Monday, September 6, 2010

Opening Day of WCER in Bologna, Italy

Woke up to find out that breakfast was not in our hostel, but in the main one 500m away, so ran back upstairs to collect everything for the day at the conference site, and strolled on over. It was already at least 80 degrees. I was rewarded for my efforts with a tray with two pieces of bread, a packet of jam and a packet of brown stuff (it said it was chocolate, but I didn't believe it). One could help oneself to juice and coffee out of a machine. Duly underwhelmed, I ate a piece of the bread and thought that the bologney sandwiches they used to serve the prisoners at the Cincinnati workhouse must have been at least this good. Jury's still out.

The conference was supposed to start at 10, and a bunch of us traipsed over to the bus stop just after 9, but when we realized it was going to take a loooong time (Geza the German said we must change buses in town), Andras went and called 3 cabs at 18 euros each. So we all paid around $10/person to arrive on time for a conference that didn't start till 11 am. While hanging out with Inija, we both set up a small area on one card table to vend. My ankles were still swollen from the heat and the plane so I took my shoes off and put them up on a spare chair. Boy, were we in trouble! First Marina said only books could be sold and we must put all else away, and I had to put my shoes back on. My bad! One of the Danes warned me the 10 euro lunch buffet was all vegetables, so I went out exploring. Found my first gelato for 3.5 euros (including the glass) and a delicious ham & cheese calzone for 1.6. They also had some free samples, but what I had was better. Still had an hour so headed toward the center of town and ran into the Latvians who offered me peaches and some lemon-sized green-skinned fruit with a red mushy center - very tasty, but I still don't know what it was.

Found "Orpheus Street" and headed along it back to conference center - we had the use of what appeared to be an old chapel in a 16th century building. It was sooo hot, I just headed back and was too full for the gelateria and burger joint (which I never saw open again) I passed on my way. Thursday was the individual group presentations where every tradition had 5-10 minutes to talk about theirs. The most interesting were from the Danes and the Russians, and there were over a dozen Indians attending. A very nice lady named Rita let me use her cel phone to call Patty Costa (of Pasha & the Pagans) who was staying in Bologna for the summer with her son's family. We were supposed to meet around 5:30, but at 6:30 Rita and her companion were the last ones out, and saw me, and insisted that I could not stay by myself, and that if Patty didn't show up (she got lost) by the time their cab arrived I was going with them. I was very grateful for the ride back, and figured I'd sort it out with Patty on Saturday.

It's amazing how Californian everything looks - same oleander and silk and palm trees everywhere. The only option for dinner at the hostel was to purchase frozen pasta and nuke it or order a pizza for 5 euros with free drink and delivery. I ordered mushroom and cheese. It was about a C-, but it was hot and I was hungry. Off to bed and Roma tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment