a bad day in Rome
Rome Travel Blog› entry 63 of 66 › view all entries
I got up early and took the metro to the end of Linia C from there I took the airport shuttle out to Ciampino Airport.
Everything was going fine until I got to the check out counter. The woman there looked like Francisco Totti with a nose pierce. “You don’t have a visa” she said as she scanned my passport. “I know. I don’t need one for Romania.” “I’m sorry I can’t let you board since you don’t have a visa.” “Um..look I don’t need a visa.” She looked confused. She called over to another staff they didn’t know what to do either. “Wait here..” she walked of to immigration police. “I’m sorry you I cant let you on the plane” she was an adamant old bat. “What are you taking about?” I said in the most friendly tone.
The police were total asses (excuse my French) they couldn’t speak English which is unprofessional for frontier police. They were extremely arrogant probably a reflection of the Italian government. In any other country border officers speak English besides Italian is not a world language. They rudely ordered my out probably so they could continue passing around the grappa bottle.
I was at a loss at what to do so I went over to the information desk and asked for the number of the Romanian consulate, which of course they didn’t have. By then the check in counter had closed.
‘Boy this is really messed up’ I thought as I made my way back to Termini. This was a rude awakening to the Latin world of emotional anarchy. I thought I had left the third world and so my guard was down. It was naive of me to expect the same level of competence I was getting in more level headed societies. Giving them the benefit of the doubt or any bargaining space is just inviting theft. My interpretations of reactions were also wrong as I took their over-the-top arrogance seriously instead of asserting my consumer rights in a more forceful manner. Here I need to stop smiling and show some mettle get tough and don’t anyone play me.
I checked into the hostel again and tried to call up Myair. When I finally got through I told them what happened. “You can buy another ticket from us” was their suggestion. “No way! I want a refund it was your mistake.” I was very polite about, too polite in fact.
Next I went wandering around Rome to find the Romanian Embassy on a obscure side street. It was very difficult to find as the Italians ignored my questions. At the Embassy the told me to go to the consulate for a visa. After more wandering, I found the ubiquitous Filipino workers were very helpful as they thought I was a fellow pino I was starting to look desperate. “Take linia B to Laurentina” a friendly lady told me on the bus. By the time I found the consulate it was 5 in the evening.
“Sir I would like to know if I need a visa” I said to a tall grey-haired gentleman standing by the door in a grey suit and wool vest. “Come over” he motioned to the bulletin board, “and what nationality are you” “Japanese” “Uh-hu…Here you do not need a visa to enter for up to ninety days” he smiled pleasantly. “That’s what I thought but the Italians won’t let me go to Romania.” “What?” his eyes widened in surprise. “Yeah, this morning the frontier police and this Italian airline refused to let me go.” “The Italian police?” “Yes those guys.” “Bahh.. they’re idiots.” “That’s what I think but how do I show them I don’t need a visa?” He scratched his head perplexed. “This is very absurd they must look it up themselves on their computers.” “I don’t think they know about computers anyway they don’t give me the time of day. They’re awful rude boys. Can you give me letter or something as proof.” “If you need it” he was pushed his spectacles up his nose, “ok come tomorrow at 3pm.” “Thank you sir” I shook his hand.I put another complaint by email to Myair. Back at the hostel the common room was full of Aussie gap year kiddos. I had accidentally snored the other night (forgot to lie on my stomach), not that people snore on purpose but I very rarely do, and my roommates were ticked off at me. It was the pits I was feeling very cheated and very stupid surrounded by Aussie kids drinking boxed cooking wine and yelling “Paaty..Paaaty”. Could it get any worse?