Hey, it is Mark and I am sitting here beneath a giant projection of a clock. It tells me how much money I have spent on internet access. It is already too much, so this will be short. The room, if I did not mention it already, is like a cave. It is nice, but it is a cave…

We are in Vernazza now. It is a small town on the western coast of Italy. It is quite beautiful. It is good to see the ocean and the crashing blue-green waves. It makes a nice break from the big cities… We were just in Florence, which is quite a bit bigger than I remember it being. Lots of people milling around amid centuries of history, religion and filth.

We stood in a square where a monk was hanged for a while and then burned to death (if you can believe that) in 1498, and we slept in an apartment that has looked out upon the Baptistery since the mid 1200s, when it was built. It is probably the oldest structure we will ever sleep in. (We were on the oldest block in Florence.) It was cool.

We got woken up by the sounds of street fighting. Amid the yells, we heard someone smash a bottle.

We were almost mugged in Florence too, but I outwitted the team of three assailents and we made it to safety. I will tell you the whole story once we get home. I just wanted to take that moment to brag though. I’m proud of myself for staring down the bad guys and showing them that I was willing to die for my bag of Wheat Thins and Power Bars.

We just ate at the restraunt next door to this internet place and I got really anxious. Once we sat down to eat we found out that the place was expensive. Given the fact that I am a cheapskate, that was bad. What was worse, however, was the beginning of the jack-hammering beneath the train tressel about 20 feet away. That started just about the moment we placed our order with the rude waiter… Then the music started. I think it was Rage Against the Machine. Do they have a song with the refrain “fuck you, I’ll never do what you say”? Between that being blasted above me and the jack-hammering, I thought that I was about to lose my mind. Then, to add to it, a group of about a dozen old folks from Pittsburgh sat down one either side of us and started talking about the most inane shit I have ever heard discussed. “You know hwat, I like chocolate.” “Well, I like mustard. And, I tell you what, it’s hard to get mustard in Rome. I asked. I said, ‘could I get some mustard for this’ and the man looked at me like I was from Mars and then he went into the back room and, you know what, he came back with some mustard. I like chocolate too, but I really like mustard.” I was just sitting there clutching my temples, listening to the jack-hammers and the chorus of “fuck you, I’ll never do what you say”s and the obnoxious old fuckers and it nearly drove me out of my mind. I kept yelling, “il conto per favore!” Bring me the FUCKING check. It pissed me off…
I love this town though. It’s great. I don’t want to leave the impression that that is not the case because it is. I really love it here. It’s beautiful…

Well, there’s a line here and some of the rude fuckers anre stainding behind me, reading over my shoulder (yes, I mean you) and I think I need to go.

Like the kids say…
Peace out,
Mark

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