The flights weren't too bad. I've already ranted about this so I'll spare you. We land and are so completely exhausted but guess what? Time to make the donuts! Had to get to work. The Man and his colleague (as they say in England) had machines to check and set up. I, on the other hand, can barely check my email without crashing the computer so I couldn't really be that helpful. Did a lot of sitting still and trying not to doze off or carrying stuff around for the guys. And I also got to sneak in a kiss with the Man on occasion. :) Then we break for lunch. At this point, we've basically been awake for 36 hours so we're pretty knackered (except at this point, we haven't learned that word yet).
We go to the hotel's cafe and have a seat. Before we can even order, an alarm goes off. It took me a moments or two (or three) to realize that sound is not in my head and other people can hear it, too. Turns out the hotel does a fire drill every other Friday (or whenever they have a table full of Americans seated right under the alarm bell). They moved us to another table. Oh yes, those 20 feet of distance made all the difference! Why, we could nearly hear ourselves think from that far away.
You're probably thinking "That's nice and all, Jessica, but really, all I care about are the pictures, not you little hissy fits." Okay.
This was the scene out our room window. We were on the 13th floor. See that canal down there in the picture on the right? More on that later but that's the reason why our section of town was called Little Venice. We had another name for it but I'll get to that.
And yes, that's a statue of a bull on someone's terrace. Seriously, of all the things you could spend your money on...
"Honey, I know we could made a sizeable donation to the Red Cross and really help someone who has lost everything but I've always had my little heart set on having a larger-than-life white bull just outside my back door!"
After the work was done and although we were so exhausted we could barely stand up, we decided to take a stroll outside, maybe check out a local restaurant. Off we went!
Remember how we were told we were staying in Little Venice? Yeah, well...what do you think?
More like Little Lebanon. Whenever we stopped to read a posted menu at one of the Middle Eastern restaurants, the staff and the patrons just looked at us with confused expressions, as if to say "Why would you consider eating here? You are not like us and your woman does not wear a headcovering. How odd you are." I have more insights on this culture later, as much of my duties over the next few days included, but not limited to: checking my email and watching people.
So finally we find an Italian place. Super Dave, our fearless and hungry leader, strides right through the doors. But, my naive American, all is not what it seems! I even read about this in our guide book but thought surely we would know better. Super Dave, while on his quest for food and Coke, nearly enters a strip club that shares an entryway with the restaurant. Seriously. They do this intentionally so unsuspecting tourists will find themselves inside a club that has an outrageous - and mandatory - cover charge. Super Dave backpedals quickly and all is well. We have a very nice dinner, which deserves it's own blog entry as it was the source of much amusement and snickering on our part.
So that's the first day. Entranced so far?