I'm living for the next five days in an amazing little apartment on a residential street near the Teatro San Carlo. Already want to extend my stay. More about that tomorrow, with pictures.
Not a bad flight. Didn't get much sleep, but I did enjoy my seatmate: a sturdy blonde Romanian woman, dressed for the plane in a black pantsuit. She was, oddly, unsurprised when I told her I'd biked through Romania in 1979, but she did seem puzzled by my memories of it as a beautiful, doomed country besieged by food shortages. She herself left Cluj 20 years ago. She was on her way back to Rome, where she lives now, after visiting her husband in Paterson, NJ. He is from Ivory Coast. She told me he was in NJ because he can't find work in Italy. "The economy is in a little trouble, eh?" I said. I got the impression she didn't know what I was talking about. When we parted, I said I hoped her husband found a job in Rome soon. "Oh no," she said, "I want to move to Paterson!"
I had a long and surprisingly fun day at the airport in Rome after Alitalia canceled my connecting flight to Naples and rebooked me on one four hours later. I tried to use one of the ubiquitous internet kiosks to check in at home. It ate my coin, but I was able to fish it out with a bobby pin -- along with a few others that had gotten jammed in the slot. I checked back a while later and found another coin in there, so I took that one too. I felt a little like Eloise at the Plaza.
I discovered a tucked-away cafeteria where all the employees seemed to be eating, which was a little cheaper than the ones on the concourses, and over the course of a seven hour layover, I fished enough change out of the internet kiosk to pay for a bottle of mineral water and half an airportwich.
Also, you can buy "chewable toothbrushes" from a repurposed American gumball machine in the toilet.
Lo spazzolino masticabile!