The adventures continue!
05.25.2011 - 06.07.2011 80 °F
Hola people, I apologize for the lack of updates, but I have returned from hiatus. School, new job, excuses all filled in and have made me absent from blogging. But am back, and traveling again. Finally went on my Eurotrip and visited Italy, France, and revisited London. Europe this second time around is just as crazy -- probably more crazy because I decided to bring my parents along. Returned from Euro trip as tan as the bronze statues that stand in Piazza del Michelangelo in Florence. Maybe I should change my name to “David”.
Anyway, my Euro trip resembled a death march across Europe mandated by the People’s Republic of My Parents. Their idea of traveling is to hit every spot on the map. If a map has a picture of a building on it, they will go visit it. If the map has a star next to a location name, they will go see it. They will leave no stone unturned, and certainly no cathedral/museum/gallery/anything ever recommended by Rick Steves unseen ’cause god forbid they don’t get their money’s worth on this trip! They were on a mission.
Mission 1: Rome
Difficulty Level: Impossible
Objective: Eliminate all visible targets
* Piazza Venezia
* Monumento a Vittorio Emanuelle II
* Roma Foro
* Palazzo del Esposizioni
* Fontana di Trevi
* Castel Sant’ Angelo
* Piazza San Pietro
Weapons equipped: Nike running shoes, bag pack full of water bottles, sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner because we won’t have time to stop and eat at a restaurant.
Final boss: The wrath of my parental units. Hell hath no fury like my madre being deprived of seeing a gallery. There has been much talk about that Asian Tiger mom. She has not met the true dragon warrior. My madre will take Tiger mom and slap her with a noodle and turn her into a stuffed dumpling.
At precisely 0700 hours, we will all be awake. At 0730 hours, we will have finished brushing our teeth, ate breakfast, combed our hair, and emptied our bowels because there will be NO bathroom breaks once the mission starts. At precisely 0735 hours, we will leave the hotel door. At exactly 0900, we will arrive at first target. At 1005 hours, we will be allowed to drink a sip of water. We will not be allowed to rest until the Red Amy is victorious. In essence, we were still very Chinese as we re-enacted the Long March across Roma. Long live Chairman Mao!
Frankly, I thought this time I’d be the one showing my parents around Europe, after having studied abroad in London. Nope. As soon as my madre got hold of a map, she started her reign. We were in Italy, so my madre was definitely channeling some inner Mussolini and gave an Oscar-worthy performance as dictator. Her reign meant she picked every spot we should visit in every country. I shudder to think what she’d have been like if we had went to Germany instead. She’d probably have me and my padre sent to a concentration camp for not washing our clothes in the hotel sink (just keep reading).
Sometimes my padre would try and help out by navigating the map in Paris. Big mistake. My mom does not read signs. Instead she relies on her inner compass. She says she was born with the sense of direction, and can always tell where to go. Dad does not have such superpowers/sense of direction, and what ensues is two people shouting at each other loudly in Chinglish on Avenue des Champs Elysess:
Madre: “Aiyaaaaaaa, we need to go West, because that’s where that Winning Door is!”
Padre: “You mean the Arc de Victory? But the map says to go East!”
Me: It’s called Arc de Triomphe…..
Madre and Padre:
Madre: “You don’t even know how to read a map. I know we have to go West. My kidney tells me to go West.”
Me: “You mean gut…..”
MORE DEATH STARE.
Padre: “FINE! Which way is West?”
Madre: “That way!” (Points vigorously with her finger in some random direction)
Padre: “How do you know that’s West?”
Madre: “Because my liver says so. And because the sun sets in the West. JUST LOOK AT THE SUN!”
Padre: “What do you mean look at the SUN?!? It’s noon right now! It’s right in the middle!”
Our long march across Europe meant each day we would not return to our hotel room till 11pm every night. By then, our bodies are tired, our knees ached, and all I wanted to do was to collapse on my bed and fall asleep. But first, I had to wash all my clothes by hand.
Yes, you see my madre does not believe in laundry mats when traveling. She says they are too expensive, and take too much time out of the day. Instead, we must all wash our clothing in the bathroom sink of the hotel every night by hand. She then proceeds to use the bathroom first. By the time I’m allowed to use the bathroom to shower and wash my laundry, it is already 1am. After all the laundry has been washed by hand, they are hung out to dry. In particular, the shower curtain rod is used to hang an assortment of socks that are hung out to dry like a school of pickled fish:
I can only imagine the bemused and amused expression of the hotel maid as she comes to clean our rooms everyday.
To cope with the emotional stress I have to endure from my parents, I sometimes vent to my friends. I told my Asian friend this story. He is usually very understanding of my parents, and say it’s because they are Asian. After this story, he just started laughing and said this was “Beyond Asian”. I guess I have the title of my next book!