I wondered what to do. I couldn’t call. The airline only had an 800 number, and 800 numbers don’t work in Europe. This wasn’t a place where English was spoken or necessary. I listen into conversations, but I got no information, only sounds I didn’t understand.
Finally I got lucky. A handsome Italian man going to Rome explained in English that the plane I was supposed to be on had had a small fire. There would be no plane again until tomorrow. My choices were slim. I could stay in the Friuli Valley. I could take a taxi to Venice and try to make connections there. I finally reached my airlines by telephone through my cellphone company’s International number. Arrangements were made to change my flights to fly out from Trieste the next day. My Rome connection to London was rearranged.
I found a taxi to take me to the nearest hotel. It was now 2:30 p.m. I had been at the tiny airport since 9 a.m. to make my morning flight. I was hungry and tired, and so ready to have a place to call my own. When we pulled up to the hotel, I asked in English, “Is this right?”
The taxi driver ran to the door. He knocked and read a sign. He came back and somehow communicated that I would have to wait because the hotel wouldn’t open until 4:30 p.m. or so − another 2 hours. He suggested that I wait on the patio. What other choice did I have?
When the owner came, she was lovely and most gracious, but she also had no English. She checked me in swiftly. Gave me a key. I asked about food. She shook her head slowly. In broken English, she let me know the restaurant was closed on Sunday. She was sorry. She pointed me in the direction of a restaurant down the street.
I headed out walking to find a patio under tree on a cool night.
It was a Chinese restaurant. That explained why it was open. I asked for a glass of their best Italian white. Then I opened the menu to look for my favorite Chinese foods. The first word I saw was Antipasto.
I ordered the pizza instead. It was Sunday in Italy.
−me strauss Letting me be