Thursday, October 04, 2007

Déjà vu

When I traveled to Italy twelve years ago, my flight was my first solo flight and first overseas flight. It was also at the advent of email, Internet websites and message boards, and before cell phones were ubiquitous.

So I could understand my father's concern when he was putting his son on a flight to a foreign land by himself, with the promise of meeting his already-having-flown-over friends outside of the American Express office at the Spanish Steps in Rome at a designated time.

Back then, we were backpacking, which usually involved showing up in a new city by train without a place to sleep that night. My first night in Italy was nothing different, only that I was not 100% guaranteed to meet my travel mates.

Somehow, I had the smarts to post on some random AOL travel forum, asking how to get from Rome's airport to the Spanish Steps via public transit. Somebody replied with a lengthy and detailed step-by-step description of how to accomplish this feat. I remember showing the printout to my father, and having to answer questions about the Internet, message boards, who this random person was giving directions, and why I should trust them.

During our first night in Rome, we did a brief walking tour that took us to the very spot I met my friends over twelve years ago. Lots of Déjà vu to have returned to that spot.
And this restaurant was the very first dining establishment at which we ate during that first trip, again twelve years later.
I distinctly recall my friend Andrea speaking in Spanish to the server, and my being amazed that Spanish was close enough to Italian that she was able to communicate effectively speaking it in Italy. At the time, I knew zero Spanish, so I could not join in, but that moment was likely my motivation to break into terrible Spanish every so often during this tour in an effort to communicate when English didn't work.

No comments: