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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sept 7

Sept 7
Early morning – with about 2 or 3 hours left until we reach Rome, we have a medical emergency. The crew just came on the PA and asked for any doctor or medical professional to announce themselves. Apparently, one of the older passengers (with a tour group) seems to have fainted and possibly had a minor seizure of some sort.
It really reminds me that I am far overdue to take that first aid/cpr course. I really feel helpless not being able to contribute anything. From what I’ve seen, it appears that she is dehydrated and overheated.

Breakfast just arrived: chocolate croissant (heated), 2 dark chocolate Milano cookies, and yogurt. I scandalized the Italian flight attendant because I asked for a big glass of milk. The some water. Then a cup of coffee. Finally, I asked for a dish of fruit. That’s when she caught on and realized that I was practicing my “eating Italian”. I’ve been cut off from the snack cart. First Starbucks, now Alitalia.




Our ill passenger is being attended to by a nurse – another tour guest. They’ve given her 2 saline drips and that seem to be helping quite a bit. I guess that I was close.
Wow, already starting our descent. Safe landing! Delay in getting off the plane while the paramedics come and check on the passenger. They’re going to be taking her to a hospital in a nearby town (Ostia?). It’s a good thing that I opted for the flight with the 5 hour layover instead of the flight with the 1 hour layover.

Now I have time for a leisurely lunch and some shopping. Like Logan, plugs are scarce here. I forgot that lines in Italy are just imagination. It took quite some time to get through passport control but once up to the counter, it was less than 15 seconds.
Lunch – I couldn’t resist:


Hmmm.  Did I mention that I forgot to bring a coat? I guess that I will just have to resign myself to buying a nice Italian one at some fashionable shop. :-)

Before leaving, I found that there was a profound lack of useful information regarding USA travelers getting an EU number and cell phone. There’s a reason for that. It’s not difficult. Most EU airports have a Vodafone, WIND, or TIM store. I went with TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile). I got a (basic) Samsung Android smartphone, PayAsYouGo, 200 local minutes, and 1 Gig of data for less than the phone would have cost in the US. Of course, it is the bottom of the line phone. The nice phones (Galaxy S4) are even more expensive. The nice TIM man explained how the phone works, set up my balance, and quickly programmed my phone.

OMG, no. Look at this picture:


Hopefully you can’t make it out clearly. It’s the display at a high end men's’ boutique – “Real WILD rabbit fur.” I don’t want to know more. It looks like bad shag carpet. As you can see, the camera on the new phone isn’t all that great. No autofocus. Sometimes, like now, that’s a blessing.
Before leaving, I found that there was a profound lack of useful information regarding USA travelers getting an EU number and cell phone. There’s a reason for that. It’s not difficult. Most EU airports have a Vodafone, WIND, or TIM store. I went with TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile). I got a (basic) Samsung Android smartphone, PayAsYouGo, 200 local minutes, and 1 Gig of data for less than the phone would have cost in the US. Of course, it is the bottom of the line phone. The nice phones (Galaxy S4) are even more expensive. The nice TIM man explained how the phone works, set up my balance, and quickly programmed my phone.

From here, I board the plane to Catania and then make my way by bus to Siracusa where Sergio will pick me up.

OMGs, everyone in Catania looks like my relatives! I guess I should have expected that  but WOW what a shock.

Fair warning – even though you have to pre-purchase a ticket for the Bus to Siracuse, it is still first come, first serve. In my case, first to get their luggage onboard and your butt in a seat, first served. These little old ladies are fast and have bony elbows! For consolation of not being rude during boarding, mMy butt is currently next to a VERY attractive Sicilian man. He is ½ Greek and ½ Sicilian “I’m not an Italian. I sono Siciliano.”  I guess language won’t be as much of a problem as I thought.

Here is what some of the ride to Siracusa looks like:
         
This is the actual view from my balcony overlooking the Temple of Apollo on the island of Ortigia:



I’ll try to add a quick video:



OK, I don't think the video worked.

OK, the cellular guy has a sense of humor. I just got a sound notification telling me that I have a text. My phone now whistles at me. :-)

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