought some extra large CURLY NOODLES. Who ever said everything is bigger in America has never been to this market.

Our plan was to stop in Aosta and stay the night then get up and going the next morning. We continued on through Aosta and figured we would get to the next town and find a place to stay. We went to a ski resort which we figured would still be open even though it was off season. We were in desperate need of petrol so we stopped at a station that seemed to close as soon as we were driving up. The pump wasn’t in english and we couldn’t figure out how to get it to work. Well, I was off taking pictures and wasn’t a help at all while Haggy and Johnny tried to get it to work.

Finally the attendent came out and helped them along. Eventually it worked and we were off to find a room. Apparently this place shuts down pretty much during off season. Some resturants and bars were open but there wasn’t anything open hotel wise with bus parking. We decided to go for it and go through the tunnel hoping against hope that there would be a hotel with bus parking. We go through the Chamonix Mount Blanc tunnel and entered France.

The tunnel is this huge obv tunnel straight through the mountain. It is super long and kinda eerie just driving through the mountain. The top of the tunnel is completly black with some lights evenly spaced along the top. Halfway down the sides of the tunnel is white. The black part is from all the fumes off the cars and trucks. They keep part of it white… for I don’t know why. It was pretty gross realizing that the tunnel is black from fumes. We get out of the tunnel and circle around to stop and take pictures. I see this cute town nestled in between the mountains in a valley. I’m taking pictures while Haggy figures out where Johnny is. He got stuck outside of the tunnel going through some inspection or something. Come to find out this town that i was admiring is Europes most famous ski resort, Chamonix (pronounced Shamoneee) which haggy has been itching to go to since he was 16.

While we were waiting for Johnny we took off down into town and found a hotel with bus parking. We circled around a few times, looking around. It was so cute and picturesque (sp?). Haggy was beside himself so as we went back towards the tunnel to wait we parked on the roundabout so Johnny could see us as he came down and we ran around taking pictures. We were standing by the light pole when a cop drove down a side road, saw us, reversed up a one way road and came zooming up to us. I get back in the car because i didn’t want to have to try to explain anything in a language i don’t know beyond bonjour plus it was cold. Two cops get out, one speaks no english and one speaks broken english. Haggy tried to explain that he was part of a rally team and we were waiting for the van and trailer to come out of the tunnel so we could go into town. The young cop translated and then they told us we are not allowed to park on the round about and can we park right down the street and come back and wait. So we did. Johnny came a bit later and we went off to rent a room.

We went out that night.

Instead of eating good and proper french food we found a chinnese resturant who suprisingly spoke english. There actually was harldy any resturants open. We ate and had a few beers then went onto the bar and had another one. Johnny went back to the hotel to go to sleep and talk to his lady and haggy and i went to the “English Speaking Bar” that sells ciggarettes. Thats when i met the bartender who knew where murrieta was. Somehow, i assume its from the lack of food from that day and not that much sleep either, but i was completley drunk off my ass. I only had 5 beers i think… well we go back to the hotel and the next morning i wake up rough. i’m still drunk and while i’m taking a shower it just does not cooperate with me. I go down for breakfast and thats when the hang over started. I managed to eat a baby muffin, drank a glass of orange juice and a coffee. My head was pounding and my eyes were flourcent red. so bloodshot. As we were leaving Chamonix we go down off the mountian.

It was so cool. We were on this hairy windy curvy road that made me want to vomit my muffin up. Luckily i kept it down as long as i looked straight ahead and never moved while haggy was telling me to “Look!” Once we were off the road i started feeling better. A water and coke later i was in tip top shop.

We drove straight through france. I was given a map to follow where we were and actually give me something to do. My camera died so i missed out on taking pictures of the flat countryside. We just drove and drove and drove.

Stopped a few times for food and liquid and petrol and just kept going and going. I learned how to read in the car during this part. We played road games with Johnny… “I spy with my little eye” and the other person had to guess what we were seeing. Then the celebrity person game. I picked Jenna Jamison for Johnny to guess and once he realized it was a porn star he got it instantly! LOL One of the questions was, “Does she act in romantic comedies?” haggis and i were beside ourselves laughing. I suppose you could think of it that way!

As we were getting to the docks to go on the boat that will take us to Dover, England (the very bottom) we had to go through customs. I handed over my passport while looking out the window at this strange van. It was painted a sky blue color and it had no side or back windows and three guys were crammed in the front with a blanket covering the back so i couldn’t see what was in there. The custom guy was wondering where my visa was since the lady at heathrow stamped me with an open visa and in the computer it says i don’t have a visa. he asked a bunch of questions and then suggested that since my passport is getting a history (!) then i should carry a copy of the itenery with me so that way when i go back into the country it shows that i am leaving to go home. Finally he stamps me and then we go on our way. A little ways up we pass security and they stop us. The guy asked for my id and i went to go get it he said no. okay then. i was suprised so i smiled at him. then he asked me for my id again and i go to hand him my passport and he says no. Stumped i think about what he is trying to say. then it dawns on me that he is asking me my nationality. I tell him American, Haggis says Scottish and then they look at the license plate which is a japanese plate… hmmmm. We stumped them for a minute. they ask to look in the boot and haggis opens up the back. there is a bag, a spare tire and thats it. They waved us .. that. we get to the line to board the boat and i see the van again. i look at them and they look back at me. I look away.

Once on the boat i see the same freaking three guys with the blue van. And they are parked a little behind us in the next lane over. Damnit. We get to the top deck and everywhere i go i see them. Haggy mentions i have some admirers which i was trying to ignore and they would not go away. We get off the boat (it was only an hour long) and the road is closed for where we need to go. The blue van passes us up and we are behind them, at least 10 minutes behind. We start following a hill and then decide to get gas and i got a sandwhich since i was starving again. I turn around and guess who is there. the damn blue van. They are in the service station and this creepy italian guy pulls up in a super nice and expensive car with those silly gay hats and his greasy hair pulled back in a limp ponytail. I noticed the guys were pretty suspicious and when i stood next to them they made my skin crawl.

We made it to the hotel, unpacked and crashed out. I was exhausted. Sitting in a car for so long just wiped me out. I still felt like i was moving and then the fact that i was still threw me for a loop.


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